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In This Issue
Josh Jacobson's Musings
Upcoming Concerts
Fall Roundup

Quick Links

Save the Date!
Elijah Rocks
The Bible According to Zamir
*classical*  *jazz*  *traditional*

Monday, May 19, 2014
7:30 pm
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge
Charles Coe 
noted poet and arts activist
Heather Zacker
Zamir alumna extraordinaire and healthcare executive

Keeping Jewish Music Alive in Berlin

Josh Jacobson was recently invited to teach two classes at the annual Louis Lewandowski Festival, where he now serves as a board member. Zamir was thrilled to be a featured participant in the inaugural festival in 2011, but, according to Josh, "This year's festival was no letdown...The organizers of the festival go out of their way to promote Jewish culture and to preserve the music of the pre-war period." 


For photos and to read Josh's full article, visit Zamir's website, www.zamir.org.

Zamir CDs
In each issue of E-Notes, we will feature "Fans' Favorites."
Our top pick for Winter 2013 is 


From Boston to Berlin includes highlights from our 2011 tour, including tunes from the synagogue bima to the cabaret stage. Recorded live in concert June 2012 at Slosberg Recital Hall, Brandeis University. 



Zamir Singers Lend Their Voices to Butterfly

(Pictured L-R: Anne Levy, Susan Rubin, Heather Viola, Sharon Brown Goldstein, Deborah Melkin, Johanna Ehrmann)

In December, six women from the Chorale performed Yiddish songs in two performances of the play I Never Saw Another Butterfly, presented at the Hopkinton Middle School. Written by Celeste Raspanti and directed by Hallyann Gifford, the play draws on the art and poetry that children created in the Terezin concentration camp in 1943.

WINTER 2014 

Dear Friends of Zamir,


Happy 2014! We're pausing midseason to catch our collective breath after a busy fall of concertizing. For our Boston-area fans, the annual "Hanukkah Happens" concert at Temple Emanuel in Newton, which was postponed because of snow, will now be held on Sunday, January 19, at 7:30. Details below. We hope you'll join us then! In the meantime, enjoy Josh Jacobson's latest musing on the true meaning of choral blend, the full scoop on upcoming concerts, and a look back at our most recent activities.

In each issue of E-Notes, Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers his unique insights and experiences as a world-renowned scholar, composer, conductor, and influential teacher of Jewish music. 


Choral conductors work hard to achieve what is generally called "blend" in the choral sound. Essentially that involves ensuring that each singer is listening to the other singers in the ensemble and trying to match

Josh Jacobson
Josh Jacobson

vowel quality (timbre), loudness (dynamic), intonation (pitch), and timing (rhythm). 


One of the great choral conductors of the early 20th century was Fred Waring (1900-84), who developed a unique blended sound with his "Waring's Pennsylvanians" and taught his technique in workshops for choral conductors for nearly 40 years. In 1938, Waring hired Robert Shaw to be his assistant, and Shaw then spread the gospel through the many ensembles that he conducted. Interesting sidebar: In 1938, Waring brought his technique into the food preparation business with a

new invention, an electric food processor that he called the "Waring blendor [sic]." 


But is it really possible to completely merge one's vocal sound with that of another? Many unenlightened voice teachers warn their students never to sing in a chorus, because they would have to compromise their vocal technique. Pfooey! The beauty of the choral sound arises from the fact that no two voices are exactly alike. An ensemble of clones wouldn't sound like a chorus. That is the delightful irony of choral singing. While we strive to merge our musical egos with our fellow singers, we realize and appreciate the limitations of such an endeavor. 


There is an interesting parallel in Jewish philosophy. The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 5:4) uses a parable to demonstrate the greatness of God. Humans can mint coins and every coin emerges from the mold looking absolutely identical. But the Creator mints humans, and each and every human being is unique. 


And that's the beauty of the choral ensemble, as well. We are 50-plus individuals, each with our unique selfhood. But when we come together to sing, we merge our identities and become as one, connected to one another through the sweet magic of harmony. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014, 7:30 pm, Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St., Newton: "Hanukkah Happens XXIV"--rescheduled from December 17. Don't miss this lively and heart-warming program of Jewish love songs, featuring Cantor Elias Rosemberg. For details, go to: templeemanuel.com/whats-happening.



Sunday, March 2, 4:00 pm, Congregation Mishkan Tefila, 300 Hammond Pond Parkway, Chestnut Hill: We are delighted to join Cong. Mishkan Tefila in honoring Cantor Aryeh Finklestein. The special program will feature the stunning oratorio Like Wildflowers, Suddenly, composed by Cantor Charles Osborne, lyrics by Cantor Finklestein. For more information: mishkantefila.org.


Sunday, March 9, 1:30-2:30 pm, Newton City Hall, 1000 Open Sing 2012 women Commonwealth Ave., Newton: Join us for our popular Open Sing, featuring favorite choruses from Handel's magnificent oratorio Judas Maccabaeus. Presented this year by the Newton Cultural Center, the event is open to singers from the Greater Boston area and beyond. Scores will be provided. Audience observers are welcome too! Details will be posted at: newtonma.gov/gov/parks/arts/Default.asp


Sunday, March 9, 5:00 pm, Solomon Schechter Day School, 125 Wells Ave., Newton: Yes! It's a Sunday double-header. After the Open Sing, hop across town to enjoy another tradition! Zamir will perform a set as part of the SSDS annual Children's Concert. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon.  


