A white supremacist is accused of shooting and killing three people Sunday at a Jewish Community Center and nearby retirement complex near Kansas City. Almost daily, news wires report ethnic violence in Africa.
The Holocaust is still happening in events all around us, said Robert Nance, president and artistic director of the local Heartland Chamber Chorale choral group.
He and Heartland will encourage people to recall the past and to hope for change in the future as they present a “Let us Remember” concert at 4 p.m. April 27 at Congregation Achduth Vesholom, 5200 Old Mill Road. The approximately one-hour concert, which coincides with Yom Hashoah, the national day of remembrance, will be followed by a dinner.
A local Yom Hashoah service will take place at 7 p.m. April 28, also at Congregation Achduth Vesholom.
Nance said people need to be aware when someone's actions and intentions recall the horrors of the Holocaust. Nazi Germany persecuted and murdered about 6 million Jews and a number of other minorities during World War II.
“It is possible to be caught up in that and to have that evil streak take over your life,” he said. Whenever that happens, people need to confront the person and say he or she is wrong.
Nance and Heartland have been involved in presenting local Yom Hashoah events for at least 10 years.
In some years, Heartland has performed at the community Yom Hashoah service, he said. In other years, Heartland has presented a concert on its own.
It is fitting to remember Holocaust victims through music, Nance said.
Music and writing were the two major ways people interned in Nazi death camps coped with the horrors they saw going on around them, said Nance, who has been professional choir director and keyboardist at Congregation Achduth Vesholom for 14 years. He also serves as music director at Plymouth Congregational Church.
Death camp victims' music and letters leave a very moving account of their experience, Nance said.
At the April 27 concert, excerpts from a few victims' letters will be read as part of Heartland's performance of “The Holocaust Cantata,” by Don McCullough.
“You really do get a sense of what it was like to be interned in a camp and how people managed themselves,” Nance said.
The concert will end with a musical message of hope, which Nance also views as a call to people to make the world a better place.