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When I Am Silent
By Joan C. Varner

SA choir, keyboard (SA choir)
Composed by Joan C. Varner. Octavo. Alliance Music Publications #AMP 0210. Published by Alliance Music Publications (AN.AMP-0210).

Item Number: AN.AMP-0210


In the fall of 1994, while on a tour of Eastern Europe, I spent a day at the site of the Nazi concentration camp in Auchwitz, Poland. Even though I had studied the history and knew the facts, I was unprepared for the strong feelings I experienced there. I was especially moved by the pictures lining the walls of one of the former dormitories, pictures of young women and teenage boys and girls who died there. The pictures looked like my students, young people with their lives still in front of them. But these young people had no chance to see their future. I was haunted by the picture of one especially beautiful young girl, and in the days which followed, as I thought about the things she might have enjoyed and the lifewhich was cruelly taken from her, the words and music for When I Am Silent evolved. The song is dedicated to this girl and all young people everywhere whose lives are taken unjustly. Sing it for them!

Joan C. Varner

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  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 5

    Reston, VA
    Difficulty Level:
    Early intermediate
  • April 16, 2008 Beautiful, moving tribute

    My daughter's 6th grade regional chorus performed this piece. It was inspired by the composer's visit to Auschwitz and the photographs of young people who died there. It is a moving tribute to all who have had promising lives cut short unjustly and a poignant reminder to those...

    of us who are left to live our lives to the fullest in their honor.

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    15 of 30 people found this review helpful.
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