Lehigh professor writing requiem for Sandy Hook shooting victims

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Lehigh music professor and composer Steven Sametz grew up not far from Newtown, Conn. and relished his public school education.

So when he heard news of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school last December that took the lives of six educators and 20 children, it hit close to home.

“It just occurred to me so quickly that these children weren’t being afforded that opportunity, that their lives had been cut short so quickly. That they had every right to expect the kind of upbringing I had,” Sametz said.

After winning a $25,000 grant to write a piece of music, Sametz decided to pen what he’s calling a “child’s requiem” in honor of the victims of Sandy Hook shooting. But this won’t be your typical arrangement. To write the libretto and shape the musical composition, he’ll use words and images children are sending him on the topic of gun violence.

The goal is to “try to give voice to a more innocent response to loss, but also just to try and see it through a child’s eyes.”

Children can still submit their thoughts and pictures to Sametz through his website or Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center.

Sametz expects the requiem — and an art exhibit of the children’s work — will be ready in the spring of 2015.

Click the audio above to hear Sametz discuss the project with WHYY’s Jo Ann Allen.

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