Belle Mehus Auditorium to Feature Performances of ‘Defiant Requiem’

By David Salazar

The Belle Mehus Auditorium in Bismarck, North Dakota is set to present the “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín” on Oct. 20 and 21, 2023.

The concert-drama, which commemorates Jewish prisoners of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during World War II, will feature a performance of Verdi’s Requiem” interspersed with historic film and testimony from survivors. It showcases the Bismark-Mandan Symphony Orchestra under conductor and creator Murry Sidlin.

Soloists include Korliss Uecker, Tammy Hensrud, Emerson Eads, and Jason Thoms. There will also be performances by pianist Arlene Shrut, violinist Maureen Murchie, and cellist Abbie Eads. Narrators include Dan Bielinski and Beverley Everett.

“We live in an era when we need to be reminded of the extraordinary volume of unspeakable inhuman behavior we have observed in the past and continue to experience throughout the world. The best lessons against inhumanity are learned from those who chose art and human dignity as defense and defiance,” Sidlin sad in an official press statement.  “We present those lessons through a performance of ‘Defiant Requiem’ wherever we are invited. Thanks to music director Beverly Everett, we very much look forward to coming to Bismarck, our 54th performance, internationally.”

“It is such a powerful and important piece. Human beings, in the most desperate and degrading conditions imaginable, still wanting and needing art in their lives is a powerful statement. We often talk about the power of music, but to hear the prisoners who were part of the performances say that it literally saved their life at the lowest point in their life is the most amazing testament to the power of music that I have ever heard. It is also important to remember the number of people who witnessed the holocaust first hand diminishes every year, and we have to keep the memory of the holocaust alive, to ensure nothing like it can ever happen again,” added Mike Gardner, executive director of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra.