Local songwriter puts Holocaust survivors’ story to music in PBS special
VERMONT - Witness the healing powers of music and friendship as Holocaust survivors share their stories with songwriters. “We Remember: Songs of Survivors” will premiere the week of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Tuesday, April 26, at 8 pm ET on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS Video app.
The hour-long documentary follows four working singer-songwriters - Bellows Falls’ Michael Veitch, Elizabeth Cook, Kelleigh McKenzie, and Jude Roberts - hired by the community arts organization SageArts in New York’s Hudson Valley. Through a program offered by Jewish Family Service of Orange County, they visit local Holocaust survivors to create original songs based on their conversations. The film documents the relationships that develop and the songwriting process over many months, culminating in an emotional live concert where the survivors and songwriters are celebrated by friends, family, and the community.
In-depth interviews with the survivors and access to rare personal archives lead to revealing stories, many of which have been deeply buried in their memories for decades. At the same time, the songwriters create video diaries to document their own thoughts and feelings about the experience of telling a Holocaust survivor’s story through song.
Produced by Tim Miller and Ilene Cutler, “We Remember: Songs of Survivors” was written and edited by Timothy Guetterman. It will be available for streaming, concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, until Tuesday, May 24, and then in the fall.
Find out about the three collaborative concerts used in the documentary that were performed by the musicians and survivors at sagearts.org/events. For more information visit www.weremembersongsofsurvivors.com and facebook.com/weremembersongsofsurvivors.