Exclusive: Marvin Hamlisch's Original Composition for Cincinnati's Jewish Federation.
By Don Canaan
Composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch died Monday at age 68 after a brief illness. During his four-decade musical career, Hamlisch won virtually every major award: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes.
But to Cincinnati Jews, one composition stood out. Recently discovered in this reporter's newspaper archive was a song, written on the fly, in 1990, during an appearance at a gala held by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
The ballad of "Mitzvah Mission '90" was composed on the spot to assist in raising money for the 1990 campaign.
"They wonder. They thought aloud. They wonder what would really fill the crowd? Should we take them to gay Paree? Then someone said, 'No, gay Paree, ha ha, oy, is not for me.' Someone said,
'Maybe we should go to Londontown or sunny Spain....'
"Are you going with me on Mitzvah Mission '90? I can't wait, it's true. Gonna get my ticket to that Mitzvah Mission '90....
"We're gonna have, gonna have some fun. If it works, we'll do the same in '91 Oh yes it's true. I wonder, but I seem to think we'll also do it in '92. Mitzvah Mission '90. It's the place to be. The only trouble is...I also think we're going there in '93."