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Minot State music professor’s piece honoring 9/11 victims to be performed

Submitted Photo Emerson Eads, director of choral activities and music professor at Minot State University, is shown in this photo by Rick Heit. He will sing the tenor solo in “Mozart Requiem,” a piece he wrote.

A new piece that Emerson Eads, director of Choral Activities at Minot State University and professor of music, wrote to commemorate the life of a family member who took her own life will be premiered by the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus on Saturday, Sept. 18. Eads will be featured as the tenor solo for the performance. The performance will be done in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

“I’ve never written a piece for myself, so this is rather rare,” Eads said.

The performance will be held at the Belle Mehus Auditorium in Bismarck beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Eads said the concert is a memorial for 9/11 and features “Mozart Requiem,” in which he will be singing the tenor solo. He said the orchestra’s conductor, Beverly Everett, contacted him and asked him to write a piece commemorating 9/11.

“She told me she wished to include my arrangement of ‘His Eye Is On The Sparrow.’ As I thought through the commission I had a picture come up on the ‘memories’ of a family member who had taken her own life and so I knew I wanted the piece to be dedicated to Devin, and the beautiful light that ‘she was,’ “ Eads

He said he took the following text and melded them:

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

“Say not in grief that she is gone,

But say in thankfulness that she was.

A death is not the extinguishing of a light

But the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come.”

Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid (1150-1217)

“I will build an altar with the broken pieces of my heart.”

“I’m a composer and conductor, but I’m also a tenor, so I wrote it for orchestra, chorus and tenor soloist,” Eads said. “It is a big sing, full of emotion and longing, and I’m so excited to share it, and delighted that Beverly called this piece into existence. It gave me hope, and a way of recontextualizing Devin’s short time here into simple gratitude that she was, and that title ‘She Was’ stuck.”

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