July 1, 2020
Sunset to sunrise
9:03 PM – 5:41 AM (ET)

Watch on our Facebook page or at

Streaming Live from The Historic Kiever Synagogue (Toronto)

Please join us remotely on July 1st for the presentation of Grief. This new choral performance is written for 10 vocalists, 2 pianists, and percussion. Its intention is to fabricate a communal mourning ritual for anyone who has suffered the sorrows of losing a loved one. Grief will be performed from sunset to sunrise, without break, and will be performed in both English and American Sign Language.

You are invited to participate in Grief by entering the names of those whom you have lost into the Database of the Dead. Our scribe, Rochelle Rubinstein, is presently inscribing names entered into the database into a giant scroll, from which Benjamin Hackman will read on the night of Grief. Around him, The Holy Gasp will perform Grief, The performance will be considered complete only after every name has been read, and the sun has come up.

A message from Benjamin Hackman

Benjamin Hackman
Photo by Alex Gray

“In the last five years, my father died of a heart attack; my therapist died of pancreatic cancer; my brother-in-law overdosed; my oldest friend hanged himself—then another friend died in a car accident, and my grandmother, God bless her, died of good ol’ fashion old age.

“Death is happening all over. Indeed, it always has. It is awkward, and painful, and it unites us all . In the midst of a global pandemic, I wonder if enough models exist in our culture to teach us how to support the grieving, and exemplify healthy ways for us to mourn. I wish to facilitate community and ritual in which it is normal to talk about death, and where people can witness grief and have their grief witnessed in return. I want to provoke an urgency for the living to interact with life, and for audiences (especially diverse audiences) to have shared emotional experiences in real time. It is truly a shame that this project cannot happen as intended, with a much larger ensemble, and a physical audience packed in around us. But with new deaths happening around the globe every day, I feel a great urgency to mount this performance. I hope it moves you.”

Our Dedication to Accessibility

Death and grieving effect every last living being. It is for this reason that we have endeavored to make Grief accessible, and to accommodate differences in ability wherever possible. Grief is a bilingual performance, with vocals being performed in both English and American Sign Language. The live stream performance of Grief will include closed captioning for the hearing impaired, and every effort has been made to make The Holy Gasp’s website and the Database Of The Dead as accessible as possible. If you have any suggestions for ways to make our website and database more accessible, we would like to hear from. Please contact