Beginning Friday, July 19, local public broadcasting stations will air a one hour PBS special called “Concert for Newtown,” a community event that brought together the people of Newtown in song, spirit and common purpose in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shooting.
“Concert for Newtown,” recorded on February 10 at The Ridgefield Playhouse during the presentation of “A Concert Of Caring, Healing And Togetherness,” will feature performances by Peter Yarrow, Dar Williams, Bethany Yarrow & Rufus Cappadocia, as well as members of Newtown’s own Flagpole Radio Café, which includes Francine and David Wheeler, the parents of 6-year-old Ben, who died on 12/14.
WNET (Thirteen), based in New York, will debut the special on Friday at 9:00 pm, and then rebroadcast it on Sunday, July 21, at 12:30 pm.
In the PBS special, the concert’s songs are interwoven with interviews of Peter Yarrow and Francine Wheeler by veteran journalist Bill Moyers. Framing the concert, David and Francine Wheeler and other members of the Sandy Hook community recite The Sandy Hook Promise, a pledge to turn the Sandy Hook tragedy into transformation that can prevent future tragedies of this sort.
“I fully believe that this concert will touch the heart of America,” said Peter Yarrow. “It was a most remarkable night, one that shows who we can be when we act with courage and allow our hearts to be open to one another.
“It is painful, cathartic, inspiring,” he continued. “It demonstrates who the citizens of Newtown are, and who we all can be, as we rise together to meet a devastatingly painful challenge and reach for a change that can bring us a brighter day.”
David and Francine Wheeler saw a love of music in their younger son at a very young age.
“Our family has always been musically inclined,” the said in a statement. “Even at 6 years old, Ben had perfect pitch and a love for music. And, as we saw from his third and final piano recital, he truly enjoyed playing and creating music for others.
“In many ways, ‘Concert for Newtown’ is a fitting way for us to not only honor Ben’s memory, but also inspire hope and love within the community through a medium that Ben himself would enjoy.”
In addition to the airing on WNET, “Concert for Newtown” will be aired on WLIW (Long Island) on Sunday, July 21, at 3:30 pm; Sunday, July 28, at 11 pm; and Friday, August 2, at 3 am; and on NJTV (New Jersey) on Tuesday, July 23, at 10 pm; and Thursday, July 25, at 4 am.
The PBS special was produced by Peter Yarrow and Jim Brown.