800 people attend first ever event in new High School Auditorium
By Eddy K Foster, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The events of September 11th still affect the hearts and psyche of the Unionville area 10 years after that tragic day.
However, the anniversary of this infamous day saw 800 people from all parts of the community come together to watch a music tribute in the new Auditorium at Unionville High School. These people came not only to mourn those we lost, but to give thanks for all we still have.
High School Principal Paula Massanari welcomed attendees to the remembrance. “It is fitting that the first official community event in the new auditorium is something we can all gather around. All of us have come here to remember and find strength. We have come to celebrate our national unity and our power to overcome,” Massanari said. She ended by reciting the poem “One” by Dr. Cheryl Sawyer, which expresses unity in the wake of the 9/11 disaster.
The program then moved into the first musical section, beginning with the Conductor Jason Throne’s UHS Chorale singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” The program continued with the Conductor Scott Litzenberg’s UHS Concert Band playing “A Nations Prayer,” which is based off the songs “God of our Fathers” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The Chorale and the Concert Band then came together to jointly perform “America the Beautiful.”
During a break in the performance, recently appointed Superintendent Dr. John Sanville reflected on the 10-year anniversary. “Today we are in a much different world, but much remains the same. Sports teams still score points, bands still hit high notes, dogs still bark, and families still quibble. As much as the world has changed, even more has stayed with us through the years and tragedies. Clearly, America is still beautiful from sea to shining sea,” Sanville remarked.
Sanville’s remarks gave the music department time to reset the stage for the main performance. The Brandywine Valley Chorale (BVC) and the UHS Chorale joined forces to perform “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” by Karl Jenkins. BVC Tenor Vic DuPuis took the stage to explain the significance of the piece. “This composition was originally commissioned to mark the millennium, but took on new meaning after it debuted in the United States on September 10th, 2011. This self-contained concert has become a tribute to the victims of 9/11 and a call for peace around the world,” DuPuis said.
Conductor Jason Throne directed the combined groups, while a multimedia slideshow was projected behind the musicians in time to the music. The slideshow contained images of heroes, tyrants, battle, and bloodshed from a century of conflict including 9/11, the war in Kosovo, Afghanistan and World Wars I and II. Some in the audience audibly gasped when images of Osama bin Laden or Adolph Hitler took the screen.
The overall piece has 13 parts, including pieces about battle, victims, disaster, and rebirth. One piece was the Adhaan, the traditional Muslim call to prayer delivered by Salim Bootwala. Other soloists included Victoria Provost, Jennifer Gottesman, Tom Marsden, Sondra Payne, and Bryan Crissinger. The overall message of the composition can be summed up in the name of the last song: “Better is Peace.” The performance ended to thunderous applause, and universal praise by all attendees of both the quality of the music and the look of the new auditorium.
The UHS Concert Band is a group put together yearly by veteran High School Conductor Scott Litzenberg. The UHS Chorale is a 42-member chorus led by Choral Director Jason Throne, and is considered one of the most talented groups at Unionville High School. The Brandywine Valley Chorale is a 40-member auditioned chorus founded in 2007, by a group of musicians, arts supporters and friends in the Unionville area and surrounding communities. The BVC performs concerts throughout the Brandywine Valley Community.