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Benefit Concert Honors 9/11 Anniversary

Patriotic songs were sung and played by Lake Zurich High School students at the Performing Arts Center.

While students at may be too young to recall the events of 9/11, they remembered the tragedy and those it affected by holding a concert titled “In Remembrance” at the school's Performing Arts Center on Sunday.

The entire Lake Zurich community was invited to attend the two performances free of charge. Donations were being accepted instead of a ticket fee, with all proceeds going to the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, which provides grants to help children of firefighters and other victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to afford higher education.

“The 1 p.m. show was just packed,” said choir director Nick Juknelis. “We had people standing.”

The second show at 3:30 p.m. brought in about 500 people.

“We anticipated a big turnout,” said Juknelis.

Among the 13 songs performed, the concert began with The Star-Spangled Banner sung by 200 choir students and accompanied by 50 wind ensemble students.

During the song Armed Forces — The Pride of America!, Juknelis asked members from each branch of the armed forces to stand, followed by a round of applause from the audience.

The concert touched on four parts: our troops; our fallen; our cities; and our spirit.

Juknelis shared his memories of 9/11 with the audience.

“I was in grad school at the University of Iowa watching the Today Show and I shut the television off to go to class and a minute later the world changed forever,” said Juknelis.

He also talked about how the students at were too young to remember the 9/11 events and don’t know what’s it like to greet someone at the gate at the airport or to keep your shoes on while walking through security at the airport.

“It is my job as an educator to teach my students how 9/11 changed the United States,” Juknelis explained.

“I was 6 years old and in the first grade when 9/11 happened,” said junior Jake Gadomski, a member of Bare Voices and the concert choir. “Mr. Juknelis has really talked about how America has changed because of 9/11 and I think it’s made us stronger.”

Principal Kim Kolze shared her brother-in-law Jack’s experience with 9/11. Jack was living in New York City during the tragedy.

In a letter, Jack talked about seeing the plane crashing into the Twin Towers on TV and instantly thinking of his dear friend who worked in tower seven.

“I was watching the television and witnessing people getting killed,” said Jack.

Jack’s friend survived the tragedy. He recounted what he saw being right there, watching people jumping from the burning towers.

“Nothing ever phases New York City, but 9/11 did,” said Kolze.

Broadway singer Jan Horvath made a guest appearance and sang Barren Field and Immigrant’s Anthem from her album. Horvath has performed in the Broadway productions Phantom of the Opera, The Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Oliver, Stardust and Cats.

She also shared her memories of 9/11. Horvath was scheduled to attend an event in San Francisco on 9/11 and asked her manager to book her a flight on United out of Newark.

“He was insistent I take Jet Blue out of JFK because it was less expensive,” explained Horvath.

The next day, she turned on the television in her hotel room in San Francisco and “everything had already happened,” she said. “My city had been attacked.”

She talked about the United Airlines plane that crashed in Pennsylvania that left out of Newark en route to San Francisco.

“I could have been buried in that field in Pennsylvania, too,” said Horvath.

The 75-minute program concluded with the song America. An American flag came down behind the choir and images of 9/11 and Americana — such as President Lincoln, George Washington, Mount Rushmore and immigrants — flashed on a large screen in the theater. Portions of speeches from John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were played. Juknelis encouraged everyone to sing along and in unison with the loud bang of the cymbals. Red, white and blue confetti fell everywhere.

“The concert was just excellent,” said Mount Prospect Fire Chief John Malcolm, parent of a student. “It was a nice way to remember and honor 9/11.”

Red, white and blue carnations were sold in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center. Other items for sale, with proceeds going to the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, included: Jan Horvath’s CD; artwork from Rino Li Causi, Horvath's husband; and red, white and blue slushes from .

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The entire Lake Zurich community was invited to attend the two performances free of charge. Donations were being accepted instead of a ticket fee, with all proceeds going to the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, which provides grants to help children of firefighters and other victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to afford higher education.

“The 1 p.m. show was just packed,” said LZHS choir director, Nick Juknelis. “We had people standing.”

The second show at 3:30 p.m. brought in around 500 people.

“We anticipated a big turnout,” said Juknelis.

Among the 13 songs performed, the concert began with The Star-Spangled Banner sung by 200 choir students and accompanied by 50 wind ensemble students.

During the song Armed Forces — The Pride of America!, Juknelis asked members from each branch of the armed forces to stand, followed by a round of applause from the audience.

The concert touched on four parts: our troops; our fallen; our cities; and our spirit.

Juknelis shared his memories of 9/11 with the audience.

“I was in grad school at the University of Iowa watching the Today Show and I shut the television off to go to class and a minute later the world changed forever,” said Juknelis.

He also talked about how the students at LZHS were too young to remember the 9/11 events and don’t know what’s it like to greet someone at the gate at the airport or to keep your shoes on while walking through security at the airport.

“It is my job as an educator to teach my students how 9/11 changed the United States,” Juknelis explained.

“I was 6 years old and in the first grade when 9/11 happened,” said LZHS junior Jake Gadomski, a member of Bare Voices and the concert choir. “Mr. Juknelis has really talked about how America has changed because of 9/11 and I think it’s made us stronger.”

LZHS Principal Kim Kolze shared her brother-in-law Jack’s experience with 9/11. Jack was living in New York City during the tragedy.

In a letter, Jack talked about seeing the plane crashing into the Twin Towers on TV and instantly thinking of his dear friend who worked in tower seven.

“I was watching the television and witnessing people getting killed,” said Jack.

Jack’s friend survived the tragedy. He recounted what he saw being right there, watching people jumping from the burning towers.

“Nothing ever phases New York City, but 9/11 did,” said Kolze.

Broadway singer Jan Horvath made a guest appearance and sang Barren Field and Immigrant’s Anthem from her album.

Horvath has performed in the Broadway productions Phantom of the Opera, The Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Oliver, Stardust and Cats.

She also shared her memories of 9/11. Horvath was scheduled to attend an event in San Francisco on 9/11 and asked her manager to book her a flight on United out of Newark.

“He was insistent I take Jet Blue out of JFK because it was less expensive,” explained Horvath.

The next day, she turned on the television in her hotel room in San Francisco and “everything had already happened,” she said. “My city had been attacked.”

She talked about the United plane that crashed in Pennsylvania that left out of Newark en route to San Francisco.

“I could have been buried in that field in Pennsylvania, too,” said Horvath.

The 75-minute program concluded with the song America. An American flag came down behind the choir and images of 9/11 and Americana — such as President Lincoln, George Washington, Mount Rushmore and immigrants — flashed on a large screen in the theater. Portions of speeches from John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.,  were played. Juknelis encouraged everyone to sing along and in unison with the loud bang of the cymbals. Red, white and blue confetti fell everywhere.

“The concert was just excellent,” said John Malcolm, Mount Prospect Fire Department fire chief and LZHS parent. “It was a nice way to remember and honor 9/11.”

Red, white and blue carnations were sold in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center. Other items for sale, with proceeds going to the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, included: Jan Horvath’s CD; artwork from Rino Li Causi, Horvath's husband; and red, white and blue slushes from .

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