enotes logo
In This Issue
Jacobson Reflects on Zamir's 40th
Upcoming Concerts
Fall Roundup
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
When the Choir Begins to Sing . . .
"Every time, it's a miracle. Here are all these people, full of heartache or hatred or desire, and we all have our troubles and the school year is filled with vulgarity and triviality and consequence, and there are all these teachers and kids of every shape and size, and there's this life we're struggling through full of shouting and tears and laughter and fights and break-ups and dashed hopes and unexpected luck--it all disappears, just like that, when the choir begins to sing. Everyday life vanishes into song, you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of brotherhood, of deep solidarity, even love, and it diffuses the ugliness of everyday life into a spirit of perfect communion."
From The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Quick Links
  Winter  2009
Dear Friends of Zamir,


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays Zamirniks from the swift completion of their appointed rounds . . . and motets and oratorios and anniversary parties. Yes, it's wintertime but our musical season is still warming up, with much more to look forward to in the coming months. Grab some cocoa and your calendar, and catch up on the latest!
Maestro Jacobson Reflects on Zamir's 40th

It's hard to believe it's been 40 years since Lou Garber, Jerry Halpern, and I had the chutzpah to start a new choir in Boston. It was an exciting time. There was a newfound pride in being Jewish. And it was a time of activism. 40thAn optimistic time when young students were feeling a sense of hope, excitement, power to change the world. It was, after all, the Age of Aquarius.

In November 1969, the League of Concerned Jewish Students in Boston convinced the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations to establish a fund for creative Jewish ventures. Out of this came the Institute for Jewish Life, CLAL, the First Jewish Catalogue, and what would become the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis. Pictured: Josh Jacobson

Just a few months earlier another group of students had founded one of the first Jewish communes, Havurat Shalom in Somerville. Among the early members were Art Greene, Michael Fishbane, James Kugel, Michael Strassfield, Arthur Waskow, and Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, a veritable who's who in Jewish studies today! Jonathan Sarna, in his book The Jews of Boston, wrote: "More broadly, the 1969 G.A. protest and the increased numbers of Jewish students in the Boston area turned the community into a crucible for student innovations of every kind. ... The Zamir Chorale, founded by students in 1969, promoted deeper appreciation of Jewish music and pioneered new audiences for choral sZamir 1970inging."
Pictured: Zamir, 1970

We had no idea that the musical adventure we started in October 1969 would still be around in 2009. We couldn't have dreamed that the American Record Guide would name us "America's foremost Jewish choral ensemble." That we could have produced 19 recordings (in 1969 CDs hadn't been invented yet). That we would have toured many times across North America, Europe, and Israel. That we would have been invited to sing at the United Nations. That we would star in an hour-long video shown on national public television stations. But here we are, still crazy after all these years! Changing people's lives, one concert at a time. Thank you for being a big part of our success--here's to 40 more years! 40th cake




Pop Goes the Dreydel

Zamir's music resounded once again in Boston's Symphony Hall. Two Hanukkah songs arranged by Josh Jacobson, "Candle Blessings" and "Drey Dreydeleh" (you can hear them on our Lights CD), were included on the program this December at the popular Holiday Pops concerts with the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, led by Keith Lockhart.
Hanukkah Happens XX: The Best of the Best
40th Thursday, December 24, 7:30 pm at Temple Emanuel in Newton. Celebrate the 20th annual Hanukkah Happens concert with Zamir's favorite selections from past seasons, as well as the premiere performances of two works commissioned for the occasion: Kodesh Hem by noted composer Nick Page, with Cantor Elias Rosemberg, soloist; and Hallel Shir V'Or by 16-year-old composer Jeremiah Klarman. For more information, contact Temple Emanuel.

Reaching Out to Seniors

Sunday, February 7 at 2:00 pm: Zamir returns for our annual concert for the residents at Hebrew SeniorLife in Roslindale, always a heart-filling and joyous afternoon of song and sharing.

Bloch Party

Sunday, March 14 at 4:00 pm:
Zamir teams up with Chorus Pro Musica, under the direction of Betsy Burleigh, and the New England Philharmonic for a performance of Ernst Bloch's magnificent Sacred Service at Boston's John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley Street, Boston. For ticket information, call 617-267-7442 (M,W, F, 10:00-2:00) or contact Chorus Pro Musica.

Hebrew College's Jewish Choral Festival

Sunday, March 21: Musicians and educators are invited to attend Hebrew College School of Jewish Music's Jewish Choral Festival, to be held at the Wellesley College Chapel. Free workshops will be offered in the afternoon, including "Unlocking the Cantillation Code," with Professor Joshua Jacobson, and more TBA soon! In the evening, Hebrew College's four choirs in residence, Zamir; Koleinu and Shir Tziyon (both directed by Carol Marton); and Kol Rinah (high school students directed by Avi Wolf), will perform in concert. For more information, contact Barbara Cassidy.

Western Suburbs and South Shore, Here We Come!

Sunday, May 2 at 7:30 pm: The winning combination of the Zamir Chamber Chorus and the Jazz Tuber Trio will appear at Temple Shir Tikva, 141 Boston Post Road, in Wayland. Thanks to our newest board member, Robert Snyder, for sharing his appreciation for this special partnership with his synagogue! Watch your email for ticket information.

