Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Around-the-world Requiem will be performed Sept. 11

Seattle Times music critic

It all began with one imaginative — and still anonymous — music lover in Seattle who wanted a nationwide Mozart Requiem performance in commemoration of Sept. 11.

The idea has snowballed around the world into a minor Mozartean miracle, with a lot of help from the Seattle Symphony Chorale, conductor Gerard Schwarz and a full roster of international organizers.

Here's what will happen: On Sept. 11, 2002, a "Rolling Requiem" of individual worldwide performances will begin at the international date line and will move from time zone to time zone, with each Mozart Requiem performance starting at 8:46 a.m. local time (the moment of the first attack on the World Trade Center). The concerts will follow the sun around the world, providing 24 hours of musical unity, reflection and solace.

The idea started in January, after a Mozart Requiem performance by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. One of the singers encountered a woman who suggested a joint Requiem concert by the country's best choruses around the Ground Zero perimeter in New York, with enough singers so that each voice could represent one Sept.11 victim.

A small group from the Seattle Symphony Chorale adapted this original idea, volunteering to invite choirs all over the world to commemorate the first anniversary of Sept. 11.

Instead of one concert at Ground Zero, the idea became to have many concerts in each nation's own time zones, each Requiem beginning at the start time of the attack.

In Seattle, the Rolling Requiem performance will take place in the Paramount Theatre, with Schwarz leading the chorus.

Thirty choirs from Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Central America and the U.S. have already said they'll perform the Requiem, and as many as 125 are considering joining in, according to Rolling Requiem Chairwoman Madeline Johnson.

A choir in Riga, Latvia, responded with this message: "Not only will we sing in our country's largest performance space, we are inviting choirs from all over our country to join us."

Members of a Boston choir were reportedly moved to tears when they received their invitation to perform. An enthusiastic Welshman sent out invitations to 200 Welsh choirs. Similarly, a choir in Taipei is organizing a network of Taiwanese choirs.

"It's thrilling and very humbling to be involved in this project," Johnson said. "There was so much loss — of life, property and trust. This is a counterbalance to some of that loss."

Johnson added that those who would like to volunteer to help with the Rolling Requiem can check in at the Web site, where there is the opportunity to register.

Additional information is available at or by mail at the Rolling Requiem, 227 Bellevue Way N.E., Box 459, Bellevue, WA 98004.

The Web site features a registration section, with updates about the event, and a template with instructions for making heart badges. Each Rolling Requiem choir is requested to make heart-shape badges for singers to wear, each bearing the name of a person who was lost.


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