September 1, 2014, noon-1p.m.


Join artist Michael Pestel in marking the centennial anniversary of the death of Martha, the last known passenger pigeon. Some reports note that Martha died at 1 p.m. on September 1, 1914. The exhibition Requiem: Ectopistes migratorius, officially opens at 1 p.m.—the centennial of her death and the extinction of the species.

Dancers Melissa Bucher, Marisa Ferraro, Carli Jones, Rebecca Murray, Grace Todesco, and Carly Trachtman performed “This Bitter Earth,” a piece choreographed by Trachtman. She describes it as a modern dance piece centered around the themes of life and death within nature. It seeks to display the universal feelings of both chaos and peace in the natural world. Finally, it hopes to look existentially at the circle of life: the pain that comes with extinction and loss, and the hope that comes with renewal and rebirth.

Facts about passenger pigeons; excerpts of text by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold; and poetry were selected and organized by director of Lafayette Theater Michael O’Neill. Readings were by Grace E Marchena, Nikelia E Haines, Samantha Meyerson, Aleni M MacKarey and Colleen E Way.

Included in the reading was the choral section for Anthony Philip Heinrich’s “The Columbiad: Or, Migration of American Wild Passenger Pigeons.” Heinrich (1781-1861), the first American composer of large symphonic works, traveled with John James Audubon. “The Columbiad” premiered in Prague, 1858.  The choral section included a poem in German by the abolitionist Max Langenschwarz and was read in German and in English. O’Neill used the translation provided by Susan Wegner of Bowdoin College. (Many thanks to Susan  Wegner and Neely Bruce of Wesleyan for information about Heinrich and “The Columbiad”)