Song from the heart shines in tribute

2012-01-08T00:00:00Z Song from the heart shines in tributeCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star © Mitzi Cowell, 2011 Arizona Daily Star

As he navigates the long road to recovery, shooting victim Ron Barber has a song in his heart.

A local musician put it there, and it quickly became Barber's favorite tribute tune honoring Jan. 8.

"Shine From the Valley," penned by Tucson native Mitzi Cowell, is an anthem for those who faced the tragedy by resolving to make the world better.

At Barber's request, Cowell and a cast of local talent will perform the piece at the upcoming benefit for the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, founded by Barber's family.

"I like it for many reasons but most of all because I think it accurately describes how our community responded," Barber said of the song, which also has spawned a music video.

It's a vivid reminder, Barber said, of a time when "compassion, kindness, love, prayers, and good will poured out from all across our community."

Cowell, an accomplished songwriter and guitarist, remembers taking to the streets in a daze when she first heard of the shootings.

She was part of the crowds that gathered outside Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' office, and on the lawn at University Medical Center as Giffords, her staff member Barber and others clung to life.

When 9-year-old shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green was buried, Cowell dressed in white to serve as an "angel" along the child's funeral route.

A line in the tribute song honors Green, urging listeners to "Shine from the valley for that little girl."

Local musician Sabra Faulk, lead singer on the recording, said she feels an otherworldly presence at that point in the song

"Every single time I sing that line, the chills raise up on my arms," Faulk said. "And it's not coming from me."

The music video features panoramic views of Tucson sunrises and sunsets, and scenes from the impromptu shrines that sprung up outside UMC.

Cowell and Faulk, who also plays bass on the record, are joined by Gary Mackender on drums, Duncan Stitt on keyboard and Louie Levinson on pedal steel.

Beverly Seckinger, a bassist who also is a professor in the film program at University of Arizona, turned the making of the music video into a class project.

"It was truly a labor of love and a community effort, connecting my students to the music community to create this," Seckinger said.

Cowell said the recording process helped heal her heartache over the shootings.

"The fact it happened here in my hometown, it really shook me. I took it very personally," said Cowell.

"I wanted the world to see something positive and beautiful coming out of Tucson," she said, "so we wouldn't just be remembered as another Columbine or Oklahoma City."

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

Hear the song

Go to www.mitzicowell.com/shine/ to hear the song.

 

Shine From the Valley

It's the sunset of our old ways

And the sunrise of a new day

And it feels too big to say

But we're gonna shine from the valley tonight

We're gonna shine from the valley out to the world

We're gonna shine from the valley so bright

'Cause that's the way of Love

There's so much to feel now

And there's so much to heal now

And it seems like it's time

To shine from the valley below

We're gonna shine from the valley out to the world

We're gonna shine from the valley I know

'Cause that's the way of Love

And when all eyes are upon you

Do you need to think of something to say?

And when that camera starts taping

Can you still kneel and pray?

And when all eyes are upon you

Do you need to think of something to do?

And when they hold out the microphone

Might you say something new?

'Cause it's the sunset of our old ways

And it's the sunrise of a new day

And it feels like it's time

To shine from the valley below

Shine from the valley out to the world

Shine from the valley I know

'Cause that's the way of Love

We're gonna shine from the valley below

Shine from the valley for that little girl

We're gonna shine from the valley I know

'Cause that's the way of Love

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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