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Birmingham to hold Violins of Hope event

A view of downtown Birmingham.

By Chandler Walker
Alabama Political Reporter

Tickets are now on sale for Birmingham’s Violins of Hope event, which will take place April 11 – 14, 2018. The event will feature restored, historic violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

The four-day event will include educational programs, musical performances and interfaith dialogue.

The Holocaust-era violins were restored by master Israeli violinmaker, Amnon Weinstein, and his son, Avshalom. The violins are featured in exhibits all over the world as symbols of, “resilience, tolerance and peace.”

Weinstein focused his attention on the restoration of these violins after he was approached by a Holocaust survivor in 1996 seeking his services. He saw his work as a way to “give voice to those who perished in concentration camps and to lift the veil of silence that hushed all discussion about the Holocaust in many Jewish homes.”

Sallie Downs, the project coordinator, said that tickets or sponsorships can be purchased ranging from $10 to $50,000.

“We literally have options available to everyone,” said Downs. “Our goal is to make sure that every person in Birmingham has an opportunity to take advantage of this unique and historic opportunity.”

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Jeffrey Bayer, who co-chairs Violins of Hope with his wife, Gail, said that the featured programs are diverse, which will cater to the needs and interests of different audiences. “Each of these violins carries a profound story,” Bayer said. “It’s our hope to share these stories in a multitude of ways that are meaningful to all the people of Birmingham.”

Partners for Violins of Hope include: the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Holocaust Educational Center, the Birmingham Jewish Federation, the UAB Institute for Human Rights, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, ABC 33/40, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and others.

The event calendar follows:

  • Feb. 22 – 23, 2018 – Symposium comparing the history of the Holocaust with the history of the segregated South, UAB Institute for Human Rights.
  • March 15-18, 2018 – Human Rights New Works Festival, Red Mountain Theatre Company.
  • March 25, 2018 – The Jerusalem Quartet, Alys Stephens Center.
  • Apr. 11-13, 2018 – Giving Voice to the Voiceless – a presentation for students and teachers about restoring silent voices and finding our own, Alys Stephens Center
  • Apr. 11, 2018 – “A Celebration of Diversity Through Music,” St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
  • Apr. 12, 2018 – Concertmaster & Friends presents Quartet for the End of Time with Violins of Hope, Alys Stephens Center.
  • Apr. 13, 2018 – Survivors’ Sabbath Service.
  • Apr. 14, 2018 – “Violins of Hope” Concert by Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
  • Apr. 14, 2018 – Donor Reception and Violins of Hope Exhibit.

Event tickets can be purchased and more details can be found at

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