Program honors Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan. 30
By Deb Silverthorn
“One singular sensation” — the opening lyrics to Marvin Hamlisch’s “One,” from “A Chorus Line” — is a perfect intro to Mark Kreditor and his presentation of “The Music That Was Saved.” The program, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, at The Legacy Midtown North.
Many of the musicians of our time have family members who were from Eastern Europe, some of them survivors of the Holocaust, Kreditor explained, including Marvin Hamlisch, Kurt Weill, Billy Joel, Gene Simmons and Max Steiner.
The influence survivors had on their children, who became rock ‘n’ roll stars, was profound. Joel, born William Martin Joel, who grew up in Kreditor’s neighborhood and whose father survived and insisted his son study classical piano; Simmons, born Chaim Witz; “Rush” band founder Geddy Lee, born Gary Weinrib, are all featured in Kreditor’s program. So many of their families were lost during World War II, but their lives and those of the generations that follow are a gift.
The stories of these, and many others, are told by Kreditor so that attendees walk away both singing and educated.
The evening at The Legacy Midtown Park brings Kreditor’s intentional research, and emotional connection, for the songwriters, musicians and their family members who survived the Holocaust and created much popular music. Attendees will also share in a sing-along of several of the songs that Kreditor shares.
“While we celebrate ‘The Music That Was Saved,’ that of the greatest artists of our time who survived, we absolutely pay tribute and remember in our hearts those who were murdered,” said Kreditor. “I hurt when I think those who were regarded as the future of music who were lost. For them, and for what they would have created, there was no future.”
“The Music That Was Saved” is a curriculum and program created by Kreditor at the request of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum (DHRMM) to share at its Oct. 6, 2022, Charter Member Appreciation Event.
“Mark’s knowledge and creativity are so impressive. The program he created for us, and now to share further into the community, about the music that survived the Holocaust is poignant, impactful and also uplifting,” said Mary Pat Higgins, DHHRM president and CEO.
“I’ve enjoyed many of Mark’s educational events and this is one of his best ever,” Higgins said of the program dedicated to those who survived by chance. “His charisma brings history to life,” Higgins added.
The music Kreditor shares is of the generations who hid, who rode on the underside of a bus going toward the Theresienstadt camp and who made it out by chance — allowing their lives, and their talents, to live on forever.
“We have to celebrate this music. We thank G-d these people were able to hold on, to get out, while always remembering the millions who could not,” said Kreditor. During the program he plays piano and conducts the film and musical clips he includes in the hour-long presentation.
Kreditor has partnered with the Aaron Family JCC to bring numerous programs to the community; in the last 18 months many have been hosted at The Legacy Midtown Park.
“Mark brings so much to our residents, and we’re thrilled to open our doors to the greater community to share his love, his spirit and knowledge,” said Kathryn Harp, Legacy Midtown Park’s lifestyles director. “He is so much fun, he’s filled with such intention to share and every time he’s here our seats are filled with people laughing, clapping and singing along. He’s very special.”
Kreditor’s program is an ode to so many heard on Broadway, the hits on the radio and the songs in our heart.
“We know all the songs, the music, the lyrics, all of it,” said Rachelle Weiss Crane, the J’s director of Israel engagement and Jewish living. “Every program he’s created for us to share is something we both learn from and feel already connected to. He touches our souls and there’s no better way to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
For more details and to RSVP for the Jan. 30 program, visit jccdallas.org/event/the-music-that-was-saved.