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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

To place an ad in honor of Heather or Charles, just click on 
Deadline for tributes is April 11.

To purchase tickets online, 
click below

Charles Coe
Charles Coe (Photo by Roberto Mighty)

Charles Coe is program officer for the Cultural Investment Portfolio grant program at the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He is author of two books of poetry: All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents and Picnic on the Moon, both published by Leapfrog Press. He also writes feature articles, book and music reviews, and personal and humor essays.


Charles's poetry has appeared in a number of literary reviews and anthologies, including Poesis, The Mom Egg, Solstice Literary Review, and Urban Nature. His poems have been set by a number of composers, including Beth Denisch, Julia Carey, and Robert Moran. His prose has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. In addition, he is co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union, a labor union for freelance writers. 


Charles has been selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a "Boston Literary Light for 2014."

Heather Zacker
Heather Zacker
Heather B. Zacker sang with Zamir from 1986 to 2002 as a proud member of the alto section. In 1999 she organized the choir's Eastern European tour and associated PBS film.  
Heather has held numerous volunteer roles with the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, notably as chair of its marketing committee and a member of its finance committee, and she was honored with SSDS's Exceptional Volunteer award. For two years she chaired Hebrew College's Board of Overseers during a time of major transition. 
Heather still performs from time to time, and writes the occasional parenting column for The Jewish Advocate. She and her family are active Newton Center Minyan members.


Heather is Director of International Programs and Operations for Joslin Diabetes Center, bringing her commitment to public health and her business skills to improve diabetes prevention and treatment capabilities in countries around the world. 


Heather and her husband, David Harlow, a health care lawyer and consultant, are blessed with three children, all of whom share their parents' passion for music, family, and community. 

Zamir CDs
In each issue of E-Notes, we will feature "Fans' Favorites."
Our top pick for Spring 2014 is 
The Renaissance of 
Jewish Music


In July 2003, Zamir traveled to Italy, home of the oldest Jewish community in Europe. Recorded in some of Italy's most beautiful (both visually and acoustically) synagogues, concert halls, museums, and churches, this exciting recording spans four centuries of the musical heritage of the Italian Jewish community, from Salamone Rossi through Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. 


SPRING 2014 

Dear Friends of Zamir,


Warmest springtime greetings to you! We are gearing up for our grand season finale, "Elijah Rocks," at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, on May 19. Read all about it in Josh Jacobson's "Musings" below and get your tickets soon. We're also heading up to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, on April 6, and look forward to seeing our downeaster friends for a terrific afternoon of Jewish choral music! All best wishes to you and your families for a wonderful Pesach celebration. 

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. 


Music is a powerful "language" that can evoke tears or a smile, comfort or excitement. Certain songs tug at our heartstrings far more than the words alone. In the movies, music is used to specify or to heighten a scene's emotion. And in the theater, music can "paint a scene" to help locate, for example, Bizet's Carmen in sunny Spain, or The King and I in Siam.


For centuries, music has been used to vivify the stories of the Hebrew Bible. In fact, these stories were originally not spoken, but chanted, a practice that can still be found in contemporary synagogues. In eighteenth-century England, George Frederic Handel made his 

Josh Jacobson
Josh Jacobson

reputation as a great portrayer of the biblical sagas through his oratorios Judas Maccabaeus, Israel in Egypt, Esther, Saul, Solomon, to name a few. 


On May 19, the Zamir Chorale of Boston will present a program we're calling "Elijah Rocks," featuring exciting music from a variety of traditions--classical, romantic, contemporary, jazz, folk songs, and spirituals. This multimedia presentation brings to life some great stories from the Bible.


The mystery of the Creation is evoked through mystical chanting, and through the edgy synthesizer-assisted music of Daniel Pinkham. The tragedy of Cain and Abel is felt through Yehezkel Braun's dynamic music, composed originally for the Gesher Ha-Yarkon vocal trio.


The tale of Noah and the flood is presented in a more lighthearted fashion, with music from Michael Flanders and Joseph Horovitz's musical, Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo. It's British humour at its "veddy" best. And we top that off with Mati Kaspi's take on Noah's farewell to the animals, as arranged for jazz choir by Tzvi Sherf.


Then we turn to the Exodus, with a stunning arrangement by Robert Shaw of the African-American spiritual "Let My People Go." In "Hafley VaFele," Yedidyah Admon uses his Middle Eastern songwriting skills to tell the story of Moses striking the rock to provide water for his people in the wilderness. And then the one and only Nick Page will join us on stage to lead the chorus and audience in "Honey in the Rock."

Next up, we hear two stories of Moses' servant Joshua: first through the dramatic lens of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, and then in Moses Hogan's fantastic rhythmic arrangement of "The Battle of Jericho."


Our program concludes with three views of the prophet Elijah: Elijah as our Passover Seder visitor, using the traditional Ashkenazic melody; Elijah's ascent to Heaven in a fiery chariot, as set by Felix Mendelssohn; and finally, Hall Johnson's scintillating spiritual, "Elijah Rock."


The evening also includes a slide show; music from the Zamir band; and narrations by our distinguished honorees, Charles Coe and Heather Zacker. Hope to see you there. You're going to love it! 


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 [email protected].


