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Irish Echo Newspaper “Hush-a-bye-baby”

Hush-a-bye-baby
Publication: Irish Echo
Lullabies CD to aid 9/11 orphans
By Sarah Freeman

Dr. Kathleen Reilly Fallon was so affected by what she witnessed on Sept. 11, 2001, that she has devoted the last year to working on a tribute.

The musical mother of one has made a compilation CD of lullabies, called “Heavenly Lullabies,” which she has dedicated to the children born after the tragedy whose father died on that day and to the nearly 1,000 children who lost a parent. Proceeds from the CD will go to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund.

The 34-year-old foot and ankle surgeon was working at a hospital in Midtown Manhattan when the tragedy struck.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Fallon volunteered to work in St. Paul’s Chapel, near Ground Zero, where a foot and ankle center had been set up to care for the firefighters and police injured by the debris.

“We were like a family there,” Fallon said.

The experience had a profound affect on the young mother, whose son, James, was just a few months old. She began to think about the women who had lost their partners in the tragedy.

“It just occurred to me that some of them must be pregnant,” Fallon said. “I started to think about what I could do to help them.”

Fallon decided to record a lullaby CD and set about finding an organization that would ensure that any proceeds went straight to the children who needed it.

“I did all this research and came across the Twin Towers Orphan Fund,” she said, referring to the charitable fund set up on Sept. 13, 2001.

Fallon has been involved in every aspect of producing the CD. She and her husband built a recording studio in their home, they asked friends and colleagues to be involved with the project, and they set up a not-for-profit organization, called Heavenly Lullabies, to help launch it.

Fallon put together an executive board and embarked on the voice training required to ready her vocal chords for a solo recording.

“I needed my voice to be right,” she said. “Normally, I sing in a group but this is solo.”

She has been passionate about music since the age of 5, when she sang with the St. John the Baptist’s choir.

Now, Fallon sings regularly with a folk group and credits music with keeping her sane during the hectic years of medical school.

Fallon’s husband, James, supported his wife’s idea all the way. In his third year of study at the Juilliard School of Music, James was able to provide the technical know-how for much of the project.

With a background working as a chief technical officer for an aerospace company, his skill in designing electro-optical instruments, altitude determination sensors and control computers for existing satellites was put to good use in building the home recording studio in Armonk.

“I was going to build it anyway, and Kathy’s desire to do this project just accelerated the time schedule,” said James Fallon, whose studies at Juilliard include piano performance.

Meanwhile, Fallon bought every lullaby CD she could find on the market.

“I think I found around 15 of them,” she said. “I wanted to see what the common link was and work out how ours could be different.”

She spent the months attending her voice coach, a soprano who appeared in a Riverdance production.

Fallon, whose late father was from Carrowmore Lacken, Co. Mayo, and whose mother is from Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, was keen to have her Irish heritage represented in the chosen music.

She pored over lists of lullabies and finally settled on 24 pieces, which included the “Gaelic Cradle Song” and “Toora, Loora, Loora.”

One piece, the “Guardian Angel Prayer,” originally had no accompanying tune, so Fallon composed one.

“A friend gave me a book of children’s prayers and I don’t know what happened but as soon as I read it, music came into my head,” she said.

Other songs on the CD include “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” the “Cradle Song” and Brahms’s “Lullaby.”

Altogether, there were 19 other artists involved in the enterprise, including Frank Pellegrino, from “The Sopranos,” who is a tenor.

The Fallons elicited the help of friends and were delighted that all studio time was donated.

Once the basic costs of putting the CD together have been paid, the rest of the proceeds will go to the Twin Towers Orphans Fund.

The CD, “Heavenly Lullabies,” will be launched on Sept. 11, 2003. It can be ordered from www.HeavenlyLullabies.com.

This story appeared in the issue of October 21-27, 2009