Peace & hope seven years after September 11 attacks

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From Borough Hall to the 69th Street Pier, the dulcet sounds of music will echo through Brooklyn on September 11, in a tribute to peace and hope planned to coincide with the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Organized as part of the international September Concert, which was envisioned as a way of bringing people around the world together in harmony, the eight Brooklyn concerts provide a musical counterpoint whose purpose is to focus on the common goals of the human race on a day when many people, not only in New York but around the world, need an outlet for their emotions.

Indeed, said Veronica Kelly, vice chairperson of the September Concert Foundation’s board of directors, September 11 concerts planned under the aegis of the organization will be held in 50 cities across the United States and 35 cities around the world. New York alone will have approximately 100 concerts, and all are open to the public, free of charge.

Through the September Concert, September 11 becomes not only the anniversary of a devastating and horrifying attack but also “a global day of music for peace,” said Kelly.

The coordinated concerts add up to the “world’s largest people’s concert, a response to the need of humans around the world who were deeply affected by 9/11,” said Kelly. “The goal is to have people come together to reaffirm a hope for peace and to celebrate life and our universal humanity.”

This is the seventh year that the September Concert will take place. In the months following the terrorist attacks, the concept was created by cross-cultural communications specialist Haruko Smith as a way of giving people around the globe an opportunity “to express our belief in peace, in the goodness of people,” on the anniversary of a day that, said Kelly, “stole innocence from the planet.”

Since its inception, the event has grown dramatically. While in 2002 it encompassed a number of concerts, held in galleries and people’s homes, each year it has picked up momentum, with concerts in major public venues that attract many people.

That is precisely the point. The event’s motto – “together we fill the skies with music every September 11”– reflects Smith’s belief in music as a healing force, one that is capable of drawing people together to share the bond that exists between total strangers simply because we are all human beings.

Equally fitting is the event’s anthem, the Beatles song “Let It Be,” which will be the keystone of a citywide sing-a-long scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on September 11.

While, fittingly, some of the music performed is somber, not all of it is, said Kelly. Those who stage a concert, she explained, are free to choose whatever music they want to present. “As a result,” she added, “we do have people choosing to have some very solemn reflections on the day, as well as music of the moment – rock, classical, pop, jazz, what have you.”

This year, the concert venues in Brooklyn are:

*William Alexander Middle School 51, 350 Fifth Avenue, where the Middle School 51 Show Choir will perform at a time to be announced;

*The Target Community Garden, 931-933 Bedford Avenue, which will have Deborah Bond and other performances from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.;

*Rose Live Music, 345 Grand Street, where Mobius Collective and DJ Misbehaviour and others will play from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.;

*Xaverian High School, 7100 Shore Road, where the school band and chorus will perform, at a time that is still to be announced;

*CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, where Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti will perform from noon to 1 p.m.; and

*Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, where chamber music by the Brooklyn Symphony is expected to begin at noon.

In addition, the musical performance being held at the 69th Street Pier as part of the evening memorial service is also one of the September Concert events.

Other Brooklyn venues holding events to mark September 11 include Bar 4, 444 7th Street, which will have rock and pop music, and Spread Gallery, 104 Meserole Street, which will have jazz, both starting at 8 p.m.

And Goodbye Blue Monday, 1087 Broadway, Norwegian Christian Home & Health Center, 1250 67th Street, and The Commons, One Metrotech Center, will also be hosting live music.

For further information, go to www. septemberconcert.org or call 212-333-3399.

Updated 3:43 pm, October 19, 2011
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