“Songs from the Camps” presented at First Presbyterian Church
An acclaimed work that evokes the pain, loss and survival spirit of the Holocaust will be presented as the spring program for the Kirkwood Community College Concert Chorale. The Songs from the Camps cantata will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on May 1 at First Presbyterian Church, 3rd Avenue and Fifth Street SE in Cedar Rapids.
The cantata is directed by Kirkwood Vocal Music Director Ray Salucka, with accompaniment by pianist Jan Cuffel and cellist Laura Shaw. Salucka calls the work “haunting and beautiful” and explained its creation and history.
“Songs from the Camps premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, DC in 1998. After the final sound was heard in that great hall, one audience member described it as a ‘moment of crystalline silence.’ We hope to capture that spirit and let people in Iowa understand the depth of loss the world suffered through the Holocaust,” he said.
The cantata is based on the works of Alexander Kulisiewicz, a musician and survivor of the Sachsenhausen internment camp near Berlin. Following his rescue, Kulisiewicz was confined to a hospital in Krakow, Poland for months. During his recuperation he dictated to his nurses more than 700 pages of poems and songs he had committed to memory. Later composers and musicians discovered Kulisiewicz’s work and brought it to completion for a new generation. Lead composer Donald McCullough said he hoped Songs from the Camps would “transform statistics into people in the minds of the cantata listeners.”
Tickets for the May 1 performance by the Kirkwood Concert Chorale are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students with current ID. Kirkwood faculty, staff and students are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available through the Kirkwood Student Life office, (319) 398-5578.