After a popular debut in Des Moines in 2008, a piece from the opera “The Sparks Fly Upward,” written by Cathy Lesser Mansfield, a professor of law at Drake University Law School, was performed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Holocaust Commemoration on April 8.
Mansfield’s daughter, Megan, is a first year student at MIT involved in the MIT Hillel, including a trip to Israel. One conversation lead to another and the group learned that Megan’s mother had composed an opera about the Holocaust. The conversations lead to the idea of a performance on campus.
“This event involved a large and diverse group of students, faculty, and community members. It was extraordinary to see so many people involved in this production and it was a great educational experience for everyone who worked on the program,” says Shoshana Gibbor, birthright coordinator for MIT Hillel. “Commemorating the Holocaust in such a different way brought together a crowd of people who otherwise may not have taken the time to reflect and remember on Yom HaShoah, thus the impact of this event created ripples that will spread far and wide across the MIT community.”
For the Commemoration, MIT’s Concert Choir and a cappella group Techiya performed Peace from “The Sparks Fly Upward.” In the words of the composer, “They did an absolutely wonderful job.”
Video from the performance can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z74VMeLmHo.