KERA radio story:
This Sunday and Wednesday, local politicians and citizens will take the stage at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. They’ll join the 225 member Turtle Creek Chorale in a concert that celebrates freedom and the human spirit. National Public Radio’s Wade Goodwyn will be part of the performance and has this preview of “The Healing Project”:
City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano sometimes tells a story that sheds light on why she became a Dallas public servant. Ninety-five years ago, her grandmother on her father’s side walked all the way from Mexico to Dallas, with her children. Two weeks after settling in, the Medrano family went out to celebrate their new found hometown at a hamburger restaurant. But after sitting down, they were told they could order but they had to leave and get their food out back. Humiliated the Medrano’s left. They never forgot or forgave that experience.
Medrano’s experience and that of six others from Dallas informs the music performed by the Turtle Creek Chorale. Perhaps the most amazing story belongs to Marion Avery. In 1933, Avery was a 6 year old Berliner. Her mother was Christian, her father Jewish. She’d grown up Christian but as the Nazi’s took power, she discovered that didn’t matter.
Medrano: “They suddenly called me Jewish bastard, and I came home and asked my father what does it mean? And he was absolutely horrified.”
In 1937, Marion Avery’s father fled to London. By 1944, her beloved grandmother had been taken to a concentration camp never to be seen again. Avery herself was to be among the 1.5 million children who were incinerated. But on the day she was to leave, the Nazi deportation building in Berlin was obliterated by Allied bombers. Her papers were destroyed, and so Marion Avery was saved to eventually marry an American soldier and move to Dallas.
The music is both international and American, and includes a new work commissioned especially for this concert, Our Better Angels.
Lyrics: “We who would heal the world must first ourselves be healed.”
The idea for the concert came from Turtle Creek Chorale Director Jonathon Palant. As the world churns with conflict between Jews and Arabs, immigrants and natives, gays and straights and economic collapse, Palant thought now might be a good time to take a break.
Palant: “We need to come together as one human race. What matters is that you have love in your heart.”
The production is underwritten by Morton H. Meyerson and will run for Sunday and Wednesday.