ABS Thursday Notes- March 17, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

March 17, 2022


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

“To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.” – Elie Weisel

Brundibár is a children’s opera by Czech composer Hans Krása, based on a cheerful folk tale. It is widely regarded as the finest opera ever composed for children to sing. In 1942, Hans Krása was imprisoned by nazis at Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, where an estimated 33,000 people died of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. 88,000 people were sent from Terezín to Auschwitz and other death camps. The score of Krása’s newly composed opera was recreated by Krasa at the camp, adapted for the instruments available.  The nazis permitted the children of Terezín to perform Brundibár at least 55 times at Terezín, routinely shipping the young singers to death camps afterward, to be replaced by a new cast of children. When the International Red Cross visited Terezín in 1944, the nazis theatrically staged the camp as a temporary showpiece to refute growing allied suspicions that Jews were being exterminated. Terezín was staged with a new kindergarten, a park, flowers, rich food, and concerts. The prisoners were dressed in fine clothing. Just before the arrival of the Red Cross, the nazis shipped 7,500 prisoners to their deaths at Auschwitz, to create more open space. The opera Brundibár was performed for the Red Cross visitors, to demonstrate how happy and productive the children of Terezín were. Red Cross representatives reported to the world that nazi prison camps were safe, clean, and pleasant. Immediately after the Red Cross departed, the cast and composer were sent to Auschwitz to be killed. This innocent little opera has carried the weight of its terrible historical context, ever after.

The Arts Based School’s 7th Graders perform Brundibár as part of a state-required study of World War II, the Holocaust, and genocide. One year, a surviving cast member, Ela Weissberger, visited us and shared memories of the friends she had loved and lost. She stood with our students to join in the “Victory Song,” and asked us always to remember her friends. Memoirs of children who lived at Terezín, the testimony of surviving cast members, historic video footage of a Brundibár performance at the prison camp, and the experience of singing the very notes those children sang, help us consider the Holocaust through the eyes of young victims whose memory we keep alive through this project. We sing the final phrase of the Victory Song in the Czech language. We sing in solidarity with Ela’s lost friends.

Brundibár will be performed by all ABS 7th graders next week on Thursday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Worship Center theater, 200 N. Cherry Street. The opera lasts about one-half hour. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to cover production costs.

See Brundibár volunteer needs below!

Want to be the Assistant Principal?

We’re bringing back an old tradition!  Time to purchase your raffle tickets to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day! Yes, your child (of any grade level) can serve as Principal Hollis' Assistant for an entire day! Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of "Principal Duties" for the day! Simply stop by either front office and purchase your raffle tickets today ($1/ticket, $5 for 6 tickets). All proceeds from the raffle support our Hospitality fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year.


Parent Satisfaction Survey

Yes, that's you! We want to know what you think! Please follow the link ArtsBasedSchoolsurvey to a 10-question online survey about our school. Your responses are completely anonymous and help us determine what's working well and what needs more work! Please take a few minutes to complete and submit. Thank you!

ABS Summer Camp 2022 - Registration is OPEN.

We are so excited about the opportunity to spend time with your child(ren) this summer in ABS Summer Camps! Our summer camps aim to spark curiosity, nurture friendships, and enable playful exploration. Our summer programming is an extension of the ABS philosophy of joyful learning through the arts, and we are committed to providing a fun, enriched, and diverse experience. More information, including a registration link, are below. Some camps are nearly full.

Summer camp dates, teachers, and descriptions


Frequently Asked Questions


Summer Camp Registration

Daily Lunch Options Coming Soon

In an effort to provide expanded daily lunch options for our families, we're looking forward to launching a new online lunch ordering system (MyHotLunchbox) on a trial basis. Families will be able to order lunch for their student(s) Monday through Thursday if you choose. Friday will continue to be our standard Pizza Friday. We have requested to work with locally-owned restaurants if possible, but for now, our lunch vendors are:

  • Monday: Zaxby's
  • Tuesday: Jason's Deli
  • Wednesday: Moe's Southwest
  • Thursday: Firebird's

We'll still do Pizza Friday with Papa John's to finish this school year.

If you would like to order lunch you will need to set up an account with MyHotLunchbox. We will share the link when it's ready. Ordering will be open on March 21, and our first delivery will begin on April 4. Prices, menus, and additional details will be shared via Thursday Notes as soon as we know more.

Volunteers Needed!


Brundibár Sets & Costumes Load-In This Monday

Volunteers are needed for load-in of Brundibar sets, 8:15 a.m. this coming Monday, March 21. Please meet in the lunchroom of the MLK building. We will load items onto the truck at ABS, drive a few blocks to the theater, and unload the truck into the theater. The whole process takes about one hour. This task requires some strength. Volunteers are also needed to return the sets to ABS immediately after the performance at 7:35 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. Please sign up here. Thank you!

Brundibár Filming

We try to film all productions at ABS so that friends and family members who are unable to attend can enjoy the shows as well. We post them as private links to Vimeo with password protections. However, ABS does not currently own the kind of video and sound equipment we would need to film each production ourselves.

The Brundibár performance is on Thursday, March 24, from 7pm-8pm at First Presbyterian Church downtown. We are looking for a volunteer who is willing/able to set up a camera for us and let it roll… There's no need for fancy cinematography or post-production editing.... just a wide shot that shows all the kids for the duration of the show. Please reach out to us if you can help. Thank you!

Friday Sing Set-Up

A crew is needed to help set up for our first in-person Friday Sing (for K-4 students) in two years! Volunteers meet Ms. Siebert  inside the 7th Street entrance at 1:00 on April 1st. You will help set up sound system and other equipment, and will assist with transporting African drums and putting things away after the show at 2:15. No heavy lifting required. Please sign up here. Thank you!

Field Day Coordinators 

The Parent Council is looking for coordinators for Field Day. Field Day will be held on the last day of school, Monday, June 6. The coordinators will work with class representatives to host games and activities for students to participate in. If you are interested in coordinating this fun day for our students, please contact Parent Council co-chairs Katherine White and Debbie Mason.

Garden Crew!

If you would like to join parent volunteer and ecological designer Kristen Haaf for some spring gardening, she spends most weekday afternoons from 2:45-3:45 tending our gardens. If you think you might join her, please send her an email to let her know! We’ll also be rescheduling our rained-out garden workday. Stay tuned to Thursday Notes for more information.
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