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Wild Peace Fills the Heart
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If you are an experienced singer with a strong choral background, consider joining Zamir Chorale of Boston! Auditions for the 2008-09 season will be held on

Sunday, September 21 
 7:00 to 9:00 pm at
Hebrew College,
160 Herrick Road, 
Newton Centre. 
All voice parts welcome. Rehearsals are on Tuesdays from 7:15 to 10:00 pm. To schedule an audition, contact manager@zamir.org.
  Spring 2008
Dear Friend of Zamir,

As we close our successful 39th season, we're delighted to highlight the magical experience of Wild Peace: A Gala Concert for Israel's 60th, including special reflections from the composer and librettist of Like Wildflowers, Suddenly, and Zamir's artistic director, Joshua Jacobson. Plus read "My Own Wild Peace," an essay by our editor, Deborah Sosin; and a roundup of other festive music making from this very busy spring.
chorusOn Sunday, June 1, at Sanders Theatre, a corps of alumni joined the 45-voice Zamir Chorale to open the gala concert with Chaim Alexander's anthem to the ingathering, "Vekibatsti Etkhem." Zamir then offered an Israeli set, including Israel Prize-winner Yehezkel Braun's haunting "Magash Ha-kesef," Marc Lavry's shimmering lullaby "Yeled, Yeled Li Nitan," and tributes to Israel such as Moshe Wilensky's "Uri Tsiyon," Nurit Hirsch's "Tsiyon Halo Tish'ali," and Ilan Gilboa's rockin' arrangement of Lavry's "Emek."
Click here to see a video of Gil Adema's upbeat "Ashira Lididai."
Joyce Bohnen and Alan TeperowBoard co-chair Alan Teperow introduced the evening's honoree, Joyce "Nightingale" Bohnen, a Zamir alumna and former board chair, who joined Zamir for a solo verse of Paul Ben-Haim's sweet arrangement of the Sephardic lullaby "Hitrag'ut." American-born David Burger's stirring prayer for Israel's well-being, "Tefillah," rounded out the first half. 
The Premiere
"The air above Jerusalem is filled with dreams." And the air in Sanders Theatre was filled with electricity after intermission, when Jacobson raised his baton for Like Wildflowers, Suddenly, by Cantors Charles Osborne and Aryeh Finklestein. The new oratorio in five movementsJosh Jacobson conducts rehearsal was inspired by Israeli poet Yehudah Amichai's "Wild Peace" and was completed only recently. "In the winter, we were waiting for the score," said Jacobson. "I can't tell you the relief I felt when the music finally began to arrive in March. Not merely relief, but such excitement when we heard how beautiful it was."
Drawing on sources from the Bible, the Talmud, the Johanna Bronk siddur, and contemporary poetry, Like Wildflowers reveals three stages of Jewish history--biblical, the Diaspora, and the modern State of Israel. Osborne served as narrator and baritone soloist, joined by mezzo-soprano Johanna Bronk, and a chamber orchestra.  
A hushed moment followed the final chord, then the audience rose to its feet and the applause continuedCircle of Zamir women singing through several curtain calls. "The evening surpassed my expectations," said Ronda Jacobson, chair of the concert committee. "And honoring Joyce Bohnen, a dear friend and inspiration, was truly meaningful."
Of conducting the stellar chamber orchestra, made up of Boston's finest freelance musicians and contracted by orchestra manager and board member Bruce Creditor, Josh Jacobson conducts rehearsalJoshua Jacobson said, "I've never driven a Rolls Royce, but I imagine that's what it must be like: so smooth, responding perfectly to my touch, and with all the parts working in perfect harmony. 

