Holocaust Memorial Day

10 February 2017


Following on from the success of last year, Stowe marked the International Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January with a beautiful and highly moving event led by Arts at Stowe and the Music Department. The event honoured the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and Old Stoic, the late Sir Nicholas Winton (Grenville 23), who was responsible for saving 669 mainly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. The theme of this year’s event was ‘How can life go on?’, a broad and open-ended question to which there are few answers in the face of such barbarity.

As Deborah Howe (Arts at Stowe) so aptly conveyed on the evening, it is important that we bear witness to the unprecedented atrocities that took place during the Second World War and we all have a responsibility to keep the memories alive and to educate future generations. In an attempt to answer the question posed by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Stoics and staff recited poetry, performed music and gave readings to help preserve the memories of the victims of the Holocaust through the arts. Rachel Sherry (Head of Vocal Studies) worked fantastically with the singers, who performed works deemed as Entartete (degenerate) by the Nazi regime. These included songs by Jewish composers such as Mahler and Mendelssohn.

The beauty of the music performed on the evening was a clear demonstration that such high art is not bound to man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man; it has the ability to outlive and transcend any such vulgar labels. I would like to thank the following Stoics for their outstanding contribution to the evening: Reaoboka Ramakoalibane, Tallulah Goldsmith, Emilia Pacia, Peter Entwisle, Alexander Gabison, Olivia Omotajo, Oscar Hill, Charlotte Brennan, Isobel Hopkins, Helena Nuttall, Emily Wilson, Audrey Au, Evgeniia Zen, Mali Aitchison, Rosia Li, Lewis Bell, Emily Banks, Imogen Oliver, Georgina Vallings and Oliver Seddon. I would also like to thank Deborah Howe for her inspiring work with the children and liaison with the English and Art History departments, Chris Windass for his fantastic work with the String quartet and also Rachel Sherry, for coaching the singers and giving a wonderful solo performance herself. Thank you also to Jack Palmer and Elizabeth Chubb for their inspiring presentations.

The evening featured special guest appearances by fortepianist Sylvia Berry and Baroque cellist Juliana Soltis and we are very grateful for their contribution on the evening and in the lead up to it. I composed a violin and piano arrangement of ‘Hatikvah’ (the hope) especially for the evening and it can be heard here being performed by Audrey Au.

Ben Andrew, Head of Keyboard