Commemoration is a process that involves witness, preservation, interpretation, and performance. This process calls upon human creativity, commitment, emotional connection, and contemporary context. Literature, music, and performance work together to open a window across space and time for generations to connect with one another.
Through March 2, the Lam Museum is hosting a traveling exhibit from Kennesaw State University entitled Words, Music, Memory: Re(presenting) Voices of the Holocaust. This ten-panel exhibit and accompanying digital gallery guide highlight the links along the chain of commemoration that connect the past and the present and generation to generation. While the panels focus on the words of writers who witnessed the Holocaust, the gallery guide includes biographies of the writers, sketches by the panel illustrators, information about musical and dramatic pieces adapted from the writers’ works, and interviews with composers, lyricists, performers, and producers. It also provides visitors with opportunities to access performance videos and share their perspectives.
Through a collaboration with the local Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, the exhibit also features memorial projects by students in the Model UN Club at West Forsyth High School and the Social Injustice: The Holocaust and Modern Day Genocide class at Mount Tabor High School.
The Museum will present two public programs in conjunction with the exhibit. On Saturday, February 10, at 2:00pm, Dr. Laurence Sherr, Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Kennesaw State University, will present a lecture entitled “Suppressed Music and Art during the Nazi Era.” He will discuss how, as part of their effort to exterminate the Jewish people, the Nazis also sought to exterminate their culture. Dr. Sherr will provide an overview of the artistic suppression that extended to genres, groups or individuals that were deemed to be undesirable, the labeling of composers and artists as entartete” (degenerate), and the rewriting of music history during the Nazi Era.
On Sunday, February 11, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, a performance entitled “Words, Music, Memory: Songs Commemorating the Holocaust” will be held in Brendle Recital Hall, located in the Scales Fine Arts Center on the Wake Forest campus. Focusing on music based on the words of young people who witnessed the Holocaust—many of whom did not survive—the performance uses the power of music to bridge generations in active commemoration. The performance will feature Dr. Sheena Ramirez (soprano), Dr. Courtney Miller (oboe/English Horn), and Dr. Suzanne Polak (piano) with commentary from Adina Langer (Curator, Kennesaw State University Museum of History and Holocaust Education) and Dr. Sherr (Composer). A reception in the lobby will follow the performance. Admission is free.
These programs and the exhibit are sponsored by the Wake Forest University Interdisciplinary Arts Center.