In the face of tragedy, music can help ease the pain. Composer Steven Sametz hopes the special piece he's working on now can bring comfort.
"I hope I can do this justice," he shared.
The Lehigh University Professor recently won a $25,000 dollar music prize from the University of Connecticut to compose a 30 minute piece for chorus and orchestra. Sametz is focusing on the victims of the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
"They were entitled to the same kind of childhood I had," explained Sametz. "They didn't get it, they didn't have an opportunity."
Having grown up just 20 miles outside of Newtown, Sametz says honoring the victims just felt right.
"It came to me that this should be a setting of words of children, because that was the group most affected by Sandy Hook," he added. "So I began to ask local school teachers if they had children who might write their responses to tragedy and loss."
He's received hundreds letters from across the US. Some from inner city kids about first hand hardships, and others just pictures of heaven.
"The ones I have looked at have been quite powerful."
Sametz hopes those thoughts and images will inspire him as he starts composing the piece. Right now it's titled 'A Child's Requiem.' He says the message won't be about mourning.
"Anything that is a requiem, it's about the living, it's about comfort for the living," said Sametz.
The composition will debut in 2015 at the University of Connecticut and will be reprised at Lehigh. Sametz is still looking for ideas and input from children for the piece, for more information click HERE.