Work starts on Newtown-inspired 'Child's Requiem'
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Composer Steven Sametz has written dozens of pieces in his long and prolific career, perhaps none so personal as the one he's about to begin: a requiem for the victims of the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The Lehigh University music professor grew up about 20 miles from Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
"I know well what it was like to grow up in a small Connecticut town, and in what should have been, for all, a really beautiful time of life," Sametz said in an interview at Lehigh, a private school north of Philadelphia. "And it struck me that these children were cut from that, tragically."
Sametz recently won a $25,000 music prize from the University of Connecticut to compose a piece for chorus and orchestra, based on the idea that music can aid the healing process — and he's seeking ideas and input from children around the U.S. His working title: "A Child's Requiem."
"This is just my way of putting something into the world that might be positive or helpful in the face of something that was horrifying," he said.
Musicians often respond to tragedy by working out their emotions in song and helping provide catharsis to others. Music played a huge part in the one-year observance of the Sept. 11 attacks, for example, with choral groups around the world performing Mozart's "Requiem" on the anniversary of the moment when the first plane hit in New York.
mental illness walking the streets, that's the tragedy...
"Not only are we going to use dead kids as a political tool to destroy constitutional rights, we're also gonna start making money off that shit!"