Filling The Skies With Music on 9/11

SI Advance - September 10, 2009

by STEPHANIE SLEPIAN

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Tottenville High School Concert Choir will sing to remember when they stand atop the steps of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue on Friday.

They will sing for peace and they will sing to heal.

The choir -- 32 sophomores, juniors and seniors -- will take part in the September Concert, a worldwide series of musical performances founded on the first anniversary of Sept. 11 as a way "to fill the skies with music."

They will perform from 1:45 to 2:15 p.m., singing eight songs, including Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and John Lennon's "Imagine." The concert at the library includes five other choirs between 1 and 5 p.m.

"The idea behind this concert is that on Sept. 11, people can go anywhere in the world and suddenly be surprised by music," said JoAnne Nolemi, Tottenville's choir director. "I have seen people just stop and listen. I have seen couples hug. I have seen people cry. Some people start dancing and singing along. It is a great feeling and we know there is nothing more lovely than unexpected music."

LOTS OF PRACTICE

The students have been practicing since mid-August, giving up parts of their summer vacation to perfect their performance.

"It means a lot to be able to sing for all these people who lost friends and family," said Liana Licci, 16, a junior who sang in her first September Concert last year. "I feel music brings people together, not just for those we lost, but for each other. It makes me feel great to be one of those voices of influence."

Their concert -- visit www.septemberconcert.org for other concerts around the city -- is one of several events commemorating the eighth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11.

An Eve of Solemn Remembrance, the eighth organized by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Staten Island, begins with a mass at 7:30 p.m. in St. Peter's R.C. Church, West Brighton. Tomorrow night's mass will be followed by a candlelight vigil to a location overlooking New York Harbor -- and with a view of the World Trade Center site.

The following events take place on Friday:

At the city's observance at Zuccotti Park, victims' names will be read by family members who will be paired with volunteers in recognition of the new federal designation of Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. As in previous years, moments of silence will be observed at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:59 a.m. and 10:29 a.m. -- observing the times the Twin Towers were struck and the times they fell.

NAMES OF BOROUGH'S

VICTIMS TO BE READ

The names of the borough's victims will be read at the 9/11 Memorial Wall at Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, at 8:45 a.m.

Engine 911, a classic 1962 Ford F-600 fire truck restored by the colleagues of fallen firefighter Eric Olsen, will be on display at the Hampton Inn & Suites, Bloomfield, from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Visitors also will be able to view "Spirit of 9/11," the public memorial designed by Island artist Gregory Perillo on the grounds of the Hampton and the Hilton Garden Inn.

The FDNY Retirees, S.I. Division, holds its annual candlelight vigil at the Alice Austen House in Rosebank at 6 p.m.

Borough President James P. Molinaro hosts his annual ceremony at the "Postcards" memorial on the St. George Esplanade at 6 p.m.; Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to be in attendance.

There will be a candlelight vigil at the Staten Island Elks Lodge, Greenridge, at 6 p.m.

At 8:30 p.m., there will be a ceremony at Angel's Circle, the traffic island turned memorial on Hylan Boulevard and Fingerboard Road in Grasmere.

Also, the "Tribute in Light" will return for one night and will be located on West and Morris streets in Lower Manhattan, beginning at sunset and fading away at dawn on Sept. 12. The lights are best seen when it is completely dark.