MCC-Maple Woods honors Holocaust victims with Day of Remembrance concert

Though the horrors of the Holocaust are undisputed, victims and survivors of one of history’s most chilling periods of human cruelty persevered to create beautiful music – stray slants of light and faith amongst the darkness.

MCC-Maple Woods will host the annual Day of Remembrance Concert: Remembering the Holocaust Through Music at 6:30 p.m. April 30 in the Campus Center Arbor Room. This event is FREE and open to the public. Everyone is welcome, but due to subject matter, it is recommended only for children over 13.

This year’s performance, held in conjunction with the National Holocaust Museum’s Day of Remembrance, will feature Shemà by Simon Sargon. Sargon’s piece sets five poems by Primo Levi, an Italian chemist deported to Auschwitz in 1944. When the camp was liberated by the Red Guard in 1945, Levi returned to his native Milan and wrote four of the poems that inspired Shemà – “Shemà,” “February 25,1944,” “The Song of the Crow,” and “Singing.” The fifth poem that inspired Sargon, “Parting,” was written nearly 30 years later and is reflective of his experience on the whole.

Soprano Nicole Murrary, MCC-Maple Woods choir director and performer with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus, will perform Shemà, accompanied by Mary Jamerson (flute), Jim Murray (clarinet), Trilla Ray-Carter (cello) and Sarah Jacobs (piano).

Also featured at the concert will be Gideon Klein’s Sonata for Piano, which he composed in the Czech concentration camp Terezìn in 1943 shortly before being deported to Auschwitz. He died two years later in another concentration camp, and most of his works have been preserved thanks only to his passing of a suitcase containing most of his composition to a friend shortly before his deportation.

Guest pianist for Klein’s Sonata will be Dan Velicer, Kansas City Symphony pianist.

In addition to the musical selections, poetry reflecting on the Holocaust will be read by MCC-Maple Woods students.