This weekend, I travel to Kansas City to sing a memorial concert for 9/11. I am sure nearly every chorister in the country will participate in something similar over the next three days. In fact, some light googling uncovered commemorative choral concerts in nearly every major metropolitan area I checked, and many small cities and towns as well. Voices raised together will sing for the terror, the loss, the strength, the survival, and the hope born of those awful events ten years ago.
It strikes me choirs have always been at the center of commemorating our most important historical moments, and especially when healing, reconciliation, or hope are needed. There is something about hearing the human instrument give voice to our emotions surrounding these events that is transformative, and that allows all people to participate in the memorial. I remember remarking in the days after 9/11 that artists – especially singers – were certainly among the first responders.
Artists, musicians, singers tell the tales of our civilization as nothing else can. Without them, we have no memory, we have no way to offer a fitting tribute to the most important events, people, and ideals society holds dear. I will be offering my voice as a part of this worldwide requiem–a chorus that remembers, grieves, and helps us to move forward.