This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 75th anniversary of the founding of Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27.
To commemorate these events, the Friday Center, in partnership with the Choral Society of Durham, will offer a performance of Holocaust Cantata, a musical composition created by composer and conductor Donald McCullough. (Note: This event has been postponed indefinitely due to the University’s precautionary response to the novel coronavirus.)
The event will include an introduction with a historical overview provided by Eric M. Meyers, Bernice and Morton Lerner Distinguished Emeritus Professor in Judaic Studies at Duke University. The cantata itself consists of 13 movements that alternate between music and readings from prisoner’s writings and letters. These readings will be narrated by Holocaust survivors and descendents.
Based on the research of original music sung by incarcerated inmates in Holocaust concentration camps, this 40-minute cantata is an emotional, musical journey through one of the bleakest episodes in human history. Working from translations of original Polish materials found in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and starting with just a single line of melody, the cantata offers a choral tribute to the 6 million Jews who were systematically persecuted and murdered as well as to the millions of other individuals the Nazi Party classified as “undesirables,” including Poles, Romanian gypsies, homosexuals, transsexuals, political opponents, religious dissidents, the mentally ill and the physically disabled. What emerges from the insanity of one of history’s worst examples of man’s inhumanity to man is a sense of music’s life-affirming power.