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January 06. 2013 10:32PM

NH filmmaker, songwriter create tribute for Sandy Hook

NASHUA - Saddened and shocked by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., a group of local filmmakers and songwriters joined forces to put their pain into words - a project now being shared for the world to see.

I was looking for a way to contribute to something greater, with some type of healing or help for the families of the victims," said Ben Proulx, 25, of Nashua.

The local filmmaker collaborated with songwriter Justin Cohen, 23, of Derry, to create a video tribute titled "26 Angels."

The message has received about 9,000 hits on youtube since it was posted last week.

"Music is one of the most simple healers in the world, and I thought that we could definitely do something that might make a difference," said Cohen, a former student at Berklee College of Music.

During Christmas week, Cohen wrote a song in honor of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary during a mass shooting Dec. 14.

The song, according to Cohen, not only helped him sort through the confusion and heartbreak from the Newtown catastrophe, but it also made him deal with underlying sadness from his own brother's death from sudden infant death syndrome nearly 20 years ago.

He took those feelings and placed them onto paper with the help of songwriters Justin Friedburg of Derry and Connor Hayes of Nashua. Once the lyrics were completed, Proulx was able to locate 20 children from Massachusetts and New Hampshire to help sing "26 Angels."

Also assisting with the video project were Becki Dennis, Ben Maitland-Lewis and Erica Derrickson.

The video tribute was filmed on Dec. 26 at Andover High School in Andover, Mass.

The nonprofit campaign is now raising funds to help build and beautify a memorial park on the site of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Whenever the youtube video is watched, a link is available for viewers to donate directly to the cause.

"I have already received some messages directly from family members of the victims," said Proulx. "We are talking to people who are spearheading events in Newtown, and we are hopeful that Justin will be able to perform his song there in the near future."

khoughton@newstote.com


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