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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Some of country music's biggest stars, including Garth Brooks, Toby Keith and many others with ties to Oklahoma, played a sold-out show Saturday at the University of Oklahoma to raise money for the victims of the recent tornadoes that strafed the state.

Organizers of the concert, which was held in the school's Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, estimated that nearly 65,000 people braved the searing heat to watch the show and show their support for the victims, the Tulsa World reported ( http://bit.ly/12NCAvn).

The money raised from ticket sales benefits the United Way of Central Oklahoma, which established a fund to aid victims of the May storms that killed dozens of people.

A separate benefit concert last month hosted by Oklahoma native country music star Blake Shelton raised more than $6 million in donations and pledges.

Saturday's concert was organized by Keith, who was still playing to a packed house seven hours into the show.

Brooks, who was the biggest draw, took to the stage Saturday afternoon to a rousing ovation.

"Today the healing begins," said Brooks.

Brooks played "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House" and "Papa Loved Mama." His wife, Trisha Yearwood, joined him for a duet, "In Another's Eyes."

"God bless you, Oklahoma!" Yearwood yelled, according to the World.

Some concertgoers said their experiences with tornadoes or someone affected by the recent storms drew them to the fund-raising event.

Marie Carter, a physician whose office is in Oklahoma City, said she watched helplessly as a twister moved through Moore, coming within a half-mile of her own home.

"It was very scary for a lot of us," Carter said, according to the World. "We've been out there helping our friends, digging through the rubble, and because we're so close, we've had a lot of patients come in who lost everything who have symptoms of PTSD. It's almost surreal, but we wanted to come out and support this cause."

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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