"Cantor Osborne has shown us once again that he knows how to orchestrate as well as he knows how to create vocal music that singers love to sing," Jacobson Josh Jacobson conducts rehearsalcontinued. "And beyond that, he uncovered the inner beauty in Cantor Finklestein's libretto to create an instant classic--a 40-minute oratorio that holds together beautifully, and captures the listener's attention from the first note to the last fermata. It's truly stunning. What a labor of love!" 
(Photos by Mickey Goldin)
Notes from the Composer and Librettist 
The event's magic is perhaps best expressed in composer Osborne's own words: "As a product of the 1960s, I remember something called a 'happening,' where the delineations between art and music, between artist and audience, were blurred, and people found themselves immersed in an experience that was both cathartic and different in ways impossible to have predicted beforehand. I found the whole Wild Peace concert experience to be reminiscent of this," Osborne wrote in an email.
"If a history of this concert is ever written, I think it should say that the people responsible for the experience--the creative artists, performers, and audience--needed this concert in the same way the field of Amichai's poem needs the wild peace. It was not only the Zamir Chorale of Boston at its best, it was the Zamir Chorale of Boston at its most essential: Israel and music, and all of the power these two elements contain. It transcended the formality of the concert hall and gained the immediacy of the happening, and I am grateful to have been a part of it."
Cantor Finklestein echoed Osborne's sentiments: "It was indeed most gratifying for the librettist to see how enthusiastically the new work was received by an appreciative and obviously moved audience. It was Charles's and my intention to honor Israel's anniversary in a special way, and we were grateful that Zamir allowed us to do that. The work could not have been performed better, nor could it have been conducted more ably. It is our prayer that the peace to which Amichai's poem alludes so eloquently will become a reality in our day."
My Own Wild Peace

In this essay, Zamir soprano and writer Deborah Sosin offers her personal reflection on the experience of anticipating, preparing, and performing, Like Wildflowers, Suddenly.
I have a confession to make. When I wrote in these pages last winter that Zamir would be premiering a "stunning new oratorio" by Charles Osborne and Aryeh Finklestein, I had never heard the piece. It wasn't even written. We had the title, Like Wildflowers, Suddenly, and the Amichai poem, "Wild Peace," and nothing more. But I was so confident that "stunning" was indeed the correct adjective that I was willing to risk my journalistic credibility.  
As a Zamir soprano since 1994, I'm familiar with the sweet melodies and dramatic counterpoints of Souls on Fire and Kings and Fishermen, the dynamic duo's previous oratorios that we'd
 premiered. So I figured they'd deliver again.
We waited. And waited. Finally, some sections arrived in March and we plunged in, tackling the music no one had ever heard before. Beyond the Osbornian swoony parts, which made us smile in recognition, we faced challenging intervals and unexpected rhythms.
Just two weeks before the premiere, I was still unsteady in passages, with little sense of how the parts fit together. I felt frustrated. How would we pull it off? Would we need one of our "Zamiracles"?

"My Own Wild Peace" continues here.
Wild Peace wasn't the only concert Zamir had the pleasure of performing this spring! Israeli Consul General Nadav Tamir helped to host Zamir at Leonard (Leibel) Fein's "Library Loft" on March 30. A prominent writer, teacher, and music lover, Leibel founded Moment magazine, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy.

Zamir performed at Temple Beth David in Westwood on April 13, featuring Zamir alumna Cantor Louise Treitman, as she bid farewell to her congregation.

Kol Hanshamah, the second annual All Jewish Day School music festival, held on May 7 at Watertown High School, brought together children's choirs from area schools for a joyful and inspiring evening of Jewish choral music across the generations.

Hosted by Dr. Arnold Zar-Kessler and organized by Trudy Shulman Fagen, both of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, the concert featured individual performances by groups from SSDSGB (including their wonderful dance ensemble), MetroWest Jewish Day School, South Area SSDS, the Rashi School, and Jewish Community Day School. After the Zamir set, all the choirs took the stage for a colorful finale, including Barak Amrani's popular "Kol Hanshamah" (every spirit). Proceeds from the event went to the Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.
Finally, on June 15, the Jewish Journal of North Shore hosted Zamir for our "take it on the road" potpourri concert--samples from liturgical, classical, pop, and gospel, and much more--at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., featuring guest cantor Emil Berkovits.

Get set for our 40th season of Jewish music making, beginning in September--details and "save the dates" will appear in our summer edition.
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. If you would like to bring Zamir to perform a concert in your community, or to learn more about upcoming events, please contact us!
Barbara Gaffin, Managing Director, and
Deborah Sosin, Editor, E-Notes