LDS Choir Participates in Boston “Song for Peace” Concert
By Laurie Williams Sowby, Church News contributor
Latter-day Saints from the Cambridge Massachusetts Stake joined their voices with a dozen choirs from diverse religious congregations in a healing concert at Boston’s Trinity Church on April 28, the first Sunday it was again open after the Boston Marathon bombings closed the area two weeks earlier.
The historic Episcopal church stands on Copley Square, at the end of the annual race. A six-block area was evacuated and cordoned off as a crime scene for nine days. The Rev. Patrick C. Ward, associate rector at the church, described it as a garbage-strewn ghost town and hazmat scene during that time. On this sunny spring Sunday afternoon, Boston was coming to life once again.
Planning for the concert, titled “Song for Peace,” began the Sunday after the bombings as Trinity parishioners attended services and its choirs rehearsed at Temple Israel synagogue. “Everything came together in a week!” said Rev. Ward. The program consisted of choir numbers and poetry readings by groups representing Boston’s diverse ethnic and religious traditions.
A handful of Latter-day Saints who sing with Trinity Choir and its younger choristers also stood among 40 in the Boston Area Combined Mormon Choir to sing “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” with Trinity organist Richard Webster accompanying the last verse. Mr. Webster ran in the Boston Marathon and finished the race unharmed two minutes before the first bomb exploded. Margaret Dredge Moore, who directed the LDS choir, said the “minutemen” from her Arlington Ward choir responded to an email and met together in the basement at Trinity Church to go over the hymn before the concert began.
“They loved being part of it,” she said afterward. “The invitation to be included meant a lot to them.” The choir had participated in an interfaith concert and sung at Trinity Church for an adult stake conference in fall 2009, and the relationship has continued, she said.
Rev. Ward greeted people following the concert and heard some say, “Thank you. I needed to be with people again.” He said people needed a way to respond to the tragedy.
“Because of our position in the city center, we have been open for prayer every day since we were allowed back in,” he said. “But we need to be together in addition to private prayer, with people outside the bounds of our faith.”
The cover of the concert program quoted Leonard Bernstein: “This will be our response to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” The entire audience joined in singing “May I Be an Instrument of Peace.”