Monday, May 19, 7:30 pm, "Elijah Rocks" at Sanders Theatre, Cambridge: 

Reserve your tickets now for our season finale, "Elijah Rocks." This multimedia presentation will bring to life some of the great stories from the Bible. Experience the creation of the world, 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 furnace, and more. Special guest: the incomparable singer/songleader Nick Page. This year, we are delighted to honor Charles Coe, noted poet and arts advocate; and Heather Zacker, Zamir alumna extraordinaire and healthcare executive. For tickets: ofa.fas.harvard.edu or contact: [email protected].


Luckart Gallery Soiree Honors Zamir Donors


On March 17, Zamir's chamber chorus

Painting by Marcia Cooper
Three Viewpoints by Marcia Cooper

performed at our annual donor appreciation event, held at the beautiful Luckart Gallery in Newton. The lively group of donors and fans sipped wine and noshed on cheese and crackers (and jelly beans and chocolate!) while admiring the artwork, including that of one of the event's coordinators, Marcia Cooper. The program featured Passover-themed tunes such as Braun's arrangements of "Eliyahu Ha-Navi" and "Adir Hu," and Hal Katzman rocked the house with "Dayenu." In addition, the group offered a sneak peek of excerpts from the upcoming "Elijah Rocks"concert. "It was a wonderful evening in an intimate setting of great music and nice people," said attendee Tim Stanton. Many thanks to Marcia Cooper and Jeff Rosenberg, who spearheaded the event. And thanks to all of the donors who support our mission to bring the very best in Jewish choral music to audiences around the world.


Cantor Finklestein Honored at Mishkan Tefila

On March 2, Zamir performed a special concert honoring Cantor Aryeh Finklestein's 28 years of musical leadership, offered as part of the Boston Jewish Music Festival, at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill. The program's first half featured the stirring oratorio Like Wildflowers, Suddenly, about the founding of Israel and the quest for peace, music by Cantor Charles Osborne, lyrics by Cantor Finklestein. Cantor Lynn Torgove joined Cantor Osborne in a soulful, rich performance, along with full orchestra. The second half consisted of a tribute to the honoree; a Yiddish theater set; and a rousing set of liturgical favorites arranged for orchestra by Josh Jacobson, featuring Cantor Finklestein as soloist. 


Open Sing: Judas Maccabaeus at Newton City Hall

An enthusiastic group of singers representing choruses from all over Greater Boston joined Zamir on March 9 for our annual Open Sing of favorite choruses from Handel's magnificent oratorio Judas Maccabaeus, presented this year by the Newton Cultural Center. Handel would no doubt have been pleased with the grand setting and wonderful acoustics in the hall. In a letter to Josh, Linda R. Plaut, Director of the Mayor's Office for Cultural Affairs, wrote: "I just wanted to express my deep appreciation to you, Barbara [Gaffin], and all of the members of the Zamir Chorale who participated for all of the effort expended to make the event the great success that it was. How joyous to hear Handel's music in our beautiful Cultural Center at City Hall. Such a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and such an appropriate use of this community space." Thank you, Linda, for hosting this terrific event. 


Pesach Palooza at SSDS

On March 9, in the second of two performances that day, Zamir took to the stage at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, along with hundreds of young singers. The packed house enjoyed the splendid voices of the various SSDS choruses. Highlights of the Zamir set included a doo-wop version of "Dayenu" based on Paul Anka's song, "Diana," with Michael Zaitchik on piano, Taki Masuko on percussion, and James Wharton on sax. The audience learned to count to 13 and sing along in Ladino for "Quen Supiense." Gaston Bogolmoni showed his cantorial virtuosity for Oysher's "Chad Gadyo." After the concert, SSDS's Head of Music, Trudy Fagen, wrote to Josh: "Parents of younger kids loved hearing the older kids. Parents of the older kids were charmed by the younger kids, and everyone loved Zamir."


Singing for Seniors 

On February 2, Zamir performed our annual concert for the residents at Hebrew SeniorLife in Roslindale. The program included selections from Zamir's repertoire, including Janowski's "Sim Shalom," Bernstein's "Sanctus" and Bloch's "Kedushah" from Sacred Service, as well as Shaw's arrangement of "Go Down Moses." Six of Zamir's singers lent their conducting talents to the occasion. At the end of the short program, the group surrounded the audience in a musical embrace with John Rutter's stirring "The Lord Bless You." 


Hanukkah Happened (A Little Later Than Expected) at Emanuel

On January 19, the 24th annual Hanukkah Happens concert, "Jewish Love Songs," delayed because of a snowstorm, was held at Temple Emanuel in Newton to a warm and enthusiastic reception. Accompanied by Hinda Tzivia Eisen's now-traditional slideshow with translated and illustrated texts, the program featured Braun's Shir HaShirim. Other highlights included Whitacre's Five Hebrew Love Songs and a set of wedding tunes from Ladino to contemporary rock. Cantor Elias Rosemberg's rich baritone filled the sanctuary for Mahler's "Rheinlegendchen"; and several romantic selections, including the duets "You Are Love," from Showboat, with Naomi Gurt Lind; and "We'll Go Away Together," from Street Scene, with Betty Bauman. For a surprise first-half finale, the chorus stepped off the bima and led the audience in a jumbo-sized hora that swirled around the hall as the remaining seated people clapped and sang. The lively band included Taki Masuko on percussion, Glenn Dickson on clarinet, Jim Guttman on bass, Gerald Mordis on violin, and Ed Swanborn on piano.

Photos by Larry Sandberg


As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Chag Kasher v'Sameah! Happy Passover, and 

see you in May at Sanders Theatre!



Barbara Gaffin 

Managing Director


Deborah Sosin

Editor, E-Notes