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From the hearts of many

Sametz, who is renowned both as a composer and a conductor, is writing a requiem to honor the children who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.

The massacre of 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14, 2012, in a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., quieted too many innocent voices.

Now, renowned Lehigh composer Steven Sametz, a Connecticut native, hopes to celebrate their lives.

Sametz, the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music and director of Lehigh Choral Arts, is embarking on his most personal composition, a children’s requiem honoring the lives lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Sametz, a native of Westport, Conn., recently received the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize from the University of Connecticut. He will use the $25,000 award to compose the requiem.

He will take his inspiration from words and artwork sent to him by elementary school-age children across the country.

“I elected to start this project in a very unusual way, for me,” Sametz said in an interview with CBS Evening News. “I wanted to enlist school children. I wanted to get their responses to tragedy and loss, because I wanted the piece to speak from the point of view of the peer group most affected at Newtown.”

Sametz has already received hundreds of responses from schools in Connecticut, New York City and Philadelphia. He expects many more due to the national media attention his project is receiving. An Associated Press article and broadcast segment was shared by major outlets including USA Today, NBC, the Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as hundreds of small and mid-size outlets throughout the country.

Sametz will write A Child’s Requiem, as the composition is tentatively titled, this spring. The piece will receive its premiere at the University of Connecticut in 2015 and will be performed later at Lehigh.

At the performances, Sametz also plans to present an exhibition of children’s artwork, expressing their thoughts on loss and tragedy.

“Requiems really are about the living,” he told CBS. “They’re offering comfort to those left behind, so perhaps I can offer that.”

Story by Sally Gilotti

Posted on Thursday, December 26, 2013

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