Arts and Entertainment

Vashon chorale will join national effort to commemorate 9/11 attacks

Nearly 100 local singers and musicians will be joined by a constellation of regional opera stars to perform the Mozart “Requiem” this Sunday in the Vashon High School gymnasium. 

The concert, conducted by Vashon Island Chorale’s artistic director Gary Cannon, is part of a national effort called the “Rolling Requiem.” At least five other Seattle-area choral groups will also sing the Mozart “Requiem” that day to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. 

Performers on Vashon will include the 80-voice strong Vashon Island Chorale and a full orchestra assembled by Islanders Karin Choo and Vince Young. Solists will include Jennifer Krikawa, Julia West, Jim Brown and Jonathan Silvia, all of whom are involved in Vashon Opera’s current production of “Carmen.”

“It was very fortuitous that ‘Carmen’ rehearsals were going on,” said Cannon. “We’re so grateful that everyone is donating their time for the event.”

When asked what made Mozart’s requiem so appropriate for the occasion, Cannon paused before replying.

“That is a question for the ages,” he said. “There are certainly a lot of brilliant requiems that have been written, but I don’t think any of the others have the global reach the Mozart one does. He died while he was writing it, so maybe that spiritual element behind it makes it a little more touching to the whole world. It’s a masterpiece, and to my mind that is reason enough.”

Several prominent Islanders will also play roles at the event. 

Local architect Craig Hanson has designed a large painted backdrop of a dramatic cloudscape for the event, and his wife, Vashon High School principal Susan Hanson, will welcome the community with remarks prior to the concert.

Vashon fire chief Hank Lipe will read “The Names,” a poem written by Billy Collins, the country’s Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003. Collins penned his poem on the first anniversary of the attacks. Lipe will also bring a piece of steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center to the concert. 

The piece of steel — which was given to Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — will eventually be incorporated into a 9/11 memorial being planned for in front of VIFR’s main station on Bank Road. Several community members, including landscape architect Bob Horsley, are currently involved in planning the memorial, which will include stone pillars, benches, foliage and lighting. 

VIFR had hoped to present the memorial on the anniversary of 9/11, but will instead present the piece of steel at the memorial concert. 

According to Susan Hanson, who will also sing with the chorale that day, the concert is a chance for the community to reflect on the day’s meaning. 

“I think it’s important on this 10th anniversary that we take a pause and remember the innocent victims and remember those heroes — firemen, policemen and private citizens who lost their lives — that we remember the names and we make a commitment that we’re going to create a world where violence is not acceptable,” she said. 


The chorale’s performance of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Vashon High School gym. The concert is free, but donations may be given to the Vashon Schools Foundation. 




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