Northshore Magazine

Northshore October 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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90 | OCTOBER 2015 photograph by Paul Lyden in-depth FACES For Deborah Shelkan Remis, the fact that her father, Gregor Shelkan, was a Holocaust survivor and had lost most of his family as well as his first wife in the Holocaust was never a secret. "I think Holocaust survivors, or survivors of trauma in general, have their choice about how they deal with it, and my father, for- tunately for us, told us about his experience," she says. Because his story is something she grew up with, she decided to put together Sara's Voice Sotto Voce, a violin concerto that will take place on October 18 at the Shalin Liu Per- formance Center in Rockport to hon- or violin virtuoso Sara Rashina, the wife her father lost to the Holocaust. Remis says the concert actually began as a story she was working on for a creative writing class over a decade ago. "I put it away for the longest time…then I came back and I started writing about it again and I took another writing course. My [classmates]…thought it was, and rightfully so, nonfictional. That's when I stopped writing, because I didn't want it to be historical fiction; I wanted it to be fact. There were large chunks I didn't know—I didn't know how they met and I didn't want to make that up." While writ- ing, she would listen to the music Sara had played during her prom- ising career. It was this blending of words and music that sparked something in Remis. "The more I wrote, I thought, 'This isn't the medium I want to tell her story in, I want to make this a violin concert.' Because I think music really speaks volumes." Part of her research included a fact-finding mission. "I have been planning this trip to Latvia probably for as long as I have been writing this story. And every year there was another reason why I couldn't go…. Deborah Shelkan Remis at Shalin Liu Performance Center

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