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Free 9/11 concert on 9/9 establishes tradition, creates connections

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 6, 2012 - Last year, a number of events were held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This year, the free “Interfaith Memorial in Music” is returning to the The Sheldon with plans to make it an annual gathering.

The free concert created by a group called “Arts and Faith St. Louis” will be held this year on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 5:30 in the evening.

Once again, the event will feature Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer. Other performers include jazz pianist Peter Martin, soul singer and songwriter Brian Owens and the Dickson String Quartet. Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim faith groups will also perform.

A temporary, interactive sculpture created by St. Louis artist Lyndsey Scott will be installed in front of the Sheldon as part of the evening’s program. Event planners asked Scott to create an image or experience relating to a commitment to religious diversity.

The result is a large-scale venn diagram, inspired by spiderwebs and dreamcatchers. A pair of interconnected circles formed by a local willow tree are interwoven with organic hemp, which is colored deep pink with pokeberry gathered by the artist from South St. Louis city alleys.

Those who attend the concert will receive a brightly colored ribbon, made of organic cotton dyed bright yellow with tumeric. They are urged to write on the ribbon their answer to a question: “In your day-to-day life, how can you embody greater connection with others?” or they may leave it blank. Afterwards, attendees can attach their ribbon to the sculpture.

Scott chose the materials for the project in part for their sustainability. The ribbons stand for the light and power of acting together in peace.

"After fully feeling and grieving a tragedy, I like to respond by figuring out what is the opposite energy and bringing more of that into the world," Scott said. "In the case of fear and suspicion after attack, I want to catalyze sacred space where it's safe to feel vulnerable and to connect, to allow the pain and grief to seed something proactive, positive and powerful."

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.