ellis island

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Ellis Island

Song for for Tenor, Clarinet, Cello and Piano

Lyrics: Daniel Neer

Music: Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz


From composer Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz: “My great-grandfather Giacobbe Catini (later, Jacob Catino) came to America through Ellis Island on September 9, 1913, at the age of 18. A few years ago, I found the ship’s manifest that bore his name, along with his classification of “Italian (South)”. According to EllisIsland.org, he was one of 12 million people who entered the United States through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, and I am one of nearly half of all Americans who can trace my family history to at least one person who passed through Ellis Island. We are a nation of immigrants. For me, the little girl in this song represents the millions of people who passed through Ellis Island and the millions more that are hoping for safe passage today. I hope that my son Isaac, who was born exactly 98 years to the day after his great-great-grandfather arrived in this country, will be part of a generation that shows the same compassion to those searching for a better life as does the immigration officer whose words have been brought to life through Daniel’s voice.”



March 12, 2017

World Premiere

Battelle Recital Hall, Otterbein University

Daniel Neer (tenor)

Tim Huffman (piano), Hild Peersen (clarinet), Jill W Crist (cello)


VIDEO: Ellis Island Premiere