For further research on the development of Race for the Sky and associated materials, please explore the following documents and links.
The musical history of Race for the Sky The collaborative poems Tower One and Tower Two, sponsored immediately after the attacks on the web by Poets House and City Lore. A PDF version of the poems is available here, Tower One and here, Tower Two.
Juilliard violinist William Harvey’s email . A PDF version of the email is available here. For more information on William and his current work in music and peace across the world, see www.culturesinharmony.org.
In preparing for the premiere performance of Race for the Sky on September 11, 2002, I asked poet Hilary North if she would share more information about the people she lists in the long litany of her poem. I knew a few more details would help me personalize each name as I sang it. Hilary’s reply exceeded my hopes: it was almost a How My Life Has Changed – Part Two. Hilary’s succinct but evocative choice of details reminds me of how the distinctiveness and dignity of human life prevails, even in the rabbit warren of corporate cubicles.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, those of us in New York were faced with many new realities: smoke and ash in our air, re-routing on the subways, buses and roads, occupancy rules on passenger vehicles, anthrax threats, and a seemingly unending stream of missing photographs, memorials, and funerals. Along with our fellow Americans elsewhere, we too were searching for understanding – but from beneath a weight of destruction and grief and the physical reminders of a downtown that continued burning for a very long time. This brief email exchange prompted by good friends in Southern California, reflects the anxiety and desire for hope prevalent in those days.
Race for the Sky has been used in high school, college, and university classrooms to prompt discussion on the arts and peace, social justice, violence, and the roles of music and memory in our culture. Here are a few suggestions for using Race for the Sky in an educational setting.