SCSU Today

Premiering Holocaust oratorio

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Singers, instrumentalists and faculty soloists from St. Cloud State, Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict, and the St. Cloud State-sponsored Cantabile Girls Choir will present the European premiere of “To Be Certain of the Dawn” to audiences in Germany, France and Switzerland during a cultural exchange tour May 20 to June 4.

The exchange – which will include a performance at Natzweiler-Struthof, a former Nazi concentration camp in France – is the result of collaboration by music departments at the three universities, the St. Cloud State Jewish Studies Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education.

“To Be Certain of the Dawn,” by composer Stephen Paulus and librettist Michael Dennis Browne, was commissioned in 2001 by the Rev. Michael J. O'Connell of the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, to honor Holocaust victims as well as survivors and their descendants. The group that will perform in Europe also will present the oratorio in two free concerts for the Central Minnesota community in April, when the Boys Choir from St. John’s University will join them.

Performers on the exchange tour will participate in a curriculum – guided by the University’s Jewish Studies Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education – that includes visits to churches, mosques, synagogues, museums, universities and the European Union Parliament.

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