Peace concert draws SRO crowd for annual 9/11 remembrance

Peace concert draws SRO crowd for annual 9/11 remembrance
Some of the Jacksonville Sister Cities Association, (including President Tongila Manly in the turquoise dress), who helped organize the event and provided specialties for folks to taste at the reception.

A standing-room-only crowd gathered Sept. 11 at St. John’s Cathedral downtown for a Peace Concert to celebrate universal humanity and to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedies in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The Jacksonville Sister Cities Association (JSCA), OneJax at the University of North Florida and the UNF Music Flagship Program joined together to present this year’s annual concert, which was supported globally by Sister Cities International and the September Concert Foundation. The event coincided with more than 2,000 musical concerts held worldwide each year on September 11.

Some of the Jacksonville Sister Cities Association, (including President Tongila Manly in the turquoise dress), who helped organize the event and provided specialties for folks to taste at the reception.

Some of the Jacksonville Sister Cities Association, (including President Tongila Manly in the turquoise dress), who helped organize the event and provided specialties for folks to taste at the reception.

Introductions were provided by The Very Reverend Kate Moorehead and JSCA President Tongila Manly, who both spoke of the concert as a vehicle to reaffirm hope for world peace and bring people together through music’s international language. Fittingly, the JSCA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding and mission of “Peace through People.”

The Peace Concert featured Soprano Paula Merritt, the Douglas Anderson Concert Chorale conducted by Jeffrey Clayton, the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus led by Melissa Barnes and the UNF Chamber Singers conducted by Cara Tasher. The music was a mix of classical and exalting songs that excited, humbled and brought peace to the many listeners, reminding the crowd “We are more alike than we are different,” a quote attributed to Maya Angelou.

The concluding rendition of “Give Us Hope” by the hundreds of singers lining the inside perimeter of the sanctuary was moving and heart-felt.  “Give us hope…my voice is calling. Can you see? Look in my eyes. Can you feel…my hand is reaching. Give us hope and we’ll show you the way.”

After the concert, JSCA hosted a reception with light refreshments reflecting international specialties from Jacksonville’s eight sister cities.


By Christina Swanson
Resident Community News

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