A chorus of children from Newtown brought their musical message of hope and healing to the First United Methodist Church Sunday. The group, known as the Newtown Youth Voices, was formed in the wake of last December’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“I’m blessed to have the friendship of Francine and David Wheeler,” says Jim Allyn, Director of Newtown Youth Voices. “Their son Benjamin was my piano student and we lost Benjamin on 12/14.”
Allyn says the group came together when he took on some of Francine Wheeler’s music students after the loss of her son.
“As we were creating music together, her students and my students thought it would be nice to just get together every week and sing,” says Allyn. “It was really good for us.”
“Several of the parents said you know we just sit in the hallway and weep because the sound of children’s voices singing in harmony really brings home what’s at stake here,” Allyn says. “It brings home what was lost, it brings home the hope that remains and the harmony that we need to create.”
The chorus has been spreading that hope not only through performances, but through recordings as well, singing songs written by Allyn in honor of those affected by the tragedy.
“My Beautiful Town is the one we recorded as a fundraising CD for Sandy Hook Promise to highlight their mission of creating a future of hope through a broader conversation about how we need to change our society, the next step forward, how we can create a future where kids have safer lives,” says Allyn. “In the wake of this loss, we have all been looking for ways to rededicate our lives in the most profound ways we can towards that goal. And sometimes it’s as simple as just singing.
The group plans to sing again at a church Newtown on December 14, the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting.