It has been a year since I last posted about community choir (popular post Lights, Action, Camera -- Paris Texas Style ) and here we are again.  This year's concert, this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. is going to be a delight to music lovers, and it has had some surprises for me, too.

You'll have to come to find out the fun surprise, (just remember, the Paris Community Choir is production of the Paris Community Theatre, so yes we do know how to be a little dramatic) but another surprise for me is the parallel that some of the music is having in my life.  I love all of the music in its very varied forms, but one song that has been a surprise for me is:

 Erev Shel Shoshanim -- "Evening of Roses."  It is a Hebrew love song, and if you hear it you will want to know what it means.  Here is a picture of the translation on our music:

You need to know this, because when you hear the  music you will think it is a lament, and I guess, being Hebrew, it is a lament, but a lovely, loving lament.  I have been reading a couple of books about World War II and when I read them, I can't get this song out of my mind.

First, I am reading "Number the Stars" for my adopted 2nd grade class through the Lamar County Coalition of Education, Industry and Business "Reading to the Future."  Here is a picture of us when we were reading "Because of Winne Dixie."

Number the StarsNow, you might think that a class that LOVED Winne Dixie would have a hard time with "Number the Stars."  And they did, at first.  But that book is loved for a reason and is one of my daughter's favorite books, so we hung in there and on Tuesday when I was reading to them you could have heard a pin drop.

Here is the publisher's premise:

"Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated," Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life."

This book is a love story about family, friendship, and the ultimate bravery in the face of evil that I still can't understand.

I also picked up another book about World War II, Jodi Picoult's new book:  The Storyteller.  

The Storyteller  The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book about a girl who is atheist with a Jewish heritage, including a grandmother who survived the Holocaust; she is scarred physically and emotionally by the car wreck that killed her mother.  At grief group and through her job as a baker -- three years later -- she meets and befriends an older man, a grandfather figure. After they become friends, he drops a bomb shell:  He was an SS Officer (a Nazi) and he wants her to help him die because he doesn't deserve to live, but first he wants her to forgive him of his sins.  What would you do?   

I could not put this book down late Friday night and that hasn't happened in a long time.  But I got to a part in it that I had to finish, so I just kept reading.  At first, I was afraid I was going to be disappointed in the writing (following The Great Gatsby), but then the literary twists began to pile up, and there were a good number of parables built into each twist.  Also, Picoult is not afraid to go for the reality of life in her books, which makes the book more meaningful in the end.  I definitely suggest this book for a summer read.  (Yes, working on a summer reads article, if you know of one you want to suggest let me know!)

WWII books have always been a love of mine.  I always think:  If I just read one more book, maybe I will understand.  Of course, I know that isn't true but it never hurts to try. Here are a couple of quotes from the book:

"History isn't about dates and places and wars. It's about the people who fill the spaces between them."

* * * 

“What is the point of trying to put down on paper emotions that are too complex, too huge, too overwhelming to be confined by an alphabet?

Love isn't the only word that fails.

Hate does, too.”  

* * * 

While reading this book, I also had Erev Shel Shoshanim running through my mind, over and over.   I was glad that there was a temple scene replete with the music, validating my mental accompaniment.  Here is part of the chorus, pictured above:

Night falls slowly

And the wind of roses is blowing

Let me whisper you a song, secretly

A song of love

* * * 

Lovely, isn't it!  Hope you'll come to the concert and experience some culture, some fun, some music, some love.  

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