Virtual Concert Pays Tribute to Holocaust Survivors

(WOODSTOCK, N.Y.) – A dozen regional musicians will take part in Holocaust Survivors: A Concert of Resilience and Hope, which will be livestreamed from the Bearsville Theatre on Sunday May 23, at 4pm. Performers include Elizabeth Clark, Michael Veitch, Jen Clapp, Vicki Russell, Bonnie Meadow, Elise Pittelman, and Judy Kass. Musical director is Julie Last, and Lori Wilner will host the event.

The concert is free and open to all, with registration here.

In honor of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Honoring Holocaust Survivors: A Concert of Resilience and Hope is an empowering intergenerational celebration of the lives of Holocaust Survivors from Orange, Rockland, Ulster and Dutchess Counties.

SageArts songwriters met with local survivors and their caregivers, in person and virtually throughout the Covid Pandemic, to compose songs based on the themes that emerged from their conversations. On May 23, they will share these powerful pieces in an event that highlights the healing power of the arts.

“This music is deep and soulful and, yes, some of the pieces are very solemn, but the music is not dark,” emphasized SageArts Colette Ruoff, founder and president. “These are songs of triumph, songs of learning and living.”

Elise Pittelman, one of the songwriters in the first Honoring Holocaust Survivors project in 2019, said, with regard to what she learned from working with friend and survivor Bruria Bodek-Falik, “It was one of the most rewarding projects I had ever been involved with and I told myself that if I had the opportunity to work with Sage Arts again, I would do whatever I could to have my dear friend of over 30 years be a part of this incredible project. I knew she was a Holocaust survivor, but I had never heard her story.

“One of the first things she shared with me when we first got together was that her father used to sing a song about a rooster. I googled it and I discovered a whole world about this Hungarian folksong called Szol a Kakas Mar. This song is actually hundreds of years old and became an anthem for Hungarian Jews fleeing their homeland during the war and emigrating to Israel. I listened to many different versions of the song during the process of writing ‘Watchmaker’s Daughter,’ and I knew I would have to include it in some way. Had I never started working with Bruria, I never would have learned about this precious gem of history.”

Likewise, songwriter Bonnie Meadow said that working with Joyce Mizrachi was a process which brought them both a lot of joy and gave Joyce the space to heal from her early childhood trauma. Mizrachi was born in an internment camp and was brought to a town in Southern France with the help of a camp nurse, before immigrating to Brooklyn and settling in Middletown, N.Y.

“Joyce and I are so glad to have gotten to know one another. For Joyce, this process helped her to acknowledge the real impact her experiences had on who she is; and I feel privileged to have guided her and to have expressed this in song.”

Holocaust Survivors: A Concert of Resilience and Hope will be held virtually on May 23 at 4:00 p.m., an exceptional opportunity for the Hudson Valley and beyond to join with Jewish Family Service of Orange County and SageArts in honoring these survivors through this meaningful event.

JFS program coordinator Paula Blumenau added, “This concert culminates two years of creative programing designed to support and engage Holocaust Survivors through arts expression, nutritional education and holistic self-care.  Supporting Holocaust Survivors is one of the ways JFS fulfills our agency’s mission of empowering all people facing challenging times to live with dignity, hope and strength.”

This event is made possible by generous funding from the Jewish Federations of North America Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, and partnerships with Rockland Jewish Family Service, Jewish Family Service of Ulster County, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County.

The concert is free and open to the public, however registration for the event is required.

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