Tuesday, July 5, 2011

memories of 9/11

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is this year. Almost nine years ago (as of August), I put together eleven pieces of music as a short (fifty-minute) ballet (for lack of better words--most of the choreography is closer to modern/contemporary/jazz dance than ballet), titled The Day we will Never Forget: September 11th, 2001. The ballet is comprised of eleven pieces of music, including an overture, and it explores the events of that day, before going into the aftermath, as people come to terms with what happened and deal with feelings of anger, sadness, fear, etc., and the military is deployed to Afghanistan.

Back then, I dreamed of making the whole thing into one CD, so that I wouldn't have to switch CDs after every piece. Yesterday, I finished putting together the playlist on iTunes, something that was in it's infancy at the time, and which I had yet to know about. Putting together a CD, recording a podcast, making a home movie look really professional are all so easy now. Here it is, for anyone who's interested:

Please Don't Go (overture)
New York, New York from On the Town (takes place on September 10, '01; depicts people going about their daily lives--I used an instrumental version, with Joshua Bell and the Philharmonia Orchestra, but this is the original with Frank Sinatra)
Ballade (the morning of 9/11; the WTC is hit, the world changes forever)
Allegretto from Beethoven's 7th Symphony (a funeral march; death, sadness)
Her Die Hand!/Oh Habit Acht! from The Gypsy Baron (anger--I used an instrumental medley of the two pieces, performed by André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra)
Lost Heroes (sadness)
Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets (the beginning of the war in Afghanistan)
Romance for Clara (a soldier and his girlfriend/wife say goodbye)
The Last Rose (soldiers going off to war; saying goodbye to loved ones)
Humming Chorus from Madama Butterfly (I can't remember what this track was about, but I can picture the scene in my head and it's along the lines of a prayer for those who died in the attacks)
Adagio in C Minor (finale with the entire cast; hope for the future)

I put together a Word document with notes on all aspects of the production: the music and what recordings I wanted to use; characters and how many people would be involved (minimum and maximum, which I fixed yesterday because eight years after working everything out, I found out that my math was off--which doesn't surprise me, since my math skills sucked when I created the ballet and at the time I had yet to get help). At the time, I thought that I might perform it, so I designed the production so that it could be performed as cheaply as possible (fourteen-year-olds generally don't have a lot of money on their hands).

As I've been working on the playlist, I've been thinking about what happened on 9/11, and I've realized that I still bear the emotional scars from that time. After the second or third anniversary, I stopped making a big deal out of it (starting with the first anniversary, I played my violin at the time of each attack), and I moved on. Ever since then, I've felt that the US was stuck in the mindset of that day, and it frustrated me to no end. But as I've been putting everything together, and dancing to Ballade for the first time in a couple years a week or so ago, the old emotions have begun to come to the surface again.

I will never forget the aftermath: the tightened security at the US/Canada border (which used to be the world's longest unprotected border--not anymore); customs officers who were working incredibly long shifts as a result (to the point where they were snappish due to exhaustion--I remember feeling incredibly sorry for them); my parents going across the border less due to having to spend forever in the lineup... Sometimes I find myself longing for the "good old days", when crossing the border was as easy as playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. When we didn't need a picture ID/driver's license (and later, passport) to cross the border. When Dubya had yet to add "tyranny" and "War on Terror" to his vocab ("look, Daddy: I can use big words!"). When most Americans barely gave a second thought to Islam, and people with brown skin weren't viewed as possible terrorists. Sigh...

"Homeland Security could kill us all." So true, so true. Thanks, Green Day.

And then there's that darned Patriot Act...

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