Over 2,500 Students to Attend Performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane


Media Contact: Kerry Hayes
[email protected]
(901) 481-5104

Over 2,500 Students to Attend Performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane

Presented by Facing History and Ourselves, The Allstate Foundation, and The Hold On To Your Music Foundation at The Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday, March 7th

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (February 24, 2017)—Facing History and Ourselves, with support from The Allstate Foundation, the Hold On To Your Music Foundation, and the Orpheum Theater will welcome over 2,500 students from a diverse array of Memphis schools for Mona Golabek’s performance, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, on March 7, 2017. The performance complements the book, The Children of Willesden Lane, written by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. Memphis classrooms have been studying the novel and its place in the larger history of the Holocaust, sparking conversations of hardship, friendship, prejudice, and overcoming obstacles, all from the perspective of a refugee story.

The book follows the true story of Mona’s mother, Lisa Jura, a young Jewish girl whose dreams of being a concert pianist were shattered when German troops took over her homeland. Separated from her parents, Lisa was one of nearly 10,000 children brought to England as part of the Kindertransport—a mission to rescue children threatened by the Nazis. A musical prodigy, the teenager went on to win a music scholarship to the London Royal Academy during WWII and became an inspiration to all she met. 

To set the scene, Facing History offered two professional development workshops for educators, class sets of the book, and tickets to Mona’s performance. Using an intergenerational and interdisciplinary approach to examine a challenging history, teachers and students are developing multiple strategies to address difference. 

“This is a story of resilience. It humanizes a history that students can then engage with intellectually, socially, and emotionally regardless of any background or personal circumstance,” said Marti Tippens Murphy, Executive Director of Facing History and Ourselves, Memphis. “We’re grateful to have so many schools committed to grappling with this history and connecting it to the choices we have to make today.” 

For more information, please contact Kerry Hayes at [email protected] or (901) 481-5104.

About Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves was founded in 1976 by educators who believed that instilling intellectual vigor and curiosity goes hand-in-hand with teaching facts and figures. From the disturbing lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides to struggles for civil rights from Birmingham to South Africa, we trust students to wrestle with complex moments in human history, and work to help them understand the range of human behavior. These students learn to connect the dots between the ethical choices they’ll face in life and the positive outcomes they can create in their community and the world. Visit facinghistory.org for more information. Visit facinghistory.org for more information.

About The Allstate Foundation 
Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation, and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity. With a focus on building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, empowering youth, and celebrating the charitable community involvement of Allstate agency owners and employees, The Allstate Foundation works to bring out the good in people’s lives. For more information, visit AllstateFoundation.org

About Hold On To Your Music
Inspired by the life of Lisa Jura, Hold On To Your Music seeks to expand awareness and understanding of the ethical implications of world events such as the Holocaust and the power of the arts, especially music, to embolden the human spirit in the face of adversity. Hold On To Your Music was established in 2003 by Mona Golabek to share the story of her mother, Lisa Jura, as told in Ms. Golabek and Lee Cohen's book, The Children of Willesden Lane, and to disseminate the book and accompanying educational materials to students and teachers everywhere. Visit holdoutyourmusic.org to learn more. 



Sunday, February 26, 2017 - 2:15pm

Search Our Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.