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South Bend Chamber Singers to perform Holocaust Remembrance concert with libretto based on the diary of Anne Frank

SOUTH BEND, IN—The courage, hopes and fears of Anne Frank form the wording of a full choral piece to be presented by the South Bend Chamber Singers on Sunday, April 23. In the work called Annelies, British poet, author and librettist Melanie Challenger used words from Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl to illustrate the tragic story of just one of millions of Holocaust victims.

The free concert will be heard in South Bend at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 305 West Madison St. The South Bend Chamber Singers are performing it in conjunction with sponsors, the Okon Family Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education at the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley and the Kurt and Tessye Simon Fund for Holocaust Remembrance.

Annelies was composed by James Whitbourn and movements of the work were first performed in London in 2005 at the National UK Holocaust Memorial Day in Westminster Hall. Later Leonard Slatkin directed the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Choral Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and soprano Louise Kateck in the world premiere, also in London.

A final chamber version with instrumental quartet was presented in The Hague, Netherlands in 2009 with Arianna Zukerman, soprano and Daniel Hope, violinist.

This is the adaptation that is to be sung by the South Bend Chamber Singers and will feature soprano Elizabeth Schleicher of South Bend. She is an adjunct voice faculty member at both Saint Mary’s College and Indiana University at South Bend and is vocal coach for the Folk Choir University of Notre Dame.

As a soloist, Schleicher has appeared in roles with the St. Louis Symphony, Union Avenue Opera, Chicago Folks Operetta, the Westerville Symphony and Westerville Concert Band. She has been part of the chorus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Grant Park Music Festival Chorus and as a principal singer with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus.

British composer Whitbourn’s music for this cantata has been described as “woundingly beautiful” by the Daily Telegraph, continuing that the music reflects sounds of the Westerkerk bells and tunes heard on the radio in the Annex and, reflecting as well, representations of Anne Frank’s Jewish and German heritage—details that add to a score ”whose respectful understatement is its greatest strength,” according to The Times of London.

The work takes teenage Anne Frank’s remarkable and penetrating observations, written while hiding in an Amsterdam attic, as the basis for its extraordinary and moving libretto, adds the Daily Telegraph.

Dr. Nancy Menk, Director South Bend Chamber Singers, says, “Anne Frank’s words are always poignant, but the addition of Whitbourn’s stunning music brings them to life and makes them even more impactful. We see Anne’s innocence, along with wisdom beyond her years, as she hides in the attic awaiting her fate.”

“Also are on the program,“ says Menk, who is chair and professor of music at Saint Mary’s college, “are three beautiful Hebrew Psalm settings by Judith Shatin, Wayland Rogers and Kenneth Lampl.” South Bend Chamber Singers, an ensemble-in-residence at Saint Mary’s College, is in its 28th year.

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Concert Sponsors

The Okon Family Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education at the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley.

Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
The Kurt and Tessye Simon Fund for Holocaust Remembrance.

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