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School Choir Provides High Notes in 'Sounds of Healing'

Valley Life | SPORTLIGHT

November 03, 2000|PATRICIAL WARD BIEDERMAN

Strimple, who has worked with the Nuremberg Symphony since 1984, says the German city is the perfect place for such a project, and the new millennium, with its promise of a new beginning, is the perfect time.

The Nazis were once a major presence in Nuremberg, Strimple points out. The city orchestra has had offices and rehearsal space in Congress Hall, the only surviving building designed by Hitler architect Albert Speer. The concert hall where Sounds of Healing will be performed stands on land where Hitler built the first large arena for Nazi rallies.

"This whole area was going to be the Nazi Disneyland," Strimple says.

But a new reality has grown up in the German city, Strimple says. The present Nuremberg orchestra was founded shortly after the war. While Hitler banned the playing of music by Jewish composers, Bernstein's work is a special favorite in today's Nuremberg. The city also has a burgeoning Jewish population, one that has outgrown the small synagogue it has been using since Jews returned to the city.

Strimple thinks the concerts, both in Los Angeles and Nuremberg, have the potential to move everyone who hears them.

The project certainly resonates for Strimple, who is not Jewish.

"It's a human issue for me," he says. "It's not a Jewish issue. The things that happened to the Jews could happen--have happened--to other groups."

A long, tragic list of minorities have been cruelly persecuted, Strimple says, and people on our own continent have been both victims and victimizers. As Strimple points out: "Puritans hanged Quakers on the Boston Commons for no other reason than they were Quakers."

The Sounds of Healing concert is Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. in UCLA's Royce Hall. For tickets, call UCLA at (310) 825-2101 or Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232.

Spotlight appears each Friday. Patricia Ward Biederman can be reached at valley.news@latimes.com.

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