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Hundreds gather to honor St. Louisans lost to COVID during pandemic's first 19 months

Jazz vocalist Denise Thimes was among those who contributed musical talents to last Saturday’s Requiem of Light event.
Evie Hemphill
St. Louis Public Radio
Jazz vocalist Denise Thimes was among those who contributed musical talents to Saturday’s Requiem of Light event.

Over the past 19 months, nearly 6,000 people have been lost to COVID-19 in the St. Louis region. Across Missouri, the death toll has soared to 12,000. And across the U.S., it now stands at more than 700,000.

Listen: Highlights from the Requiem of Light memorial for St. Louisans lost to COVID

It’s been a long and heartbreaking era, and there haven’t been many opportunities to collectively mourn. On Saturday night at the Sheldon Concert Hall, hundreds of St. Louis community members gathered for Requiem of Light, a public event honoring those we’ve lost.

A talented choir, led by Philip Woodmore, set the tone for the evening. The group brought joy and hope to a somber occasion, with gorgeous anthems and heartfelt singing.

The evening, moderated by 5 On Your Side’s Rene Knott, also featured jazz singer Denise Thimes, mezzo soprano Rehanna Thelwell and other soloists, as well as reflections from local faith leaders and health care workers.

St. Louis on the Air was on hand to document the event and shared highlights on Monday’s show.

Around the globe, COVID-19 has claimed more than 4.5 million lives.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.