Remembering September 11th, through music
September 5th, 2011
Omaha, NE – The Omaha Symphony is teaming up with the USAF Heartland of America Band and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan for a performance celebrating the American spirit. Itâ€™s an outdoor concert commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Irish tenor Ronan Tynan is well known for his rendition of God Bless America, which he has performed multiple times at Yankee Stadium, among other places. James Johnson, the President and CEO of the Omaha Symphony, said when he first started planning this yearâ€™s September 11th commemoration, he immediately thought of Tynan, whoâ€™s rendition became a stirring companion to New Yorkerâ€™s memories of that day.
â€œWhether you were there in Manhattan, as I was, or whether you watched it on television unfold,â€ Johnson said, â€œyou cannot be the same person that you were before. It changed our lives. So itâ€™s important that we remember what happened, we donâ€™t forget, and we celebrate those whoâ€™ve helped us overcome.â€
Johnson, who formerly served as CEO of the New York Pops before he joined the Omaha Symphony in May, was in Carnegie Hall on the morning of the attacks. He said he remembers the spirit of the city, and the country, that day, as everyone walked outside, trying to make their way home.
â€œThe subways werenâ€™t working, phones werenâ€™t working,â€ he said. â€œSo what happened that day, we all started walking homeâ€¦ and walking home was the most incredible experience, because we were joined by thousands and thousands of people doing the same thing.â€ Johnson said walking together became a way to connect. â€œWe connected not inside, not on our phones, we connected face to face, person to person, outside.â€
In that same vein, Johnson said Omahaâ€™s September 11th tribute concert will be held outdoors at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing.
â€œThe other thing that happened in the days after 9/11,â€ Johnson added, â€œis that music broke out everywhere. There were concerts in the parks, in soup kitchens, wherever people gathered, there seemed to be musicians whoâ€™d pull out their instruments and begin to play. And I want to remember that.â€
Johnson said music is an important part of how â€œwe as Americans deal with tragedy.â€
Johnson said the Celebration of American Spirit concert, which takes place at 6:30pm Sunday, Sept. 11th in Turner Park, will feature music that â€œstirs the soul, including John Newtonâ€™s Amazing Grace and John Williamâ€™s Hymn to the Fallen. The program is an expression of what Americans felt after the attacks, Johnson said, saddened but proud of the ideals America stands for.
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