Down Home – The Cantata

The cantata is an original musical score by composer Alejandro Rutty, professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  It features historic audio recordings from Jewish Heritage North Carolina’s archives. Commissioned by Eric Meyers, with the sponsorship of the Bernice and Morton Lerner Endowment in Judaic Studies at Duke University, the cantata brings to life authentic voices of Jewish North Carolinians as recorded by Jewish Heritage North Carolina for its Down Home Project.  The voices tell poignant stories of immigration, settlement in a strange new land, escaping Nazi Germany, and discovering Jewish roots as well as prayerful melodies taken from the Jewish liturgy.

The World Premiere was performed in 2011 at the Goodson Chapel in the Divinity School at Duke University by the Triangle Jewish Chorale, directed by Lorena Guillén, accompanied by soloists and an orchestra.   It has since been performed in Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

If you are interested in more information regarding the Cantata, or in bringing this wonderful performance to your community, please contact us at 919-660-3504.

Available on Vimeo

Available for online viewing at Vimeo

Goldene Medina

Stories (Pt. 1)

Stories (Pt. 2)

Lecha Dodi

Say You Can


The Letter

Down Home Project - The Cantata
Down Home Project - The Cantata
Down Home Project - The Cantata

Down Home – The Cantata Review

Down Home: The Cantata came to life in this World Premiere performance at the Goodson Chapel in the Divinity School of Duke University. Presented by the Triangle Jewish Chorale, with soloists Caroline Oliveira, soprano, Sarah Zielinski, mezzo-soprano, Kyle Berkley, tenor and Harrison L. Bumgardner, baritone and an ensemble of strings, piano and percussion; all conducted by Lorena Guillén. The concert was in memory of Gershon Kedem.

The cantata begins by telling of those Jews who came from German-speaking lands and eastern European countries seeking the opportunities and freedom they had heard of in glowing terms; they sought to escape the cruel, harsh policies and practices of anti-Semitism in the old country. Men came, worked day in, day out and saved until they could send for wife and children or other family. They came and struggled through hard times and life was better, but the cruel cultural and religious bigotry still lurked behind the workhouse or out in the open.

Sometimes Jewish parents found it expedient to hide their religion. In one of the interviews, this is shared: “I grew up thinking that my family was Christian, but with a bunch of Jewish traditions. On Friday night you light candles. . . It’s in the home.” Some only realized their Jewish heritage as adults.

Read the entire review