Kennesaw State’s Bailey School of Music to present “September 11: 20th Year Memorial Concert”

image of helen kim playing violin
Helen Kim will play solo violin in "Amazing Grace" in the "September 11: 20th Year Memorial Concert."

Features Chamber Singers, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble Brass & Percussion, and violinist Helen Kim

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 31, 2021) — Kennesaw State University’s Dr. Bobbie Bailey School of Music will present a special concert to remember the events of 9/11. The “September 11: 20th Year Memorial Concert” is scheduled for Saturday, September 11, at 8 p.m. in Morgan Hall at the Bailey Performance Center on the Kennesaw campus and will also be streamed live. 

Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell, Interim Associate Dean and Director of Choral Activities, spearheaded the collaboration. She said, “We realized that we had a unique opportunity, as our scheduled concert would be 20 years after the attacks of 9/11. We wanted to honor this day and remember those who lost their lives, and what our country experienced at that time. What a wonderful way to remember 9/11, with a collaborative concert and specially selected music.” 

The collaboration involved numerous groups from KSU’s Bailey School of Music (BSOM), including the KSU Chamber Singers, conducted by Dr. Samuel Miller; the KSU Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Nathaniel Parker; and the Wind Ensemble Brass & Percussion, conducted by Dr. David Kehler. Internationally acclaimed violinist and BSOM professor Helen Kim is the featured soloist. 

Parker said, “Helen will perform ‘Amazing Grace’ for solo violin and string orchestra. Much of the repertoire is of remembrance and mourning—a passionate outcry—as we come together and mourn, but then we can move forward, with an eye towards better days ahead.” 

“Music can be a powerful catalyst for healing and community. Even as we poignantly reflect on the tragic events of 20 years ago, it is important to celebrate human resilience and to acknowledge the courage and goodwill that emerge in challenging times,” said Harrison Long, Interim Dean of the College of the Arts. 

Considered by many to be a pivotal moment in American history, the 9/11 repercussions reverberate even today. “While this is a memorial concert for a tragic time, I think the concert not only memorializes the events that day, but also celebrates the American spirit and our democracy,” said Kehler. 

In that vein, one of the musical selections is Jim M. Stephenson’s “Fanfare for Democracy.” Stephenson is a familiar face at BSOM; he was a composer-in-residence in 2017.  

Kehler said, “Jim is one of the most prolific composers in the world right now; he is commissioned by major orchestras and ensembles.” Formerly a professional trumpet player, Jim began composing when an illness prevented him from playing his instrument. He is now considered one of the best modern-day composers. 

Additional selections include Beethoven’s “Funeral March,” Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” and Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6,” also known as the passionate symphony. The concert will end with Helen Kim playing violin in “Amazing Grace.” 

Blackwell said, “Music is so important in these times. It hits us in our souls and in our hearts the way that nothing else can. This is so important; it’s about how our country and our people moved forward, while also honoring those who made sacrifices.” 

Parker added, “To me, a profound thing followed 9/11, in that our country came together. The arts provide a way to bring people together in shared remembrance and shared experience. It’s really powerful, especially after our time with COVID-19.” 

The concert marks the first time that the students have performed together in over a year or longer. Many of the students in BSOM were babies—or not yet born—when the events of 9/11 happened, but they are still passionate and excited to be a part of the concert. Parker said, “The sense I get from our students is a certain happiness and joy of being able to come together with their colleagues to do what they love to do, which is to make music.” 

To purchase tickets or make reservations to watch online, please visit https://arts.kennesaw.edu/concerts-and-events/music.php. The Dr. Bobbie Bailey School of Music at Kennesaw State University is comprised of over 250 vibrant, creative, and talented music students and over 80 faculty members and professional staff devoted to the development of music education, performance, and scholarship within the community. 

--Kathie Beckett

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