Upcoming Concerts in Commemoration of 9/11

The Araya Duo

As many of my readers probably know, in my non-arts-and-crafts life, I am a professional cellist and vocalist, and my husband is also a professional cellist. (Our duo website is www.arayaduo.com, where you can listen to some of our past performances.) For today’s blog post, I want to take a brief break from crafting posts to discuss an upcoming musical project.

In the fall of 2009, my husband and I became friends with Philip Koplow, a local composer and Professor Emeritus at Northern Kentucky University. (Read my earlier post about our relationship with Phil here.) In April of 2010, Paul Stanbery, the conductor of the Hamilton Fairfield Symphony Orchestra (HFSO), mentioned to Phil that he planned to incorporate into the orchestra’s 2011 schedule several pieces that would commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, including the Mozart and Verdi Requiems. Phil was taken with Paul’s idea of a series of memorial concerts and immediately began working on Towers, Storms and Hope!, a work for two cellos, soprano, and orchestra that will be premiered by HFSO in two concerts later this month, with my husband and me as the soloists.

Hamilton Fairfield Symphony Orchestra Summer Concerts:
Sunday, June 26
7:00 p.m.
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park Pavillion
(Rain or Shine)
Thursday, June 30
7:30 p.m.
Oxford Uptown Amphitheater
(Rain Location: Talawanda High School)
Free Admission to Both Concerts
A Free Will offering will be collected.

My husband and I have been tirelessly working to learn the piece over the past several months, and we couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming concerts. Learning Phil’s music has been an inspirational experience. As a text for the work, Phil chose A New Hope by Mattie J. T. Stepanek. (Those who don’t know Mattie’s amazing story should definitely take the time to learn more about him here. During his brief life, he wrote 7 books of poetry and essays, all of which became New York Times Bestsellers. His life was an amazing force for good.) Mattie’s poem yearns for a time of peace and harmony, a yearning that has been felt by all Americans during this past decade.

Here is Mattie’s poem, A New Hope, which Phil has used as the lyrics for Towers, Storms and Hope!, with the gracious permission of Jeni Stepanek, Mattie’s mother, and Hyperion.

A New Hope

I need a hope, a new hope.
A hope that reaches for the stars, and
That does not end in violence or war.
A hope that make peace on our earth, and
That does not create evil in the world.
A hope that finds cures for all diseases, and
That does not make people hurt,
In their bodies, in their hearts
Or most of all, in their spirits.
I need a hope, a new hope,
A hope that inspires me to live, and
To make all these things happen,
So that the whole world can have
A new hope, too.

May 1999, Journey Through Heartsongs
©Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek
from Journey Through Heartsongs, Hyperion

I wish you all a day filled with the hope of peace, a hope that inspires you to live to your fullest potential.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek

About JennJill Designs

JennJill Designs provides the handcrafted goods of Jennifer Jill Araya. Visit www.JennJillDesigns.com to learn more.
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4 Responses to Upcoming Concerts in Commemoration of 9/11

  1. haydemon says:

    Thanks for this post! I had no idea such an extraordinary child had passed through this life! Thank you for the opportunity to learn about this magnificent human being and his message of hope and peace.
    Also, my best to you & Arturo in this concert (sorry I can’t be there)!

  2. Thanks, Monica! Mattie truly was an extraordinary human being.

  3. Very nice to read this post, after communicating with Phil across the past year about the music he set to my son’s poem. Enjoy, and peace!
    Jeni Stepanek (“Mattie’s mom”).

    • Jeni, it is an honor to hear from you! Thank you so much for your work. You and your son have been and continue to be a source of inspiration and a power for good in the lives of millions. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to perform Mattie’s text. Arturo and I are both prayerfully preparing for the concerts. Thank you for allowing Phil to incorporate Mattie’s poem into his piece, and I wish you many blessings.

      Best, Jennifer

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