The dramatic oratorio, Choose Life, Uvacharta Bachayim,
draws on Jewish and Christian music and scripture, as well
as the writings of Holocaust survivors, to create an ecumenical
commemoration of the Holocaust. It was composed during Mona
Lyn Reese's 1993-94 Faith Partners Residency sponsored by
the American Composers' Forum and the Otto Bremer Foundation.
The piece was a spectacular success by modern standards.
In an era when most new work receives only one or two performances,
Choose Life creators were inundated with requests for
scores and inquiries regarding future performances. Many new
music concerts attract audiences of a hundred people or fewer.
Choose Life packed 1500-seat auditoriums and received
spontaneous standing ovations at every concert. Choose
Life has received national acclaim and was nominated for
a Pulitzer Prize in 1995.
Choose Life combines solos, choruses, and a narrator.
The readings were selected from Holocaust survivors' writings.
Dufner's libretto gives Choose Life its power to inspire
and empower a more compassionate society. Her poetry has strong
images and sublime rhythm. Her work includes avenues for listeners
to access their own spirituality.
Reese combines Gregorian chant, polyphonic motets, Anglican
Verse and Choral anthems, Jewish modes and hymnody, recitative,
and Klezmer music to create the score. Music and text express
bitterness, anguish, anger, our sorrow and need for comfort,
our will to overcome evil, and our determination to choose
life over death. Choose Life is staged like an opera,
with singers in costumes, minimal sets, lighting, and movement.
We are currently planning to record Choose Life in 2006.
It has been selected to appear on the innova Recordings label.
Of the hundreds of pieces submitted to innova, only 12-20
pieces are chosen each year.
The American Composers' Forum (ACF) is acting as fiscal agent
for this project. Our agreement with the fiscal agent stipulates
that if the full amount for the orchestra and fiscal agent
fee is not raised, gifts will be returned. Donations for the
"Choose Life Recording Project" are being made to
the ACF, a non-profit company. All donations are tax deductible.
Please make checks payable to:
ACF Choose Life Recording Project
You can mail your contribution to:
The American Composers' Forum
332 Minnesota Street, Suite E145
St. Paul MN 55101
If you would like more information about the Choose Life
Recording Project, contact Mona Lyn Reese at