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Westview grad sings in 9/11 memorial concert in NYC

by: Submitted photo Meghan Timmons

Meghan Timmons of Beaverton was among the George Fox University Concert Choir members who traveled to New York City to sing Sunday at 'A Concert of Commemoration,' a memorial event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11. 2001, terrorist attacks.

The trip proved to be a living history lesson for the 2010 Westview High School graduate, who is a sophomore at the university double majoring in music education and vocal performance.

'Being back in New York the past few days was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had,' Timmons said. 'I was in the fourth grade when the attack happened, so I don't remember many of the details. But I do remember that it was a very scary time, and on a more positive note, the patriotism that grew in our community as a result.

'Before going into this trip, I don't think I fully understood how much 9/11 had impacted the people of New York City. Living on the West Coast my entire life caused me to be removed and distant enough from the attacks that it was impossible to comprehend what it would have been like to witness the attacks firsthand.'

Timmons gained a new sense of awareness as others gathered in New York last weekend shared their experiences.

'During rehearsal, I was fortunate enough to sit in front of a woman who lives in New Jersey,' Timmons recalled. 'She was a school teacher at the time of the attack and many of her students' parents worked in the World Trade Centers.

'She was crying while she was telling me her story, and I think that in a way that was the best thing that could have happened to me before the concert because it made 9/11 seem that much more real. It gave me more drive to properly convey the deep meaning of the music during the concert.'

The George Fox choir joined with an additional 150 singers and soloists to perform Rene Clausen's 'Memorial,' composed to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the attacks.

George Fox was among a group of choirs, billed as Distinguished Concert Singers International, who performed Clausen's piece.

The concert was held Sunday afternoon in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Avery Fisher Hall and featured pieces composed by Clausen and Karl Jenkins. Both composers directed their pieces.

'The concert itself was an amazing experience,' Timmons said. 'Just singing in Avery Fischer Hall alone was such a treat, and singing a piece that meant so much to the audience members was truly the cherry on top.

'I can honestly say that being a part of that concert certainly changed my life and the lives of my fellow choir members.'

 The George Fox choir received an invitation to participate after event organizers saw a video of the choir singing 'Kyrie,' a portion of 'Memorial,' on YouTube. An email was sent to conductor Loren Wenz, inviting the group to travel to New York to participate in a performance of 'Memorial.'

George Fox sent 40 students from its Concert Choir to The Big Apple.

'The George Fox University chorus received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers,' said Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor of the event. 'This is an event of extreme pride for everybody and deserving of the community's recognition and support.'

Wenz said the choir was selected based on the high recommendation of his colleagues, the choir's long-standing reputation of musical excellence and its outstanding performance of 'Kyrie' in the fall of 2010.

'It is quite an honor just to be invited to perform in Fisher Hall, especially in light of this important performance,' Wenz said. 'These talented and committed, wonderful musicians not only represent a high-quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the community.'

Other groups who performed at the concert were the Bedford Presbyterian Senior Choir from New Hampshire, The Concert Singers from California, the Concordia College Alumni Choir from Minnesota, the Gwinnett Symphony Chorus from Georgia, Manassas Chorale from Virginia, The Master Chorale of Fargo-Moorhead from North Dakota, the Prescott Master Singers from Arizona and Windsong Southland Chorale from California.

Before attending George Fox, Timmons was actively involved in Westview's instrumental and vocal music programs. She performed with the Wildcats marching band, wind ensemble, concert choir and Cantores, the school's advanced vocal ensemble.