Add another name to the list of Haverhill people making their mark on society well beyond the city limits.
James Bassi is gaining fame in the international music community.
His musical composition remembering 70th anniversary of the Holocaust is receiving wide acclaim. His work marks the liberation of the Nazis' Auschwitz prison camp. (See story, Page 1.)
Bassi's work, "Five Prayers,'' debuted Jan. 27 at the University of Minnesota with a full orchestra and chorus. The January date coincides with the takedown of Auschwitz in 1945, bringing an end to this horrific chapter of world history. Bassi's oratorio is a large-scale musical work for an orchestra and singers.
Bassi has modest local roots, but he has kept them strong after leaving Haverhill to find his musical fame. He grew up on Pilling Street on "The Hill'' — the affectionate name locals use for the Mount Washington area of the city.
He took up piano lessons under the wing of local teacher Mary Gullo and honed his skills with her until he was ready to pursue a musical career. He still stays in touch with her today, as he does with other Haverhill people from his youth.
Bassi's musical work is the latest example of a Haverhill person finding success nationally, even internationally.
Consider people such as Haverhill High graduate Andre Dubus III, author of the best selling novel "House of Sand and Fog,'' which became a movie, and "Townie,'' Dubus' memoir about his struggles while growing up in Haverhill.
Consider city native Tom Bergeron, who honed his speaking skills at Haverhill High and Northern Essex Community College. He has risen to high places in the entertainment industry as host of such popular TV shows as "Hollywood Squares'' and "Dancing with the Stars.''
Then there are Carlos Pena, the Haverhill High graduate who has had a successful major league baseball career, and horror movie master Rob Zombie, who grew up in Bradford.
Look deeper into the city's past and you'll encounter film-making king Louis B. Mayer, who had his first theater in Haverhill, and Rowland Macy, founder of the successful Macy's stores, who had his first store here.
There are Haverhill's Frankie Fontaine, the popular comedian who was a fixture on the old "Jackie Gleason Show,'' and Bob Montana, creator of the popular "Archie'' comics series based on his classmates at Haverhill High School in the late 1930s.
And the list goes on.
Bassi has joined the ranks of Haverhill's best-known people who have found success in a variety of fields.
The city is fortunate to have so many well-accomplished people who trace their roots here.
Locals should be proud.
We hope the success of Bassi and others inspire today's young Haverhill people to follow their dreams and achieve success as well.