A requiem of hope for the victims of the Newtown shootings

The search for harmony is what drives composer Steven Sametz.

The Lehigh University professor grew up just 20 miles from Newtown.

"I was raised in an environment so similar to Newtown - same county," Sametz said. "Those are lives not led...cut short...that there's just a sudden hole in the fabric of what could have been."

To honor the victims, Sametz is composing a special piece of music.

To honor the victims, Steven Sametz is composing a special piece of music. CBS News

"I elected to start this project in a very unusual way, for me," he said. "I wanted to enlist school children. I wanted to get their responses to tragedy and loss because I wanted the piece to speak from the point of view of the peer group most affected at Newtown."

He has received hundreds of letters, ranging from depictions of violence to pictures of heaven.

"This is a fourth grader, writing, 'My dad was about to go outside with me and someone had a gun and shot my dad,'" he read.

He has received hundreds of letters from young people CBS News

"And this one 7-year-old, Jess, gave me this incredibly beautiful picture and it just said, 'Where people go when they die,'" he said.

Sametz says the piece, entitled "A Child's Requiem," will have a message of hope, not mourning.

"Requiems really are about the living, they're offering comfort to those left behind," he said. "So perhaps I can offer that."

It will debut at the University of Connecticut in 2015.