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New CD Offers <i>Voices of Hope</i>

The entertainment industry is responding to the terror attacks of September 11 with tributes to those who died in New York and Washington.

Tena Clark is a veteran songwriter and music producer, who was in New York on a business trip on September 11. "I was at 46th and Broadway," she said, "when life changed as we know it."

Ms. Clark says she will never forget the determined faces of rescue workers as they raced to the scene of the World Trade Center. Minutes after she saw them enter the area, the first of the center's twin towers collapsed, killing those inside and many near the building.

Ms. Clark volunteered at a Red Cross assistance center in the aftermath of the attacks. With air traffic halted, she eventually started driving across the United States, back home to California. "I think the last day that I drove is when it hit me emotionally," she said. "And I probably cried all the way through New Mexico. It was just a huge feeling of guilt about leaving New York. So that's when I started thinking, I have got to do something."

The producer had already been working on a project for more than a year. Called Voices of Hope, it featured music and other material that expressed the hope of world unity and peace.

Ms. Clark quickly brought together a group of recording artists to finish the project. She said, "I call them the Los Angeles all-star choir. I put together this 30-piece choir of the top 'session' singers in Los Angeles. And these are the voices you hear on everything from McDonald's [commercials] to Disney animated films to every TV show you've ever imagined, these singers that I've worked with for 20 to 25 years."

Most material for the album was already finished. But producer Tena Clark says she needed a final arrangement to complete her musical tribute. She decided on the classic "America the Beautiful." "What I tried to do," she said, "was to create a version of "America the Beautiful" that transcended many different styles of music, as well [as reflected the diversity] of the people that were singing, of [many] cultural backgrounds."

The tribute is on an enhanced CD. When played on a stereo system, it features music - a total of eight songs, from John Lennon's "Imagine" to "One World" by Sting. When played through a computer, listeners can also access pictures and audio clips from famous speeches. The text is translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and German.

Featured on the disk are the words of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and other historic leaders from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela. The CD contains parts of classic speeches by two U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy.

In the final analysis,
our most basic common link
is that we all inhabit this small planet.
We all breathe the same air.
We all cherish our children's future.
And we are all mortal.

Tena Clark's CD in honor of those who died in the terror attacks is one of several tributes from the entertainment industry. Another upcoming project will feature classic rock musicians on an album called Voices for America.

Ms. Clark's Voices of Hope should be released in mid-November, with distribution underwritten by several corporate sponsors.