Performing arts students attend the Concert Against Hate

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Photo by Amalia Villegas Vega ’21

On Nov. 8, 30 St. John’s students were given tickets by SJC board member Craig Ruppert ’71 to The 24th ADL in Concert Against Hate, presented by the Anti Defamation League (ADL) at the Kennedy Center. This concert has been held annually since 1995, which commemorated 50 years since the Holocaust. The original concert honored four people who helped Jews escape the Nazis during the Holocaust.

This year, the concert celebrated the actions of seven different people; seven individuals who chose love and forgiveness over hate. We can learn so much from the stories of Rais Bhuiyan, R. Derek Black, Matthew Stevenson, Susan Bro, Eva Moses Kor, Father Patrick Desbois, and Maria Gabriela (“Gaby”) Pacheco, from their experiences with various forms of hate and how they fought against it. Each person had their story portrayed by actors of the screen and stage, and each story was followed by a short piece of music either sung by an artist or performed by the orchestra.

The concert began with a moment of silence and remembrance for the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue. A traditional Jewish prayer of mourning followed. Rachel Bay Jones, the Tony, Emmy, and Grammy-award winning actress, was introduced as the MC of the concert. She also sang “So Big, So Small,” from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen.

Many other award-winning actors and performers were part of the concert. Stage actors included Danny Binstock, who recently starred in Angels in America at Berkeley Rep and Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway; Carolee Carmello, who performed in The Addams Family and Mamma Mia on Broadway; and Corey Cott, a Tony Award-winner for his performance in Bandstand. Orange is the New Black actress Rosal Colon acted at the event as well.

This ADL event was incredible and sent a wonderful message, especially in today’s political climate. Christopher Storz ’21 said, “It was nice that they had award-winning actors to speak on behalf of the seven people.” Fiona O’Connell ’22 found the concert “very enlightening about the hate in our everyday communities, but I found even more empowering the strong, community responses that these terrible acts are met with.”

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