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Moravian College Women’s Chorus presents “Song of Survival” – April 15

Bethlehem, Pa., March 28, 2007—The Moravian College Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Eduardo Azzati, will perform “Song of Survival” on Sunday, April 15, at 4:00 p.m. in Peter Hall located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus in historic Bethlehem. Azzati will present a pre-concert lecture to explain the history of the musical program to be performed, and Antoinette Colijn Mayer, will offer a few remarks about vocal orchestra prior to the performance.

The concert will continue the Music in Time of War theme highlighted by the music department during the spring. The program for Sunday’s concert was inspired by music arranged for a capella voices by Norah Chambers and Margaret Dryburgh while interned in a Japanese POW camp in Sumatra during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies between 1942 and 1945.  From their memories of instrumental pieces they composed arrangements for a four-part women’s chorus, and called this chorus a vocal orchestra.  The 30 member chorus rehearsed and performed under the direction of Chambers until early 1945. By that time, because of the camp’s substandard living conditions, half of the women had died, including Dryburgh.

 Antoinette Colijn Mayer, was a member of the women prisoner’s vocal orchestra, and a survivor of the prison camp.  She copied music (parts) for the other members of the vocal chorus in the camp, and later donated some of these manuscripts to Stanford University for preservation.  Her sister, Helen Colijn, wrote the book “Song of Survival:  Women Interned,” which was the basis for the film Paradise Road.      

Admission to the concert is $5.  Peter Hall is located in the Hurd Complex at the corner of Main and Church Streets in Bethlehem.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.