Following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, young men elbowed each other out of the way to be the first to enlist in the military of an angry nation.
The people were unified in an act of retaliation ? their sorrows realized, but not dwelled upon, because of the task at hand.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York City and Washington, D.C., the vast majority of Americans could only sit and watch from many miles away as terror struck the lives of our countrymen.
We have given our money, donated our blood and offered our prayers. Still, this seems to fall short of healing our wounds and those of the people directly affected.
As firefighters and rescuers volunteer with their bravery, the Eastman community will respond by volunteering music. This musical response will be manifested in a benefit concert to honor the victims, families and rescuers.
?When grief goes beyond words, music becomes our common tongue,? said Eastman vocal professor Carol Webber.
?Mozart?s Requiem eloquently expresses our fear, our sorrow and our loss,? Webber said.
Mozart?s Requiem is the piece that has been programmed for the benefit. The concert will take place this Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre.
The Requiem, a masterpiece composed in 1791, contains the last music written by Mozart before his death. The work was commissioned for a wealthy count, but many believe that it outlines Mozart?s struggle with his own death, which was close at hand during the Requiem?s composition.
?It is a piece that is familiar to many, and therefore has great meaning,? said James Under-cofler, director and dean of the Eastman School of Music.
Students, faculty members and people from the Rochester community will be involved in the concert, under the direction of Dr. William Weinert.
Serving as the director of choral activities, Weinert has been the key player in gathering the support of local choral organizations to form the chorus of more than 200. He will also be conducting.
Sandra Boysen and Riki Connaughton, both from the Hochstein Music School?s faculty, Derrick Smith of Eastman?s Community Education Division and the newest member of Eastman?s vocal faculty, Robert Swensen, have stepped into the Requiem?s solo vocal positions.
The orchestra will be comprised of the Eastman Philhar-monia and guest faculty instrumentalists.
These volunteers will bring Mozart?s Requiem alive with the passion of an inspired community.
Sunday?s performance will be free to the public. However, donations will be accepted at the door and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross New York Disaster Relief Fund.
The images that we Americans have seen in the last week will remain in our hearts as long as we live. The words that will be heard ringing in Eastman Theatre on Sunday night will remain with us as well:
?May eternal light shine on them, O Lord, with Thy saints for ever, because Thou art merciful.
?Grant the dead eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them, with Thy saints for ever, because Thou art merciful.?
May can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.