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Queens musicians pen song for victims of Sandy Hook

A bus drives past a sign reading "Welcome to Sandy Hook." AP Photo/Jessica Hill
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When Whitestone singer Frances Cozzolino first heard about the Sandy Hook school shooting one year ago, she turned to music to create a message of love for those affected.

“After the shooting, I was really very shaken by it, and I wanted to show support, some kind of emotional support for them,” she said.

So Cozzolino recorded a cover of a song and posted it on social media, asking if there was anything she could do to help after 20 children and six adults were fatally gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Dec. 14, 2012.

“You just feel like you want to share something with them because your heart is breaking for them,” Cozzolino said.

The founder of Voices for Heroes Sandy Hook, Denise Labrecque, took notice and asked Cozzolino to take part in a compilation CD to raise money for HealingNewtown Arts Space, an organization that tries to use arts to help the Newtown community, and the Newtown school district’s music departments.

Cozzolino teamed up with longtime friend and musician Tom Roberto, of Richmond Hill, to write and record “Cold December” and create a music video for the song. Cozzolino, who penned the lyrics, and Roberto, who created the music, are both in the band Frankie’s Attic.

“Tom and I were very proud of that — to think you can make some kind of a difference for the children who were there,” she said. “We both feel that music is a way to heal.”

Cozzolino said she was able to draw on the pain she felt when she was unable to become pregnant. After the Sandy Hook shooting, her husband told her to “write something that is respectful for them.”

Roberto thought of his own three children after the shooting.

“Something like that you can’t help but feel terrible,” he said. “You put yourself in that situation and you can’t imagine what those parents went through.”

At first both Cozzolino and Roberto were nervous about how loved ones of the victims would view the project.

“You obviously want to be respectful to the parents and you want to honor all of the victims,” she said. “We were both very worried about that.”

But over time, the pair said they heard from several of the children’s relatives, including the family of Dylan Hockley and the godmother of Olivia Engel, who planned to share the song with organizers of a Washington, D.C., vigil planned for the one-year anniversary.

Cozzolino said she took part in an online vigil Sunday in which participants around the world were asked to light a candle in memory of those killed. In addition, the Voices for Heroes for which she now serves as the secretary held a fund-raising concert in August dubbed the “Power of Peace” festival and plans to make the event an annual occurrence.

“For the actual anniversary, everyone is just respecting the families and understanding that this is the first anniversary that they are going to have,” Cozzolino said.

Reach Managing Editor Christina Santucci by phone at 718-260-4589 or by email at timesledgerphotos@gmail.com.

Updated 10:42 am, December 14, 2013
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