April 18, 2023 @ 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
The Friedman JCC

Save the Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 7:30 pm



Holocaust Remembrance Concert

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 7:30PM
Friedman Jewish Community Center

Arcadia Chorale
Piece Performed: Holocaust Cantata composed by Donald McCullough

After a year of research looking through the Aleksander Kulisiewicz Collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C, Mr. Donald McCullough composed the Holocaust Cantata. The melodies and text of the piece are from primary resources. The material was written by Jews while imprisoned in NAZI concentration camps during World War II. Kulisiewicz traveled through Europe during the postwar period collecting and preserving what he could of the music that had emerged from the concentration camps. The text of all the movements and readings were originally written in Polish. The English lyrics and readings were translated with great care and sensitivity by Denny Clark. The cantata has no overall story that is introduced and developed. It is a work that each song and reading represents a single life in a different time and space during the Holocaust. Holocaust Cantata was premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on March 17, 1998 with the Master Chorale of Washington under the direction of Donald McCullough. The piece is highly provocative and extremely moving while demonstrating the incredible strength and resiliency of the Jewish people.

The Holocaust Cantata has thirteen movements. In between each choral piece is a reading from the camps. The work is scored for SATB choir, baritone, soprano, and mezzo soprano soloists, cello, and piano.

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A haunting choral tribute to the six million Jews who were systematically persecuted and murdered.

Based on primary sources studied in the Aleksander Kulisiewicz Collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Donald McCullough composed the Holocaust Cantata (Songs from the Camps) in 1998. The cantata, sung in English and performed by the Arcadia Chorale, is a provocative and highly charged emotional work, challenging its listeners to hear the silenced voices of the prisoners from the Nazi concentration camps.


About the Chorale

The Arcadia Chorale, formerly known as the Robert Dale Chorale, is one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s premier musical performing groups. The organization was founded in 1978 by Robert Dale Herrema while he was Director of Choral and Orchestral Activities at Marywood University in Scranton, PA. For the past forty-two years, the last six under its new name of Arcadia Chorale, the Chorale has served the region with choral performances of the highest quality. The Chorale has also been associated with two long-standing local traditions: the annual Messiah Sing-Along and the annual NEPA Bach Festival.

The Messiah Sing-Along was begun in 1984 as a joint project between the Chorale and WVIA-FM. The public was invited to join with the Chorale and a professional orchestra to perform Handel’s Messiah, one of the great masterworks of choral music. Soloists from the Chorale sang the solo movements, and the audience sang along with Handel’s great choruses. WVIA-FM recorded the performance and broadcast it on Christmas Eve. The entire event proved so popular that the Chorale and WVIA-FM have teamed up every year since to continue the tradition.

In 1985 the Chorale presented a performance of J. S. Bach’s B Minor Mass in celebration of Bach’s 300th birthday. Inspired by the success of this performance, the Chorale decided the following season to expand what had been an annual Bach concert into a full-blown Bach Festival. The first NEPA Bach Festival, held in March 1986 just before Bach’s 301st birthday, featured not only a performance of choral works by Bach, but also a concert of his chamber music and another of his organ works. This event, too, was so successful that it has continued in its three-concert format up to the present day.

In addition to these two long-standing traditions, Arcadia Chorale’s concert seasons include a fall concert, a Christmas concert, and a Pops concert in conjunction with the Doug Smith Jazz Trio. These programs have run the gamut, with choral music of all types, periods and genres, from medieval Gregorian chant to newly commissioned works. The Chorale also sponsors an annual Pasta Dinner fundraiser at which the singers both serve up pasta and entertain the diners.

In 2004, the Robert Dale Chorale found itself at a crossroads. Founding music director Robert Dale Herrema had announced his intention to retire, and the organization made the decision to continue with a new director. After an intensive search process, the Chorale hired Dr. Steven Thomas, then Director of Choral Activities at Wilkes University, to succeed Mr. Herrema. In an effort to move forward in the region as an established professional chamber choir, the group changed its name to Arcadia Chorale in 2014, Dr. Thomas’ 10th anniversary season as its director.

Under Dr. Thomas’ musical leadership, the Arcadia Chorale has continued the tradition of choral excellence initially established by Mr. Herrema. Dr. Thomas has built a reputation for creative programming, often using a unifying theme as a common thread to bind together an intriguing variety of music. He has also programmed a series of Christmas “journeys,” exploring the musical traditions of Eastern Europe, Spain and Central America, as well as the British Isles. The Chorale made their first CD recording in 2006, released as Christmas in the British Isles. The continued growth and success of Arcadia Chorale has begun to attract attention from outside the region, most notably by an invitation to perform in Philadelphia at the 2010 Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association.

Matthew Rupcich was appointed Arcadia Chorale’s Music Director at the start of the 2021–2022 season, after having served as Interim Music Director for the previous two seasons. Matthew has guided the Chorale through a new choral landscape by overseeing three innovative virtual performances during the pandemic, while upholding the highest standards of musical excellence with the ensemble.


About the Composer

An active teacher and performing artist, Matthew Rupcich, leads multiple ensembles in the northeast. In addition to serving as Arcadia Chorale’s Music Director, he is the interim choral instructor at Wilkes University conducting the Chorus and Chamber Singers and he is the conductor of Misericordia University’s Community Choir in Dallas, PA. Elsewhere in the region, he is music director at First Presbyterian Church (Hawley, PA), conductor of the Tri-State Chorale (Milford, PA), and music director of the Delaware Valley Opera Company (Narrowsburg, NY).

From 2006 to 2016, Matthew taught as an adjunct instructor of choral music at Hunter College (CUNY), where he was responsible for conducting large choral works. He also served as the conductor and choral director for the Blue Hill Troupe from 2005 to 2012, conducting both Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and mainstream musicals. Matthew has conducted at West Point, the Buxton Opera House (United Kingdom), and in several prestigious venues in New York, including the Teatro Del Barrio, Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theater, the Metropolitan Museum, and Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

Matthew received the M.M. in choral conducting from the University of Maryland, and the B.M. in music education from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with world-renowned soprano, Phyllis Bryn-Julson. As an adolescent, Matthew attended Interlochen’s National Music Camp for two years. At the age of 18, he became the youngest person ever admitted as a baritone to the Chicago Symphony Chorus under the direction of Margaret Hillis. As a part of his mission to provide meaningful artistic experiences to young singers, he appears as a guest conductor and vocal coach for area schools when his performance schedule permits.