Dreams of Hope: Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church Welcomes Violins of Hope - Premiering on PBS Stations Across America
November 28, 2019
Premiering February, 2020 on PBS stations across America, Dreams of Hope is a documentary-concert celebrating the power of music. Centered around Birmingham's historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the city welcomes world-renowned Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein, founder of Violins of Hope, and his family. With acclaimed composer, arranger and conductor Dr. Henry Panion, III & Orchestra, Birmingham native Caitlin Edwards returns home to perform the world premiere of Dreams of Hope for Solo Violin & Orchestra on the Auschwitz Violin (circa, 1850), one of the many violins discovered and restored by Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshi from the infamous concentration camps of the Holocaust.
Also featured in this docu-concert are performances by vocalists Valerie Smith and Lenora Goodman-Panion, Dancer Kelsey Ebersold, and the Miles College Choir. After hearing Dreams of Hope for Solo Violin & Orchestra, Amnon Weinsten stated, "First there was John William's Schindler's List and now there's Henry Panion's Dreams of Hope. It's a masterpiece that should be heard at Carnegie Hall and all over the world. There are just no words for the brilliant gifts of music which we received that evening."
Woven among these performances are the most captivating interviews and thoughts of reflection, including those by Richard Arrington, Jr., the first African-American Mayor of Birmingham; Jeffrey and Gail Bayer, Co-chairs of Violins of Hope Birmingham; Chris Hamlin, former Pastor of 16th Street Baptist; Amnon and Assi Weinstein; Dr. Henry Panion, III, and Sallie Downs, who spearheaded the initiative to bring Violins of Hope to Birmingham.
Dreams of Hope is a demonstration of what can happen when different people of different backgrounds and cultures come together on common ground and communicate with a common voice, recognizing yet celebrating our differences. And on that evening in Birmingham, Alabama, when Black, White, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Catholic, Native, and Foreigner came together at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, all experienced the power of the unifying and universal voice of music through Dreams of Hope.