Painting by Marcia Cooper

Three Viewpoints by 
Marcia Cooper, recently on display at the Luckart Gallery 

Monday, March 17, 7:30 pm, Luckart Gallery, 438 Lexington St., Auburndale: Zamir's annual donor appreciation event will feature the Zamir Chamber Chorus in an intimate setting performing a selection of Zamir's greatest hits, and a sneak peek at our spring concert, "Elijah Rocks." Complimentary admission for donors who contributed $360 or above in 2013-2014; suggested donation for general admission: $36. Seating is limited; kosher refreshments will be served.  RSVP http://zamirdonorappreciation.eventbrite.com


Sunday, April 6, 2:00 pm, Studzinski Hall, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine: Zamir will hit the road for a performance in Maine--a full-spectrum concert drawn from our far-ranging repertoire, including classical, folk, popular, jazz, and liturgical choral music from eight countries, composed over four centuries. For details, go to: bowdoin.edu/music/calendar/ or email Dsmall@bowdoin.edu.


Monday, May 19, 7:30 pm, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge:

Save the date for Zamir's annual spring concert, "Elijah Rocks." This multimedia presentation willl bring to life some of the great stories from the Bible. Experience the creation of the world; and the stories of Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, Moses and the exodus, Joshua at the walls of Jericho, Elijah with the fiery chariot, Shadrach in the fiery furnace, and more. Special guest: the incomparable singer/songleader Nick Page. This year, we are delighted to honor poet and arts activist Charles Coe, of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Zamir alumna and health executive Heather Zacker. Stay tuned for more details in our spring issue. Contact info: manager@zamir.org


"A Light Through the Ages" at Boston's Emmanuel Church

Central Reform Temple
On December 1, Zamir participated in "A Light Through the Ages," a free Hanukkah concert sponsored by the Central Reform Temple and Rabbi Howard Berman. The program featured songs such as Adler's arrangement of the traditional "Maoz Tsur," Binder's "Candle Blessings," and the "Hallelujah, Amen" chorus from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus. Cantor Elias Rosemberg served as soloist for Secunda's "Pis'chu Li." A packed crowd in the resonant sanctuary at Emmanuel Church enjoyed a dramatic retelling of the Hanukkah story, focusing on key moments in Jewish history. At the end, the entire congregation of hundreds as well as the choir joined Rabbi Berman in raising lit candles, a symbol of hope and strength. 


Songs with Rav-Hazzan Sokol 

Scott Sokol with ZCB at Fenway 2013

On November 24, Zamir spent a fabulous afternoon at Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, making music with last spring's honoree and Zamir alum, Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol. The program featured multiple settings of "Adon Olam"; as well as selections from our Israeli, Yiddish, and jazz repertoire. Highlights included Scott's sublime rendition of "Avinu She-ba-shamayim," by Zim; and Secunda's "Pis'chu Li." The audience also enjoyed Anne Levy's Marlene Dietrich-inspired performance of "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt," by Hollander, complete with cigarette holder and feather boa. Many thanks to Scott and the Temple Beth Sholom community for hosting! 


Ninety Is the New Seventy

Dembling soiree

On November 3, a chamber chorus from Zamir performed at the home of Paul and Nancy Dembling in Needham, Mass., to celebrate the 90th birthday of David Dembling, Paul's father. The group offered a smorgasbord of old favorites, including Elman's "And the Angels Sing," Nini's "Aval Ahava," Oakland's "KafÚ BeKef," and Rossi's "Adon Olam." Becky Wexler, clarinet; Taki Masuko, percussion; and Edwin Swanborn, piano, provided the lively accompaniment. The honoree, a Holocaust survivor, led the singers in Pokras's "Zog Nit Keynmol"; and, as shown here, danced with our "Ba Mir Bistu Sheyn" Andrews Sisters, Elana Rome, Anne Levy, and Sharon Brown Goldstein. Happy Birthday, and many more--bis 120 yor!


"Open Your Eyes" at Newton's Temple Shalom

Temple Shalom, NewtonOn October 27, Zamir performed at Temple Shalom in  "Open Your Eyes, a concert postponed from last winter. Cantor Peter Halpern joined Zamir for several solos, including HalÚvy's "Min Hametsar." The Temple Shalom Choir joined Zamir to perform Cantor Halpern's setting of "Tov Lehodot." This concert was produced as part of the Anita Wyner z"l "Open Your Eyes" series. Anita was one of the temple's founders and a veritable celebrity in the community. Other highlights included Whitacre's "Five Hebrew Love Songs"; Lavri's "Emek," with Larry Sandberg, Deborah Melkin, and Susan Rubin; Schiller's "Halleluhu," with Louise Treitman; and Rutter's moving "The Lord Bless You."


Sacred Music at Saint John's Seminary

St John's SeminaryA week earlier, on October 27, Zamir's chamber chorus performed Jewish sacred music from many eras at Saint John's Seminary in Brighton. In the seminary's beautiful and acoustically glorious chapel, the singers offered three themes. First, "Sanctus/Kedusha," which included Bernstein's "Sanctus" from MASS and Bloch's "Kedusha" from Sacred Service. The next theme, "Psalms," included liturgical settings by Rossi and HalÚvy. For a set related to "Prayers," the repertoire included Lampl's lush "Adon Olam"; Rosenblum's "Untaneh Tokef," with Gilbert Schiffer, solo; Janowski's "Sim Shalom," with Cantor Peter Halpern; and Corigliano's "Forever Young," with Betty Bauman.


Photos by Lawrence Sandberg


As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Stay warm and be well. See you in the spring! 


Barbara Gaffin 

Managing Director


Deborah Sosin

Editor, E-Notes