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Juniata Concert Choir Concert Honors Holocaust Memories

(Posted October 31, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The State College Choral Society, the Juniata College Concert Choir, and other local groups will commemorate one of history's greatest crimes as the ensembles sing "Voices of the Holocaust" at Juniata College, at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5 in Rosenberger Auditorium.

Tickets for the event are $5 for adults. Children under age 18 and students at Juniata are admitted free.. The Juniata Concert Choir and the State College Choral Society will be conducted by Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Professor of Music at Juniata College.

"Voices of the Holocaust" uses music and songs written during the Holocaust in Jewish ghettoes and in concentration camps. Composer Sheridan Seyfried arranged 22 songs as a dramatic, five-part cantata.

"Voices of the Holocaust" uses music and songs written during the Holocaust in Jewish ghettoes and in concentration camps. Composer Sheridan Seyfried arranged 22 songs as a dramatic, five-part cantata that seeks to illuminate the human struggle for dignity and address the tragic issues raised by the Holocaust.

Seyfried wrote the 80-minute work as a commission in 2004 for the State College ensemble. The State College Choral Society is a 140-member vocal ensemble that has performed this piece throughout the world. Russell Shelley also has been artistic director of the group since 2000.

Both groups will perform "Voices of the Holocaust" at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, in Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md.

The performances in Huntingdon and Baltimore commemorate not only the Holocaust, but also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nov. 9, 1938 pogrom against Germany's Jewish population. On that "night of broken glass," Nazi storm troopers and German citizens ransacked Jewish synagogues, homes and businesses.

Both the Juniata College and State College Choral Society Choirs will sing as one choir. The Concordia Singers of the Nittany Valley Children's Choir will perform as a complementary choir throughout the concert.

The musical accompaniment for the piece will be provided by the Lyon Family Chamber Ensemble string quartet. Soloists during "Voices of the Holocaust" will be Norene Ferris, soprano; Janice Mianulli, alto; James White, bass; and Richard Kennedy, tenor.

The Juniata Concert Choir is one of three choirs performing at the college. The 50-person choir tours every spring semester, focusing its program on historical sacred music. Juniata choirs have performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The choir also tours internationally almost every year. Past tours have taken the ensemble to Guatemala, China, Mexico, and Brazil.

The State College Choral Society was founded in 1948 as an offshoot of the Women's Club Chorus. The choir celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.