Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings joins communities to explore the perseverance of the human spirit through the arts.

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Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings joins communities to explore the perseverance of the human spirit through the arts.

DETROIT (December 14, 2023)Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings’ latest project invites audiences on an intellectual and artistic exploration centered around the creative outputs resulting from the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide and the African Diaspora. The project, which begins in January 2024, brings together a collection of community partners for a series of musically centered events continuing through February 2024.   

Titled “Perseverance of the Human Spirit,” this project is a collaborative effort between Temple Emanu-El, St. John Armenian Church and Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. Each congregation will rely on its own talent and leadership to share the stories and artistic outputs created by its community. Additional collaborators include the Detroit Opera Resident Artists, the Zekelman Holocaust Center, as well as subject-matter experts from the Western Wayne County NAACP, the Detroit Center for Civil Discourse and the University of Michigan. 

The schedule of events is as follows: 

  • January 14, 2024: As part of a closed event, students from Temple Emanu-El’s Yachad Religious School will create art sets centered around the topic of “perseverance of the human spirit.” These sets will be displayed on the stage during the February 10 concert performance at Temple Emanu-El (14450 W 10 Mile Rd, Oak Park, Mich. 48237). This event is not open to the public. 
  • January 21, 2024, at 4 p.m.: Rubik Malian, music director of St. John Armenian Church (22001 Northwestern Hwy, Southfield, Mich. 48075), takes audiences through an artistic exploration of the life and work of Gomidas Vartabed, a genocide survivor and a pioneer of Armenian musicology. Afterward, patrons are invited for a guided tour of the remarkable collection of Armenian art held at the St. John Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum. 
  • January 25, 2024, at 7 p.m.: Pianist Alvin Waddles leads a multimedia presentation at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church (18700 James Couzens Fwy, Detroit, Mich. 48235). This event focuses on the creative outputs of the Black community, exploring how creativity has become an important vehicle for expression and social justice. 
  • February 4, 2024, at 3 p.m.: University of Michigan Professor of Music Patricia Hall will lead an insightful discussion at Temple Emanu-El about music arranged by Jewish inmates in Auschwitz.  
  • February 10, 2024, at 7:30 p.m.: The “Creativity in the Face of Oppression” concert includes performances of works by Gomidas and Black spirituals. The event, at Temple Emanu-El, culminates with Viktor Ullmann’s one-act opera, “Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Emperor of Atlantis).” 
  • February 18, 2024, at 3 p.m.: The project concludes with a panel discussion and reception at Temple Emanu-El. Panelists include Rabbi Asher Lopatin, who serves as executive director for the Detroit Center for Civil Discourse, Western Wayne County NAACP executive board member Rev. Jean Overman and Very Reverend Fr. Aren Jebejian, the pastor at St. John Armenian Church. The discussion will be moderated by Rabbi Matthew Zerwekh, Temple Emanu-El’s senior rabbi.  

“We are fortunate to work with leaders in our community to bring this project together,” said Maury Okun, DCWS president. “The explorations encompassed in this project are a testament to how the arts play a significant role in community healing and preserving history.” 

The project is centered around the concert on February 10, which, in addition to Ullmann’s opera, will include performances of works by Gomidas and Black spirituals. Aside from the concert, all of the events will be free and open to the public.  

Participants who attend the three public events prior to February 10 will be able to attend the concert without charge.

Tickets to the concert, as well as registration to all additional events, are available at: https://detroitchamberwinds.org/phs/ 

This project is funded in part by an award from the Michigan Arts and Cultural Council.


About Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings 
Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings is an ensemble committed to bringing to life the body of repertoire that utilizes between six and 20 musicians. DCWS musicians are drawn primarily from the Detroit Symphony and Detroit Opera orchestras. Now in its 41st year, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings presents three distinct concert series: the Nightnotes Series, the Signature Series and Structurally Sound. More information at detroitchamberwinds.org. 

About Temple Emanu-El  
Temple Emanu-El was founded in 1952 to meet the growing needs of the Jewish community in Oak Park. With a bolstering Early Childhood Community and a growing Hebrew School, the congregation is committed to Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. Temple Emanu-El is a family of families that works to build a spiritual home for anyone on their Jewish journey. The congregation focuses on prayer, inclusion, learning, social action, cultural engagement, volunteer opportunities, and building community. The goal of Temple Emanu-El is to foster vibrant Judaism inside of the walls, as well as encourage creative services and programming outside of them. 

About Hartford Memorial Baptist Church 
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church celebrates over 106 years of loving God and serving the world community. The church is a committed community of followers of God incarnate and revealed in Jesus Christ. We are striving to grow spiritually through workshop, Bible study, arts and ministry, prayer and meditation. The Rev. Edgar Wendell Edwards served as founding pastor from 1917 to 1920. After, the Church called the Rev. Charles A. Hill Sr., assistant to the Rev. Robert L. Bradley Sr., of Detroit’s historic Second Baptist Church. 

About St. John Armenian Church 
St. John Armenian Church, named in honor of St. John the Baptist & Forerunner of Christ our God, has for 93 years been at the very heart and center of Armenian-American religious and cultural life in Metropolitan Detroit.  Since the beginning, the parish has flourished and also reaches out to the Armenian Orthodox faithful who are scattered throughout the state of Michigan.  Through the efforts of past and present pastors’, sacramental services now have begun in both Lansing and Grand Rapids where new Armenian communities have taken root.