Sunday, May 16 at 3:00 pm: Zamir brings its popular road show to the First Parish Church Unitarian Universalist, 842 Tremont Street, in Duxbury, Mass., where our longtime (and fabulous) accompanist, Edwin Swanborn, is Music Director. We hope to see our South Shore and Cape Cod friends for a fantastic afternoon of the best in Jewish choral music. Stay tuned for ticket details.  

JaZZamir at Sanders

Sunday, June 6 at 8:00 pm, Sa
Zamir at Sanders 2008nders Theatre, Cambridge: Mark your calendars (or program your phones) NOW because you won't want to miss JaZZamir, our annual spring concert. JaZZamir features jazz music from Israel, the Yiddish theater, the Broadway stage, and the synagogue. Zamir will be joined by guest performers Hankus Netsky, piano; Taki Masuko, percussion; and Amir Millstein, flute. Highlights include tunes by Dave Brubeck, Kurt Weill, Jef Labes, Ziggy Elman, as well as George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" and selections from Porgy and Bess, "A Yidisha Charleston," "Venezuela," "Niga El Ha-Chalom," and "Java Jive" (in Hebrew). This concert honors Peter and Nancy Finn, and Alan Teperow and Suzanne Hanser, devoted board members who work tirelessly on behalf of the Chorale.
Gala Alumni Weekend Celebrating 40 Years

Despite the first snowstorm of the year
Tep and Joyce, over 200 Zamirniks, family members, and fans turned out to celebrate Zamir's 40th anniversary on Saturday, December 5 at Jewish Family and Children's Services in Waltham. Alumni from around the U.S. enjoyed reuniting with old friends, munching on latkes, and dancing to the music of the Zaitchik Brothers Band. Event co-chairs Alan Teperow and Joyce Bohnen hosted the evening in grand style, toasting a stellar list of honorees. Pictured above: Joyce Bohnen and Alan Teperow

Susan Carp-Nesson, the evening's special honoree, was acknowledged for her 37 years of wonderful musicianship a
Nesson familynd service to the Zamir Chorale. Alto section leader Johanna Ehrmann led the tribute, along with altos past and present, who sang Sue's praises with parody songs and fond reminiscences. Sue's husband and longtime tenor Dan Nesson and their daughter, Emma, treated Sue to original and touching songs. Pictured: Dan Nesson, Emma Nesson, Sue Carp-Nesson

Also honored were four virtuoso alumni representing Zamir's four decades: 1970s: Joni Schockett Zamir honorees(presentation by Marilyn Stern); 1980s: Heather Zacker (presentation by Francene and Scott Sokol); 1990s: Andrew Greene (presentation by Susan Rubin); and 2000s: Peter Squires (presentation by Andrew GreenePhil Goldman). Thank you all for your devotion, spirit, and leadership over the years.  Pictured above (l-r): Peter Squires, Heather Zacker, Joni Schockett, Sue Carp-Nesson. Pictured left: Andrew Greene

And what's a Zamir gathering without choral music? Throughout the evening, guests gathered around a projection screen to follow the scores of old favorites. After a Zumba dance interlude led by Cori Grande, Josh Ja
cobson capped off the ceremonies with memories and images from 1969, ending with a boisterous community rendition of Zamir's anthem, "HaZamir." Thanks to the fabulous committee members for all their energy and hard work! Singing to Sue
Pictured above: Deborah Melkin, Susan Rubin, Anne Levy, Phyllis Werlin

The festivities continued on Sunday, December 6, at Temple Reyim, with our fourth annual Open Sing, featuring choruses from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus and a medley of Hanukkah music. Open Sing 09Close to 200 singers representing many choruses from the Greater Boston area enjoyed a lively afternoon under the baton of Josh Jacobson, with Ed Swanborn, piano; Taki Masuko, percussion; and Becky Wexler, clarinet. Zamir is grateful to Phyllis and Michael z"l Hammer for underwriting the Open Sing and to an Alfred Nash Patterson grant from Choral Arts New England. See you again next year!

Third Time's the Charm

We made it! After a couple of unforeseen postponements, Zamir appeared at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, on Sunday, November 8. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed a spirited concert featuring Zamir's trademark smorgasbord of Jewish music from around the world, around the centuries, and in a variety of styles. The temple's Cantor Arik Wolheim joined the group for several solos.

"Song Is the Pen of the Soul" at ANTS

Zamir at ANTSShimmering sunshine illuminated the beautiful new Wilson Chapel on the campus of the Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) on November 15 as Zamir joined the Andover Newton Community Choir for "Song Is the Pen of the Soul: An Interfaith Interchange." In addition to inspiring spiritual music from several traditions, the event included comments by Maestro Jacobson and Hebrew College President Rabbi Daniel Lehmann about Jewish spirituality through singing. Priscilla Deck, ANTS Vice President, contributed remarks about Christian traditions, and the entire audience joined in a rousing sing-along led by ANTS choral conductor Reverend Burns Stanfield.

Photos courtesy of Mickey Goldin and Larry Sandberg
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far.

Barbara Gaffin
Managing Director 
Deborah Sosin
Editor, E-Notes