Award-winning opera singer and Grandview resident Susan Millard-Schwarz will perform a special concert in observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Grandview Heights Public Library.

Award-winning opera singer and Grandview resident Susan Millard-Schwarz will perform a special concert in observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Grandview Heights Public Library.

Millard-Schwarz will perform selections accompanied by pianist Ed Bak and flutist Kimberlee Goodman.

The concert is funded in part by the Holocaust Education Endowment Fund of the Columbus Jewish Foundation.

"This is something I've wanted to do for such a long time, especially for the non-Jewish community," Millard-Schwarz said. "Synagogues will all have special observances of Yom HaShoah, but it's an important day for us non-Jewish people as well."

The selections she will perform Sunday were written by people who were themselves directly affected by the Holocaust or whose family members were persecuted, she said.

Among the selections will be two pieces from "Schindler's List."

"There is a relevance in these songs to our issues of today," Millard-Schwarz said. "We still tend to single people out and target them for persecution and violence."

She said her interest in Jewish culture and music began as a little girl.

Four years ago, Millard-Schwarz had the opportunity to visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

"It was a chance to see and feel and touch and smell where this horror took place," she said. "In some ways, it is so unremarkable. You go in and see the buildings are so flat, simple and utilitarian. That makes it that much more chilling."

A mezzo soprano, Millard-Schwarz is a classically trained singer.

"I started singing in high school," she said. "I had a marvelous high school music teacher who I credit with inspiring me to continue to study music at college and then for a master's degree."

Like many operatic singers, she began her career in musical theater.

"I love singing both musical theater and opera," Millard-Schwarz said. "Very generally speaking, the difference between the two is that in musical theater the words and story take precedence over the singing and in opera, the singing and music come before the dramatic content.

"But the best opera is when the dramatic element is treated with the same amount of care as the music," she said. "That's when opera is most satisfying, for the performers and the audience."

Her Yom HaShoah concert, which she also gave last weekend at the Broad Street United Methodist Church, has been the most rewarding experience of her career, Millard-Schwarz said.

Recently, Millard-Schwarz, Bak and Goodman were rehearsing the song, "Jerusalem of Gold," a song about the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem.

"At the end of the song, we all ended up in tears," she said. "This project is something that just seems so much larger than ourselves. It's a very emotional experience for me to be able to perform this concert."

afroman@thisweeknews.com