Editorial: We will not forget

With all our social and other forms of media, it is not hard to keep up with events in the world. But unless we know someone who is involved, world events are mostly at arm’s length. Sometimes, however, the world comes to Wilton. It happened this past weekend.

A large crowd turned out for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s performance at the Clune Center on Nov. 15. The main performance was Brothers in Arts — 70 Years of Liberty, featuring Chris Brubeck and four French musicians: Guillaume Saint-James, Didier Ithursarry, Jerome Seguin, and Thierry Arpino.

Brothers in Arts is an homage to Brubeck’s father, Dave Brubeck who served in World War II, Saint-James’ father, who was a young boy at the time, but discovered a love of jazz listening to American bands in France, as well as all the Allied soldiers who fought in Europe. The music was accompanied by images projected onto a screen above the orchestra.

The piece premiered in France in June 2014 for the commemoration of D-Day and the liberation of Europe. Sunday’s performance was well-attended by local veterans.

Before the concert began, a representative of the orchestra walked to center stage and asked everyone to reflect on the horrors suffered in Paris last week, and also took the opportunity to remind the French musicians that we — those in the audience as well as people across America — stand with them and they are not alone.

With that the orchestra stood and began to play La Marseillaise. The audience stood as well. Also standing was one man — probably the only man in the audience wearing a beret — right in front of the projector. The result was a silhouette of a man in a beret — a common French head covering — that could be seen by all during the French national anthem.

That man was Trygve Hansen, and although his appearance was serendipitous, it was appropriate. Earlier this month, Hansen went to New York City for an awards ceremony, during which the French government awarded him the Croix de Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur for heroic actions during World War II.

At the end of the concert, several musicians spoke the simple, but powerful phrase — we will not forget — in several languages. The words were written on the screen in the languages they spoke.

We stand together. We will not forget.