Westchester County will observe the 4th anniversary of the September 11th attacks with an hour-long ceremony commemorating the dedication of the Circle of Remembrance portion of “The Rising,” Westchester’s September 11th Memorial.
The dedication ceremony will be held on Sunday, September 11, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla and will include a poignant and inspirational selection of music by those who were personally affected by the tragedies, performances by the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, a reading of the names by some of the children of 9/11, and the traditional Tolling of the Fire Bell.
James Houlihan, who is heading up “The Rising” Memorial fundraising committee, will serve as master of ceremonies. The public is invited to attend.
“The dedication of the Circle of Remembrance marks a significant milestone for our county,” County Executive Andy Spano said. “The families of those residents who died on 9/11 will have a place where the memory of their loved ones will be preserved and where all those who visit can remember, reflect and find hope for the future.”
The works of three diverse and talented composers will be featured at this community observance. The first piece, Race for the Sky by Richard Pearson Thomas, featuring soloist Lisa Radakovich Holsberg, will be performed by members of the prestigious Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Paul Lustig Dunkel.
“Race for the Sky” was commissioned in 2002 by Holsberg, who was inspired by the remarkable poems written by New Yorkers and left on the city streets after 9/11. “Parting”, a three-minute piece for handbells, was written by Barbara Werner, a former New Jersey resident whose father was killed in Tower One of the World Trade Center. “Parting” will be played by the Katonah Celebration Ringers, under the direction of Eileen Laurence. Taylor Rasmussen was just seven years old when she wrote the music and words for “Beside Me to Guide Me” in memory of her father who was in New York for a business meeting at the World Trade Center and was killed on 9/11. Taylor, now 11, was born in Westchester County and lives in Hinsdale, Illinois. She will perform the heartfelt and emotional piece as part of dedication ceremony.
The music for the program was selected by a committee of distinguished Westchester musicians as part of a Music Composition Solicitation announced earlier this year. The judges were: Dunkel; Dr. John T. King, organist, artistic director and conductor of the New Choral Society, and minister of music at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale; and Binnette Lipper, composer, pianist and educator. They were asked to select the music that best captured the experience of that tragic day, but also offered a sense of hope and renewal for the future. The solicitation effort was coordinated by Barbara Eliason, the former chair of the county’s Millennium Committee.
Following the musical performances, Spano will lead the processional from the stage to the memorial site where the names of the Westchester residents who were killed in the tragedies will be read by some of the children and family members of 9/11.
The program will close with the ceremonial unveiling of the Circle of Remembrance, the portion of the memorial that bears the names of the 109 Westchester residents who were killed in the tragedies and inscriptions about them provided by their families.
When completed in spring 2006, “The Rising” will stand 80 feet high. The stainless steel structure, designed by noted New York architect Frederic Schwartz, will have 109 individual steel rods, representing the 109 Westchester residents who were killed on 9/11.
The public is encouraged to arrive early and to bring folding chairs, as seating is limited. The event will be held rain or shine, although some of the activities may be curtailed or cancelled.
Kensico Dam Plaza is located at the north end of the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla. For more information, call 914-995-2951 or log on to www.westchestergov.com.