Friday, December 3, 2010

Missionaries In Concert: The New England Premiere In Boston


A friend has dedicated her heart and soul to a production called Missionaries In Concert. When I first heard her speak about her love for the music and letters of this choral drama by Elizabeth Swados, I was moved beyond words.

Her dream of bringing the production to New England for the first time is realized this weekend with the premiere in Boston. I went to the open rehearsal in July. The singing and music was beautiful and haunting. I'm so looking forward to attending the production tonight. What an amazing lady!

The first show was last night, there's another one tonight and tomorrow too. You can buy tickets online.

The production remembers the 30th anniversary of the deaths of lay missioner Jean Donovan, Maryknoll sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, and Ursuline sister Dorothy Kazel. They were murdered by a death squad for their work helping the poor of El Salvador and for their human rights advocacy, during a brutal civil war that claimed an estimated 75,000 lives.

*Updated 12/5/2010* Since I wrote this post, an article was published by Boston.com: Oratorio brings home El Salvador’s pain.

It's so difficult to describe the production. The singing and music was so profoundly beautiful. You can get lost in the sound of the voices, but the words describing the horrors of the war are sharp, fierce, cutting, explicit in detail. The contrast is physically startling. Jolting to one's senses.

Also the program states that the perpetrators of the killings were convicted, but let go for good behavior after a few years in prison. And even worse, the higher-level officers who ordered the killings were never brought to justice for these killings. It seems that they were basically rewarded by being granted U.S. Residency and retired to Florida.

I attended the performance at the Paulist Center on Park Street. As I was listening to the words describing torture and such sadness, I felt so bewildered. I looked up and saw these words etched on the wall, "Above all things have charity which is the bond of perfection."


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