The International Summit on Civil and Human Rights features three cultural performances that help illustrate the conference themes, as well as an exhibit that will run the duration of the summit. Each of the artists brings his or her unique perspective on the continuing global struggle for human rights.
Concert: "Remembering the Silenced Voices of Holocaust Song Creators: Weaving Songs of Resistance and Survival into a New Cello Sonata"
October 28, 2015
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Composer: Laurence Sherr, Kennesaw State University Composer-in-Residence, Professor of Music
Compelling stories of the creators of the ghetto, concentration camp, and partisan songs used in a new cello sonata by Sherr, illuminated by live performances of the songs and the sonata. Remembering the contributions of these creators, and of the culture that the Nazis slated for extermination, can help us strive for greater understanding, tolerance, and social justice in contemporary society.
Laurence Sherr is active as a composer of Holocaust remembrance music, lecturer on Holocaust music topics, producer of remembrance events, and Holocaust music educator. He is the son of a survivor. Performances and lectures have been given in the Czech Republic, Germany, England, Israel, New Zealand, and across North America. The poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs is featured in his compositions Fugitive Footsteps for baritone and chorus and Flame Language for baritone/mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra or chamber ensemble. His most recent work, Sonata for Cello and Piano: Mir zaynen do!, features five Holocaust songs of resistance and survival integrated with newly composed music. This composition is intended to connect performers and audiences to the source songs, and to the lives and circumstances of their creators.
Sherr’s 2014 dissemination of this work included: a Keynote Address at the Recovering Forbidden Voices international conference in New Zealand, where his Holocaust works were performed seven times; a paper on his composition Flame Language at the Continuities and Ruptures international conference in Leeds, England, where Fugitive Footsteps was performed; and a lecture at the Jewish Museum in Prague. He led a workshop on teaching music and the Holocaust at the 2012 International Conference on Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and his 2011 Prague Holocaust Remembrance Concert was staged under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy. His 2009 concert and educational activities in Germany, produced in collaboration with the children of the generation who persecuted his mother and her family, led to reconciliation and healing. He developed the global-citizenship course Music and the Holocaust at Kennesaw State University (KSU). Through all of this work, his purpose is to foster greater understanding and tolerance.
Dr. Sherr is Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at KSU. Awards include top prizes in the Delius Composition Contest and the composition competition of the Association for the Promotion of New Music in New York City. International performances of his work have been given in Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan, Canada, and Mexico. He has been awarded fellowships by the MacDowell Colony, the American Dance Festival, and Hot Springs National Park, among others. The Florida State University doctoral treatise Laurence Sherr: Chamber Music for Flute details his contribution, and CDs released by the Ein-Klang label in Europe and by Capstone Records in the U.S. include his compositions. He received the KSU 2015 Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement.
Play: Night Blooms
October 29, 2015
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Playwright: Margaret Baldwin, Kennesaw State University
Director: Karen Robinson, Kennesaw State University
Featuring KSU theatre and performance studies students, faculty, and guest artist Chris Kayser
Set in Selma during the historic voting rights march in 1965, Night Blooms looks at how families face social change. Against the backdrop of the racial tensions of the day, Lucille Stafford and her maid Geneva Willis prepare for Lucille’s annual “blooming party” to view her prized night-blooming cereus. An unexpected guest arrives and changes the lives of two families forever, proving that personal relationships across generations and races are often far more complex than politics. Written by KSU Senior Lecturer Margaret Baldwin and first produced by Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta, Night Blooms is the winner of the 2011 Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award for best new play by an Atlanta playwright. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called it “…an absorbing portrait of a crumbling social structure that articulates multiple points of view while capturing the tentative moral footing of those caught somewhere in- between.” A perfect companion to the film Selma.
Margaret Baldwin’s plays and adapted works have been produced throughout the US and abroad. Her play Night Blooms won the 2011 Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award for its world premiere at Horizon Theatre and was produced at Virginia Rep (2012). Night Blooms has had staged readings throughout the US and in Germany and is the focus of Baldwin’s TEDxAtlanta talk, “The Power of Dialogue.” Her new play Coyote Hour was finalist for the 2015 National Playwrights Conference and an honorable mention for The Kilroy’s 2015 list of best new plays by women playwrights. Her most recent project, The Followers, a contemporary retelling of Euripides’ The Bacchae, is in development through a partnership between 7 Stages Theatre and Kennesaw State University. Margaret serves as a Senior Lecturer and General Education Coordinator in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. She is the recipient of the KSU Foundation’s 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award. She holds has an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and is a member of the Playwright’s Center and the Dramatists Guild.
Karen Robinson serves as Professor and Artistic Director in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University (KSU) where she has taught for sixteen years. She has worked professionally as a director, dramaturg, and/or stage manager in New York, North Carolina, California, and Georgia. Her directing work includes chamber theatre, performance ethnography, contemporary and period classics, and new play development. As an Associate Artist at Georgia Shakespeare, she directed fourteen productions for the company. Recent directing projects include THE COMING OUT MONOLOGUES PROJECT at KSU and MARCUS; OR THE SECRET OF SWEET at Actor's Express in Atlanta. She directed the world premiere of NIGHT BLOOMS for Atlanta's Horizon Theatre Company and a staged reading of the play for Selma, Alabama's commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Marches in March 2015. A passionate advocate for global learning and intercultural art and performance, Karen served as Global Learning Coordinator for KSU’s College of the Arts from 2006-2013.
Her global projects have included tours of student productions to Morocco, China, and Germany. Karen is the recipient of KSU’s 2009 Award for Distinguished Teaching, a 2010 University of Georgia Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2011 KSU Distinguished Professor Award.
Concert: The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble
October 29, 2015
7:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble sings traditional and arranged choral and solo spirituals that have been popularized throughout the twentieth century. Because of the strong musical legacy the spiritual possesses and the horrific conditions under which it “sprang” into existence, it continues to maintain its original haunting quality and its uncanny beauty and dignity.
Film Screening: Granito: How to Nail a Dictator
October 30th, 2015
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Discussion Leaders: Drs. Alan LeBaron and Ernesto Silva, Kennesaw State University
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, and how a documentary film intertwined with a nation’s turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present. In Granito our characters sift for clues buried in archives of mind and place and historical memory, seeking to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Each of the five main characters whose destinies collide in Granito are connected by Guatemala’s past. In 1982, Guatemala was engulfed in an armed conflict during which a genocidal “scorched earth” campaign by the military killed nearly 200,000 Maya people including 45,000 disappeared. Now, as if a watchful Maya god were weaving back together threads of a story unraveled by the passage of time, forgotten by most, our characters become integral to the overarching narrative of wrongs done and justice sought that they have pieced together, each adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale.
Exhibit: "Opening Doors, Outing History
October 28th - 30th, 2015
Developed by Jessica Duvall, Assistant Director, LGBTIQ Student Retention Services, Kennesaw State University
A history exhibit that attempts to queer the idea of public history by utilizing the symbolic importance of the closet within LGBTQ communities and fusing it with conversation of public history and communal knowledge. Discussion of LGBTQ histories are often infrequent and never complete, but this project seeks to engage these discussions in public and to inform those who may otherwise not encounter it. Focusing on the past 65 years, ‘Opening Doors, Outing History’ is a starting point to what will hopefully be a continued conversation on how to make visible and incorporate facets of LGBTQ history and experience into everyday conversation and relevance.