News Release

Southeastern choirs present music of the Holocaust March 25

Contact: Rene Abadie


   HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s premier vocal groups, the Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale, will present “Music of the Holocaust” on Thursday, March 25.
   The free concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Hammond’s First United Methodist Church, 2200 Rue Denise. The choirs will be conducted by Alissa Mercurio Rowe, director of choral activities in the Southeastern Department of Music and Dramatic Arts.
   Rowe said the first half of the program will feature the Concert Choir performing the “Holocaust Cantata.” Assembled by conductor and composer Donald McCullough, who collected the music, readings and poems that spoke to life in the World War II concentration camps, the cantata had its world premier at the Kennedy Center in 1998.
   “Holocaust inmates wrote music while incarcerated, and that music – with its powerful imagery of camp life and expressions of intimate feelings – was passed secretly through aural transmission,” Rowe said. All were originally in Polish, then translated into English and arranged by McCullough. 
   “Holocaust Cantata” will feature as soloists Damian Faul of Amite, baritone; Fiona Allen of Jackson, La., and Whitney Vickers of Ponchatoula. Accompanists include Dragos Filip on cello and Charles Effler on piano.
   The Concert Choir will also perform “Even When God Is Silent,” by Michael Horvit, which will be conducted by student Baylie Stillwell of Mandeville.
   The second half of the concert features the Women’s Chorale performing “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” a collection of nine children’s poems from the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, set for piano and women’s voices.  Composed by Charles Davidson in 1968, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” has been performed more than 2,500 times to regular critical acclaim and is a feature on several commercial recordings. Raisa Voldman will accompany the Women’s Chorale on the piano.
   For additional information, contact Rowe at 985-549-2334 or

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