How often music shelters a broken heart, how beautifully it delivers those who will not break. In the darkness of the Holocaust, at the Birkenau concentration camp in Poland, a small ensemble of female prisoners were spared from the gas chambers because of the glorious music they played. The nonprofit Ars Choralis honors these extraordinary women with Music in Desperate Times: Remembering the Women’s Orchestra of Birkenau, a concert of spoken memoirs and the uncommon instrumentation of the original company: mandolin, accordion, violin, recorder, cello, flute, piano, and percussion. It is a sobering celebration of the vitality of artists, and a mote of comfort to the era we still accept only as we can, one measure at a time.

Sat., March 28, 8 p.m., 2009

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