Dr. Brian Wilson, Head of the Jewish Studies Program at Sonoma State University (SSU) said the following to his students one week after my concert last month.
“This was a very difficult but extremely important concert to experience, especially for the younger generation for whom it has been reported has an alarming decline in the awareness of the Holocaust.”
Reading this comment from Dr. Wilson, who invited me to be a part of the Sonoma State University Jewish Concert Series, was a reminder of how important it is for me to continue to sing these songs written by composers and writers that perished during the Holocaust. My Yiddish coach Yakob Basner (of blessed memory) once put his hands on my shoulders, looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said, “What you are doing is important! Thank you for keeping the memory alive of those who died in the ghettos by continuing to sing their songs.”
My October concert at SSU went well, and given that I only had one two hour rehearsal with the local musicians I was meeting for the first time, I am happy to report that the new arrangements made the rehearsal run smoothly.
I also had a very special guest in the audience. One that makes me realize this concert has taken on a life of its own. For those of you who have seen my concert, you have heard me talk about the first song I chose to learn, “Dos Elnte Kind” (“The Lonely Child”). The true story behind the song was so compelling and moving that I knew I had to perform it. The song is about a young mother, whose husband had been killed, and makes the heart wrenching decision to hide her 1 ½ year old baby girl outside the ghetto walls with a trusted housekeeper. The baby girl named Sarah survived the war and was reunited with her mother. Sarah grew up, married and had a child of her own named Alix. And Alix Wall, the daughter of “The Lonely Child” (who lives in the Bay area) was in the audience of my Sonoma State University concert.
After the presentation, I was left with an overwhelming determination to continue to share these mostly unknown pieces of Jewish history. If any of you reading this blog know of a venue or organization that would be interested in booking my concert/presentation, please send me their contact information so I can reach out to them. And if you feel inspired, you can tell them about the program and even send them this promo video. Tears Joy and Hope Promo. Any support is welcome in helping me share these special songs and important messages from our history.