News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 25, 2014

Sound of Anne Frank’s legacy

‘Annelies’ choral concert to commemorate victims of Nazi occupation

TERRE HAUTE — A choral performance on Sunday afternoon in Terre Haute will bring to life the angst of survival and betrayal documented by the diary of young Jewish girl during the 1940s in Amsterdam.

The concert “Annelies” is timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, which begins at sundown Sunday and ends Monday evening. The Bloomington Chamber Singers, in collaboration with CANDLES Holocaust Museum, will present “Annelies” at 4 p.m. Sunday at the  synagogue of the United Hebrew Congregation of Terre Haute.

The concert composed by James Whitbourn is based on the diary written by Anne Frank from 1942 to 1944. Beginning with the Frank family’s plan to go into hiding to avoid the Nazi regime overtaking Europe, the concert is a series of vignettes that ends with the family’s capture and transfer to a concentration camp.

“The diary is all about reaffirming life in the face of evil,” said Scott Skillman, president of the congregation, explaining that reaffirming life is the reason to commemorate the Holocaust. The congregation was also eager to work with CANDLES to co-host the event, he said.

“We have a larger facility than the museum, and acoustically, we have a great space as well,” Skillman said, encouraging the public to attend the free performance by the acclaimed musical ensemble. “I am very excited about the program,” Scott Skillman told the Tribune-Star. “As president of the congregation, I make sure we have programs we can offer not just to the congregation, but to the community at large.”

“Annelies” is the first adaptation of the diary of Annelies Marie Frank into a large-scale choral work. The 65-minute work features a series of vignettes of various stages of the girl’s life.

Bloomington Chamber Singers is an organization for amateur singers to perform major choral works and to hone their craft under the guidance of a professional conductor. It began in 1970 as an ensemble and has steadily grown into one of the leading choral ensembles in the region. The artistic director since 1990 has been Gerald Sousa, who is director of music at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Bloomington.

Soprano soloist Elizabeth Toy is a doctoral student at Indiana University. She is the most recent winner of the Kentucky Bach Choir Vocal Competition, and is music director at Stages Bloomington Youth Theater company, and performs with Roundabout Opera for Kids.

While Toy sings the role of Anne, the role of the chorus constantly shifts throughout the work as Anne’s own levels of consciousness undergo transformation over time. The work is accompanied by four solo chamber players on clarinet, violin, cello and piano.

Sunday’s concert is the first time BCS has performed in Terre Haute.

“We’re so fortunate to be invited to Terre Haute by the United Hebrew Congregation, so that we can continue our collaboration with the CANDLES museum to present this beautiful music and remind ourselves of this important story,” said BCS board president Kathy Allen.

The synagogue is located at 540 S. Sixth St. in Terre Haute.

More details about the performance is available on the museum website at

Meanwhile, CANDLES Museum will also host the final program of its 2013-14 film and speakers series at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The film “Nicky’s Family” will tell the story of Sir Nicholas Winton, known by many as the “British Schindler,” who organized the rescue of 669 children from Prague just before the outbreak of World War II. The film will be followed by a discussion and a question and answer session led by one of Sir Nicky's surviving “children,” Dr. Renata Laxova, who escaped Prague for England on one of Winton’s Kindertransport trains at midnight on July 31, 1939.

Admission to the movie and program is also free and open to the public.

The CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center is located at 1532 S. Third St. in Terre Haute.

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