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Silent Night … Newtown, Connecticut

There are times where words cannot capture the emotion of an event like Newtown, Connecticut. But sometimes music can ...

On Saturday morning, I was up and awake at 5:30. The house was quiet. The previous day, I had been playing the piano, and this very dissonant version of Silent Night came out - thoughts of the Newtown tragedy expressing themselves in music. Usually I play a little and then head off to the office.  But this song was unusual - played in a minor rather than a major key - very haunting - and so I ended up recording it, to "do something with it." 

And so on Saturday morning, sitting with my coffee and my laptop, I figured out what to do with it.  I downloaded photos of each person from a news site. I had taken some Christmas tree photos at my office. And I had the recorded song. So on Saturday morning I mixed it all together, and by 7:00 a.m. it was all done. 

My wife came down then - asked, "What are you up to?"  I showed her the just about finished piece.  She said, "Why did you decide to do that this morning?"  I said, "I don't know - I guess it's a way to process grief."

We are far away from Newtown, Connecticut, but this can happen anywhere.  From my home in Marple, there is a Newtown next door - literally and figuratively. My wife is an elementary school teacher. They had a faculty meeting on Monday morning to discuss how to deal with the events and the questions that their children might have. I have children going out into the world each day. We all say, "I love you" at our partings, and take for granted that we will see each other again.  And then the events of Connecticut ring like an alarm bell in the night. 

This event is so horrific. We all feel so helpless. This is something I could do this morning. If only for me, it is a way to express my grief. But I wanted to share it as well. 

Here is "Silent Night … Newtown."  

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Robert Gasparro - Senior News and Resources December 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Doug, the event the other week must have hit home for you. I appreciated reading your article and I appreciate your taking the time to write it. I was searching for an answer and someone reminded me that events like this are not confined to our country, or our youth. Do you remember the gunman who opened fire on the Swiss Assembly a little over ten years ago? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1566321.stm I've been to Switzerland, and it's one of the most peaceful places on earth. It's militia only takes part in peacekeeping missions, and they have universal health care for all citizens of the country. Will there ever be a solution?
Doug Humes December 28, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Bob - One that came to my mind was in Russia in 2004 - where 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children, when an entire school was taken hostage. There is no shortage of mindless massacres in human history, and we here in the US do not have a monopoly on it. It's shocking when it happens wholesale - as in Newtown. But in the meantime, Chicago had had 500 murders this year, Camden has set a record - with 66 at last count. Philadelphia has 329 - its highest number since 2007. Whether it is a crazed gunmen, or a warped terrorist with an agenda, or a 17 year old with a gun and no value system, the resulting death has the same finality. And while there may be easy scapegoats for some, there are no easy answers. Each murder has its own circumstances, its own causation, and the only commonality is that the actor does not value or respect human life.

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