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By Kristen Grieco
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People who lived through World War II have a hard time comprehending all of its horrors, so it's not surprising that students born in the late '80s and early '90s would recoil as well. That was the challenge facing David Ripley, professor of music, when he introduced the oratorio "Kaddish" to the students who would be participating in UNH's "Echoes of the Holocaust" series.

"They reacted to the piece as if it were an extension of the horrors of the Holocaust rather than a healing response to it," he says. And so he began a process of devising a "ramp of progressive awareness" within the series, which included a lecture, faculty performances and two new, commissioned pieces by UNH alumni: "The Island of Obsession" by Tom Bourgault '04, '06G and "if this is a man" by Timothy Miles '01, '07G.

"Kaddish," which will be performed on Nov. 14, takes its text from interviews with Holocaust survivors. "'Kaddish' is not only about the past, but also about exploring our common humanity," says its composer, Lawrence Siegel. "It culminates in a message of hope and peace that extends beyond the lines of religion, race and ethnic background."

"An echo is a faithful representation of the original event," Ripley says. "This is the essence of what the series tried to convey—to come as close as possible to the flames of the event, not just its radiant heat."

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