S.C. First Responders Form 9/11 Tribute Choir

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. -- Firefighters, police officers, paramedics and investigators in Spartanburg County are using their voices to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. They formed a first responders choir to sing...


SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. --

Firefighters, police officers, paramedics and investigators in Spartanburg County are using their voices to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11.

They formed a first responders choir to sing during the Heroes & Legends Tribute Concert put on by the Music Foundation of Spartanburg and the Spartanburg Philharmonic.

The choir began with six members and quickly grew to 20.

"Some of them know that they've got it in them, but they don't quite know how to get it out," said conductor Sarah Ioannides. "They are so eager to sing. They are really excited and I tell you, they've got some fantastic voices."

The choir includes Tony Fisher, the director of Spartanburg Public Safety.

"I've had some previous experience, but I don't think I'm in a position to make a career out of it," Fisher told News4's Mike McCormick. "I think surreal. I think it's a healing experience for so many of us who remember it (9/11) so vividly."

The choir also includes Lt. Jay Hammett of the North Spartanburg Fire Department and Roebuck Fire District Capt. Chris Harvey, who said the shower and the car are the only places he usually sings.

"To be able to give honor to those folks who have given that sacrifice and just pay tribute to our service in general and the American people is a big deal. It means the world," Harvey said. "It's going to be an eye-opening and shocking experience. It'll be quite an event, I'm sure."

"I just love to sing. So this will be a great chance to pay tribute in a special way," Hammett said. "I think it'll be something special and I think you'll really enjoy it."

The first responders choir will be joined on stage by the festival chorus, featuring community and Converse College singers, the full Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and a Metropolitan Opera star.

"It is a little intimidating, I guess you could say. I just think if you're doing it for the right reason it'll all work out," Hammett said.

The event will also feature the world premiere of the song "Falling Man," which is based on a book about a man's experiences on 9/11. The composer will be there talk about the piece and then share it with the audience.

"It has never been heard before," said Keysie Maddox, director of the Music Foundation of Spartanburg. "I am so excited, I can't stand it."

The Heroes & Legends Tribute Concert is Saturday Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Twichell Auditorium at Converse College in Spartanburg. For tickets, call 864-596-9725.

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