This story is about fulfilling a dream.
Fourty years ago, Dr. Peter Gary wrote a hugely elaborate composition called, a 20th Century Passion.
It took him three years. And it’s never been performed.
Now, friends are fundraising, so that Dr. Gary’s Passion can be heard for the first time.
Sitting next to producer David Malysheff, Judy Estrin is reviewing footage of a documentary about her husband, Dr. Peter Gary.
“Peter’s an interesting guy” says Judy, with a smile, as she thinks about how to describe her husband.
“He’s not your normal 92 year old guy…
“He’s very vibrant, and very vital, he’s got diverse interests, he reads six or seven books at a time, he’s very cultured.
“And, he’s a ‘doctor doctor’…he has a PhD, and an MD!”
Peter Gary is also a holocaust survivor.
“He survived Majdanek, he survived Dachau, and he was eventually liberated by the British from Bergen Belsen.” says Estrin.
He was liberated on his twenty-first birthday, and he weighed seventy-six pounds.
Dr. Gary has spoken to more than sixty-six thousand students across Vancouver Island, spreading a message of tolerance and compassion.
Producer David Malysheff, from Gamut Productions, explains his connection the couple.
“I met Peter and Judy when they hired me to do a little film project for them…just a simple little interview of Peter and a conductor from Israel.
The interview was about a major composition Peter had written decades ago.
“A 20th Century Passion is a massive, large oratorio that Peter wrote in the mid-70’s, and then it got put on the shelf, and nobody has ever heard it, it’s never been performed.”
Peter’s wife is determined to see 20th Century Passion performed, on October 17, in Israel.
She admits that “at the end of this piece, people will be sobbing, in the audience, but that’s OK. It is a piece about remembering.”
And Dr. Gary, in Malysheff’s documentary, states about his composition “Now, the Jews will have something to mourn by.”
But to fulfill his dream, and see this oratorio performed, will cost an estimated seventy-thousand dollars.
“It’s such a huge piece!” says Estrin.
“It’s two choirs, it’s four soloists…the orchestra that’s doing it is a small orchestra, the Tel Aviv Soloists, so they have to hire, essentially, a band, they had to hire the rehersal halls, they had to hire the hall in Jerusalem…”
And so, these two are fundraising, to ensure Dr. Gary lives to see his dream come true.
“He’s come close to having this piece performed before…it’s going to happen” says a determined Estrin.
“To actually see a live orchestra, and choirs, and soloists, perform this piece…I think it would be a dream come true for Peter.” adds Malysheff.