Where Hurricane Maria First Made Landfall, Songs Memorialize The Tragedy At 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the shores of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. One year later to the minute, and at the same spot, a choir memorialized that tragedy with song.
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Where Hurricane Maria First Made Landfall, Songs Memorialize The Tragedy

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Where Hurricane Maria First Made Landfall, Songs Memorialize The Tragedy

Where Hurricane Maria First Made Landfall, Songs Memorialize The Tragedy

Where Hurricane Maria First Made Landfall, Songs Memorialize The Tragedy

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/650052751/650052752" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Singer Alberto Carrión performs Amanecer Borincano, his song about sunrise over Puerto Rico, at the point where Hurricane Maria made landfall one year ago. Adrian Florido/NPR hide caption

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Adrian Florido/NPR

Singer Alberto Carrión performs Amanecer Borincano, his song about sunrise over Puerto Rico, at the point where Hurricane Maria made landfall one year ago.

Adrian Florido/NPR

Alberto Carrión got out of bed while it was still dark Wednesday morning, and as he drove the winding road toward Puerto Rico's eastern coast, he looked up at the clouds through his drizzled windshield and worried.

"Please don't let it rain," he thought to himself. "Oh, no, please don't let it rain."

Carrion is a well known singer and composer in Puerto Rico, and on Wednesday morning, the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria's destructive tear across the island, he was driving toward Yabucoa, the town where the hurricane made landfall.

Alblerto Carrion, a well known Puerto Rican composer, sang with the choir from the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey in Yabucoa, where Hurricane Maria first made landfall. Adrian Florido/NPR hide caption

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Adrian Florido/NPR

Alblerto Carrion, a well known Puerto Rican composer, sang with the choir from the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey in Yabucoa, where Hurricane Maria first made landfall.

Adrian Florido/NPR

It had been announced that on this morning, he would be commemorating the tragedy by singing one of his beloved songs — about the Puerto Rican sunrise — at the exact spot where the hurricane came ashore. The rocky coast of Yabucoa and the voices of a University of Puerto Rico choir would be his backdrop. The eyes of the island would be on him.

When he arrived, the television cameras and microphones had been set up. The choir was getting into position.

The rain held off.

He took his place leaning against the trunk of a palm tree, lifted his guitar, and at precisely 6:15 a.m. — the time that Maria made landfall — he began to sing.

For the rest of the day, Amanecer Borincano, his song about sunrise over Puerto Rico, could be heard wafting from car speakers and television sets across an island still recovering from last year's tragedy.