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Students learn about the Holocaust through Arts program

Jan 31, 2017

The music was so happy and lively it looked as if the clarinet Gene Kavadlo was playing would have twirled away had his hands not held it close, each finger pairing off with a key for its own individual dance on the instrument.
Called Klezmer music, it's hard to believe the playful tunes common in Jewish communities during the 1930's and '40's were once banned because they were considered entartete, or degenerate music by the Nazis. 
Last week, Klezmer music filled the Harold E. Winkler Middle School auditorium when a quartet of Charlotte Symphony musicians, including Principal Clarinetist Kavadlo, presented Music and the Holocaust, a program to educate seventh graders on the treatment of Jewish music during the Holocaust.
"The music we played for you was folk music, called Klezmer," said Kavaldo to an audience of 12 and 13 year olds. "It was forbidden music at one time to play or listen to because it was part of the Jewish culture."
Brought to Kannapolis City and Cabarrus County middle schools through the Cabarrus Arts Council's Students Take Part in the Arts program, Music and the Holocaust is a joint project created by the Charlotte Symphony and the UNC Charlotte College of Arts and Architecture that uses a narrator and slides to tell the story of Jewish music during the Holocaust. 
"We don't want to forget the awful things that happened in our history," said Chris Stonnell, Director of Education for the Charlotte Symphony.  "There are many ways to remember what happened. One of them is through music."
It can be difficult for middle schoolers to imagine a time when certain kinds of music were prohibited.  Not only was Jewish music banned, but many other non-Aryan styles were prohibited as well. Bands could not have saxophones. Trumpets could not use mutes. Even the syncopation fell under strict rules.
"Programs like these really help tie it together with the time," said Lewis Hoban, a teacher at Winkler, who believes programs like these reinforce history lessons learned in the classroom.
Eight middle schools in the two districts have already seen the performance of Music and the Holocaust Harold E. Winkler, C.C. Griffin, Kannapolis, Concord, Mt. Pleasant, Hickory Ridge, Northwest Cabarrus middle schools, and J.N. Fries Magnet School   thanks to the  generosity of sponsors Carolinas HealthCare System, Concord Printing, Duke Energy, Embassy Suites Charlotte-Concord, Great Wolf Lodge, NC Arts Council, Independent Tribune, S&D Coffee and Tea, Technologies Edge, Wells Fargo, Cabarrus County CVB, Fifth Third Bank, F&M Bank, Hilton Garden Inn, Cabarrus County, City of Concord, City of Kannapolis, Town of Harrisburg, Town of Midland, Town of Mount Pleasant, and a partnership with Cabarrus County Schools and Kannapolis City Schools.
Harris Road Middle School seventh graders will watch the program on February 10.