On March 10, 2019, 3:00pm, at South Arm United Church, the Richmond Orchestra and Chorus Association (ROCA) will be performing “Sing Shalom!”, a concert devoted to Jewish music.
As a ROCA chorus member, this concert has special personal significance for me.
For most of my adult life, I did not know that I was Jewish.
In my maternal line are three generations of Ukrainian/Polish Jews who chose to be Canadians, beginning with my great-grandparents who fled pogroms and other forms of persecution in Eastern Europe for the hope of survival in a new land.
Still terrified in the new country that seemed so big and strange, they tweaked their Jewish names and successfully lived as “Canadian Jews in hiding” for many years – until, as a fourth-generation adult in the family, I discovered, by accident, my Jewish background.
I chose to embrace Judaism and was moved by the warm welcome from the Jewish community. Today I live as a Jewish person unafraid to openly attend synagogue services and celebrate religious holidays. I know that this is because Canada has evolved through the years, with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that recognizes and protects the rights of all persons. This is a privilege no one should take for granted.
ROCA is a secular community orchestra and choir composed largely of non-Jewish members, and so its decision to celebrate Jewish music in “Sing Shalom!” is another inspiring sign of my great fortune to be a Canadian.
This concert explores a wealth of Jewish music, from the haunting melodies in Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs” through the magnificence of Aaron Copland’s “In the Beginning” (a telling of the Genesis story of creation) to folk songs in both Hebrew and Yiddish. One of the folk songs, “Oyfn Pripetshik”, is still sung to children in Jewish homes and kindergartens - it is one that years ago my mother and grandmother dared not sing to me. And so, it brings me great joy to feel free to sing it (in my heart for them) together with my friends, in public, as part of the Richmond Orchestra and Chorus.
Enjoy this vivid illumination of Jewish music!
- Heather M.
Sunday, March 10, 2019
3:00PM - 5:30PM
South Arm United Church
11051 Number 3 Road Richmond, BC, V7A 1X3
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Child (under 13): $10.00
Child (under 13): $8.00