The Flint Institute of Music (FIM) joins the Flint Jewish Federation for Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on Thursday, April 8 for a virtual concert as part of the Music Around Town series. It will be broadcast on FIM’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. on April 8 as part of the international commemoration day.
The concert features a candlelight ceremony with Holocaust survivors and their families and music by world-renowned artist and ethnographer Yale Strom, including Strom’s composition In Memory Of. Strom was inspired to write In Memory Of after finding a box of old “seforim” – Jewish religious books – in an abandoned synagogue in Northwestern Romania.
"I was there for another program as a musician and artist scholar. On my day off, I found the abandoned synagogue and was curious about it. Upstairs I found all these old Jewish books, and I recognized them as prayer books. I took them to the city archivists, and they were shocked. I told them I only have one request, to make me a copy."
Strom returned home and wrote the string quartet In Memory Of based on the material he found in the synagogue.
"Music transcends that specific piece of time in history. I hope In Memory Of will inspire listeners to close their eyes and hear the music and relate to what they hear. If it relates to them, then I feel I've done my job."
The first movement depicts everyday Jewish life in a small town. The second movement depicts the dark clouds of danger soon to set upon the Jewish community of Carei. The third movement depicts life's variations in the Jewish ghetto in Carei, the challenge and courage of Jews still celebrating one's Jewish identity under the Nazi/Hungarian occupation. The fourth movement depicts the deportation and eventual deaths of the Jewish community of Carei in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
FSO musicians performing In Memory Of include: Violin I: Daniel Winnick; Violin II: Joseph Deller; Viola: Janine Bradbury and Cello: Julia Ford Edwards.
Strom has also directed nine award-winning documentary films, written 13 books, and two audio dramas. The latest audio drama is "Debs in Canton," starring Phil Proctor. Strom's newest book (number 14) was just published. It is a children's illustrated book published in English, Yiddish, and Swedish, called Shloyml Boyml's and His Lucky Dreydl. His latest documentary film is "American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs." Currently, Strom is developing a musical about the life of artist Marc Chagall with the San Diego Repertory Theatre.
Strom is currently an artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University, a position created for him in 2006. Before this, he taught at New York University.