September 11th, 2001. For many of us, this day is indelibly stamped in our memory. You likely know where you were at the moment you heard the news. Perhaps you can even feel the visceral emotions that hit you when you watched the footage of the horrific events of that day. For many, their lives are marked by before 9/11 and after 9/11.
It was a Tuesday and after I arrived home from a band rehearsal. Yes, we had a rehearsal. It may have been a sign of solidarity against the forces of evil; it may have been so as not to have to think about the atrocity of the day. Either way, I arrived home to watch the news as a Canadian with my Californian-born son. Things were going to be different, of that I was sure. I was concerned for his future, unsure of what would happen, a decision in my heart was made that day.
That weekend, my musical colleague and good friend Laurey and his daughter wrote a song that would eventually be the cornerstone of a work entitled “An American Requiem”. As a way to work though the angst that was brought by dark forces, a musical work was born. I had the privilege to play a part in the recording and presentation at the famed Benaroya Hall in Seattle on the first anniversary of September 11th. The emotion of that day was highlighted by the fact that less than two weeks earlier, I was sworn as an American citizen. The decision made a year to the day culminated in myself, as the music director leading a prayer on behalf of a hurting people.
For most of my life, music has been an outlet to my feelings and emotions. The healing that it brought during this particular chapter in our history is something exceptional. Working on and performing “An American Requiem” was both cathartic as well as patriotic. We will always remember those whose lives were cut short as well as the lives that were robbed of their loved ones.
Here’s a taste of what we recorded and performed on this anniversary 12 years ago today.