Jackson State Community College is scheduled to host Tim Lorsch and his performance of The Suitcase on Thursday, November 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the college’s Ayers Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and it is sponsored by the JSCC Honors Program and International Education. The one-man show tells the extraordinary true story of his German-Jewish family’s survival of the Holocaust through original music and narrative storytelling.
“I am the first-born son of Jews who fled From Nazi Germany in the late 1930s”, Lorsch states on his project website for The Suitcase. “Before the Holocaust, Germany was one of the safest places in the world for Jews. In less than a decade, that all ended.”
Dr. Bob Raines, Professor of Psychology at Jackson State and one of several advisors for the JSCC Honors Program, was drawn to this show for its story and what it could bring to the Jackson State community. “The story of Tim’s family is one of resilience in the face of horrific cruelty and brutality,” he says. “It’s a story about the potential consequences of bigotry, intolerance, and dehumanization. But it’s also a story about hope, beauty, and the power of art to transform us.”
In 2016, Lorsch received a suitcase sent to him in Nashville from an antique shop in Czechoslovakia. It was the suitcase his great uncle, Julius Israel Lorsch, took with him to a concentration camp. The arrival of this piece of family history sparked an idea to create music to tell his family’s story. Using looping technology he is able to layer different instruments together live on stage and weave his songs into the narrative. Lorsch writes that this project “reflects the hopes, dreams, resilience and vulnerability of the immigrant experience.”
Lorsch is a lifelong musician and began playing the violin at the age of seven. During his performances he uses the violin, octoviolin, and cello to tell his story, adding commentary and narratives along the way. Based in Nashville, Lorsch has a more than 40-year career in the music industry as a producer, session player, arranger, and songwriter. He has produced critically acclaimed records and has contributed to Grammy and Emmy Award-winning projects.
Ultimately, Dr. Raines believes that the audience will not only be entertained, he also believes they will be inspired to reflect on our collective capacity for kindness, benevolence, decency, and grace. “Empathy is the ultimate antidote to dehumanization, and stories help us to identify the humanness in others,” he says. “Maybe this is a good time to remind ourselves that we are all much more alike than we are different.”
For more information about Tim Lorsch and his project, The Suitcase, go to www.thesuitcase.world. For event information or other opportunities in the JSCC Honors Program, contact Dr. Bob Raines at 731-424-3520 x. 50438 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mary Wadley for International Education at 731-424-3520 x. 50252 or by email at email@example.com.