The Herald Bulletin

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February 8, 2013

Music world helps Newtown heal following massacre

HARTFORD, Conn. — When 6-year-old Dylan Hockley was memorialized at a service following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, his parents were especially moved by one song.

A writer, Dushyanthi Satchi, had reworked the lyrics to the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah," from Dylan's favorite movie, "Shrek."

"Dylan's Hallelujah" begins, "It's calm, it's clear, it's a peaceful day, walking through the heavenly gates, hand in hand with teachers and my friends."

"That one thing — that song — has been quite healing for us," Nicole Hockley, Dylan's mother, said Thursday.

There have been many musical tributes to the victims of the Dec. 14 tragedy, some put on by world famous performers, others by local musicians and many involving the children of Newtown.

Professional football players were on the verge of tears when a group of 26 children who escaped the Newtown shooting, including Dylan's older brother, Jake, joined Jennifer Hudson at the Super Bowl to sing "America the Beautiful." Another group of Newtown children will perform before the Grammy Awards this weekend.

"Humans have used music in healing forever," said Jane Matson, the choral director at Newtown High School. "It expresses our feelings and gets emotion out in a way that's constructive and beautiful. So I don't think it's any surprise that in trying to heal here, we would turn to music."

Members of Matson's chamber choir were among about 80 Newtown students who performed with dozens of Broadway stars including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Christine Ebersole and even Monkees frontman Micky Dolenz at a benefit show in Waterbury. The event "From Broadway with Love" was put on by Broadway producer Van Dean, who lives in nearby Trumbull and composer Brett Boles, who grew up in Newtown.

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