Sunday, March 06, 2005

Singing at Strathmore Hall

I already had plans for March 19 – my season subscription to the Dumbarton Concert series with Mollie and Ruth. Besides I didn’t even like some of the music when we rehearsed it at Temple Micah. I somewhat reluctantly went to my one and only group rehearsal for the upcoming concert on March 19, and now March 20, at the brand new Strathmore Hall in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of Jews in America.

From the minute I entered the sanctuary at Addis Israel today and saw the sea of singers from 27 different congregations, I knew this was going to be a special experience that I could not miss for any reason, not even for a concert of chamber music. We are singing a wide variety of music from Benjie Schiller’s Psalm 150 (in Hebrew) to Leben Soll Columbus (Long Live Columbus in Yiddish) to Irving Berlin’s Give Me Your Tired Your Poor to the grand finale of God Bless America, first sung in Yiddish by the children’s choir. Each piece of music features soloists from among the stellar cantors from the various congregations. I came away even liking the one piece that I thought was so terrible prior to the rehearsal.

At the conclusion of each piece during the rehearsal, the singers actually applauded because it sounded so good and it was so much fun to sing. It’s hard to realize now that the organizers were afraid that they might have to cancel if they couldn’t break even on ticket sales. Little did they know that they would not only sell out the first night, but that they would have to add a second performance the next day. Marvin Kalb is the MC for the evening and actually had to rearrange his busy schedule to accommodate the second performance.

What better way to meet other Jews from the metropolitan area while making beautiful music and having lots of fun. Singing is really good for the soul!

Stay tuned for a report on how the concerts go...

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