On Sept. 11, New Haven and the rest of the nation watched in horror as the terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania unfolded. Wednesday night, the city had an opportunity to show its support through a concert featuring Yale and New Haven’s talented musicians.
“It is significant when professional performers volunteer their time — it is powerful when they do so together,” said James Sinclair, a concert organizer and the music director of Orchestra New England, prior to the concert.
Members of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra New England, along with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Yale, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the New Haven Civic Orchestra, and the Neighborhood Music School joined forces last night in Yale’s Woolsey Hall to perform at New Haven’s Concert For Life. They were also joined by the Yale Whiffenpoofs, who will donate a portion of the proceeds from their album to the cause.
The concert, which was conceived in October, will benefit the Sept. 11 Community Fund, which provides financial relief to those in need in the aftermath of those events.
Ideally, the concert would have been performed in November, eliciting a more passionate response, but Sinclair said it would have been logistically impossible. Despite the imperfect timing for the concert, however, he expressed excitement for the chemistry created by the unusual mixture of performers.
“It’s the most energized ensemble I’ve ever conducted,” he said “There’s an electric feeling there.”
The ensemble is the first of its kind since the area’s “Hearts for Life” AIDS benefits of 1993 and 1995. Not since then has a community of musicians come together in such a way by mixing professional and student musicians.
Co-organizer Eric Kim ’02 said the concert itself evoked a “good, modest turnout for a Wednesday night,” with the audience mainly consisting of older members of the New Haven community. Sinclair was pleased with the turnout and said the spectators obviously cared deeply about the cause, which gave the performers an especially good feeling.
All proceeds from the concert are being matched by the Sept. 11 Community Fund, but the gains from the concert are not solely monetary. For the performers from Yale, it was a chance to play with professional musicians and to have their talents recognized. It was also a chance for New Haven to show its heart and its artistic ability.
“The feeling of being connected to one another around the arts is something that’s very New Haven and something we’re very good at,” Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said.
This sense of community was perhaps the most universal benefit for those involved. Sinclair said the concert was a unique opportunity for musicians to feel they were giving something back.
“Organizations that normally compete are locking arms in this event,” he said in a press release. “Together, we will demonstrate the quality of New Haven’s arts and collective heart.”
Michael Morand, Yale’s associate vice president for New Haven and state affairs, also emphasized the importance of Yale and the city’s uniting in the face of tragedy.
“Sept. 11 touched us all and reminded us of the importance of community,” Morand said.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”20053″ ]