Dreams of Hope

Synopsis: 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,…

Synopsis:
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 documentary-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. 

As an African-American growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, Dr. Panion was struck by the common origins of hate, discrimination, and racism that have and continue to be inflicted upon people throughout the world. Both the African-American and the Jewish people have had to dig deep within themselves to find just a sliver of hope to grasp onto while experiencing some of the worst atrocities known throughout history. In the absence of anything else, it was often only through music that these people found any semblance of relief from oppression, figuratively and literally.  

In his preparation for composing Dreams of Hope for Solo Violin & Orchestra, Dr. Panion states, ‚ÄúThe story of these violins and the Jewish people is of survival, hope, and triumph, one that so parallels the story of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and its people, particularly the Four Little Girls. Having suffered the worst fate imaginable, the church and these violins have been beautifully restored and are now magnificent relics for all to behold. As a people of the human race, we continue to strive and hope for a better world through our struggles,¬†our trials, our tribulations…..and our triumphs.‚Äù¬†

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 experiened the power of the unifying and universal voice of music through Dreams of Hope. 

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Director: Henry Panion, David Macon
Writer: David Macon
Producer: Henry Panion, III

Country of Origin: United States
Documentary –

Melbourne Lift-Off 2020