“This is the task: in the darkest night to be certain of the dawn, certain of the power to turn a curse into a blessing, agony into a song. To know the monster’s rage and, in spite of it, proclaim to its face; to go through Hell and to continue to trust in the goodness of God — this is the challenge and the way.”  —Rabbi Abraham Joshua Hesche

Last winter Madison got a real musical treat….  and I am telling you about it now in case you ever hear of this work being performed elsewhere – it is a MUST SEE / MUST HEAR event.

To be Certain of the Dawn was commissioned in 2005 by the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis as a gift to Temple Israel Synagogue in commemoration of both the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps and the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II document “Nostra Aetate,” which officially decried anti-Semitism and opened the doors to significant interfaith dialogue. (Straight from my favorite music blog:  The Well Tempered Ear.)

Lee Nelson from Wartburg College conducted the performance which included the Wisconsin Youth Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra; the Madison Youth Choirs (the Britten and Capriccio choirs) and a combined choir of singers from Nebraska Wesleyan, Minnesota State and Wartburg College.  For me the greatest pleasure was having one child in the orchestra and one in the children’s choir, but for the entire audience the appeal is the story and the tremendous emotion you feel for humanity when that final note is played.

Music is a great way to learn history!   What do you think?

Thank you to the North Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association for selecting Madison as the venue for this phenomenally moving performance.  It was a light in the darkness of winter in Wisconsin.