Ten Years Later: Berklee Reflects on 9/11

Lesley Mahoney
September 16, 2011
Berklee's a cappella group Pitch Slapped performs "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The United States Marine Corps performs a colors ceremony to begin the concert. Next to the American flag is a 9/11 logo projected on the curtain, created by student Daniel Jimenez.
Berklee president Roger H. Brown delivers a welcome speech, issuing a call to channel grief and anger "into action that heals and restores the world."
Utako Toyama's "No Rain No Rainbow"
Jessica Lee on alto saxophone during Gizem Gokoglu's "The Remains of War."
Scott Kapelman performs a poem about a little girl who died on 9/11.
Dancers (from left) Ariana Corradi, Carla Martinez, and Mihelle Hyunji Kim interpret Juan Carlos Enriquez's "Elegy."
Faculty member Jimmy Kachulis performs the poem "Ashes Ashes All Fall Down," which remembers his cousin who died in 9/11.
Latracia Ross performs Clifton Williams's gospel number "We Must Go On."
Tamia Jordan, director of student activities, reads one of several transition pieces; this one pays tribute to firefighters.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Alexander Arntzen was getting ready for fifth grade in Los Angeles 10 years ago when he watched the news of the terrorist attacks unfold on the television.

"It definitely touched me even though I was in L.A.," said Arntzen, now a fifth-semester film scoring and composition major and president of Berklee's Film Scoring Network.

Looking for a way to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 at Berklee, Arntzen organized a memorial concert at the Berklee Performance Center on the eve of 9/11: "I thought Berklee could add a unique voice."

With film scoring chair Dan Carlin and members of the Berklee Songwriters Club, Arntzen culled through about 75 submissions to select about a dozen acts.

The result was music spanning genres from classical to gospel to jazz to electronic to pop. Berklee's a cappella group Pitch Slapped and the Berklee Poetry Slam Team performed, along with a trio of dancers and videos from an eyewitness and survivor.

Arntzen asked classmate Juan Carlos Enriquez—a fifth-semester film scoring and electronic production and design major from Guadalajara, Mexico—to put together a 9/11 Berklee Memorial Concert String Ensemble, which performed several pieces, including Enriquez's own "Elegy."

Some faculty and staff were also approached; songwriting professor Jimmy Kachulis performed his poem "Ashes Ashes All Fall Down" in honor of his cousin who died on 9/11, and several staff members read narrative pieces.

The concert followed a timeline, from pre-9/11 pieces such as "The Flag" and "Peace"; to selections that reflected a time after the terrorist attacks, such as "The Remains of War" and "America the Beautiful Breakdown"; to a sense of rebuilding with selections including "Beacon of Light," "We Must Go On," and "We Will Always Remember."

That trajectory made for a moving evening. "It was an emotional arc, going through the stages of grief and despair, and being stronger for it, and at the end there's a feeling of catharsis," said Arntzen.

And given that Arntzen was the organizer, it's no accident that the concert unfolded cinematically, as if watching a movie. 

Click through to see photos from the event.