My name is Lily Arbisser, and I am a volunteer helping to promote a concert
taking place on March 28th at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine called
“Music in Desperate Times: Remembering the Women’s Orchestra of Birkenau.”
Ars Choralis, an amateur first-rate community chorus/orchestra from
Woodstock, NY, has created this concert that combines the music of the
Birkenau Women’s Orchestra, readings from the women’s diaries, and choral
works of peace and resistance. They researched what instruments were used
(guitars, mandolins, violins, flutes, recorders, etc) and what composers
were played (Chopin, Schumann, Beethovan, etc). Despite the non-traditional
instruments, the Birkenau orchestra created beautiful music . Had they not,
they would have been killed. The power of the music; the conflict of having
to play for the pleasure of the SS; the fact that every woman in the
orchestra, except the conductor, managed to survive one of the worst death
camps in history makes this an amazing concert.

In April Ars Choralis will be traveling to Germany where they were invited
to perform at the Heilig Kreuz church in Berlin and at the former