Tomorrow is the 1st anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
As the country pauses to remember that awful day, Westport feels a special bond. We’re so close to Newtown. Everyone here knows someone there. Everyone knows too: It could have happened here.
Over the past year, Westporters have done what they can to help. Staples soccer captain Joe Greenwald organized a day of games for Newtown kids. Dan Donovan helped former resident Brian Sullivan — who now owns a horse farm in Sandy Hook — organize an equine therapy foundation.
Steve Sametz is doing it with music.
The 1972 Staples High School grad — now a professor of music at Lehigh University, and artistic director of the professional a cappella ensemble The Princeton Singers — is writing a requiem for the 26 victims.
“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, according to Madison.com. “And it struck me that these children were cut from that, tragically.”
Sametz hopes that children around the U.S. will help, by contributing pictures and words about their reactions to tragedy and loss. The working title is “A Child’s Requiem.”
Among the schools participating are several in inner-city Philadelphia, where students have seen family members shot.
A 7-year-old in Allentown submitted a drawing of friends holding hands, near a sun and rainbow. “You go to a very happy place” when you die, she said.
“A Child’s Requiem” will debut at the University of Connecticut in 2015, along with an exhibition of art submitted by children. Families of Sandy Hook victims will be invited to attend.
“We do these things for the living,” Sametz — who wrote for choirs and chamber ensembles during junior high and at Staples, then studied composition and conducting at Yale – told Madison.com. “We do it for the comfort of those left behind.”