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In This Issue
Josh Jacobson's Musings
Spring Roundup
Tribute to Sue Carp-Nesson, z"l
Zamir Auditions
Upcoming Concerts
Rachel Miller Elected Chorus President
Board Set for 2015-16

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Baruch Dayan Ha-Emet
Sue Carp-Nesson, z"l
Rachel Miller Elected
Chorus President
Newly elected chorus president, Rachel Miller
We are delighted to announce that Rachel Miller has been elected to serve as president of the chorus. 

Rachel has been singing with the Zamir Chorale since 2009, enjoying  the musicianship and spirited camaraderie of the choir.  Her professional background has included health care research, computer programming, early childhood education, and adult education program development. Currently, she works as a pastry chef and instructor. While raising four children, Rachel volunteered in the Needham Public Schools and served multiple times as PTA president for a combined total of almost ten years.  "I am truly honored and excited to be elected president of Zamir and hope to contribute to our future successes," says Rachel. 

Elana Rome, soprano, will continue to serve as vice president. Leadership of the chorus is a volunteer undertaking and involves countless hours of organizing, attending board and staff meetings, decision making, and, most important, communicating the needs and concerns of the choir to the artistic director.

Judy Pike

 Zamir is grateful to outgoing president

Judy Pike, who introduced new innovations that strengthened various aspects of the group, and made Zamir's time together more
fun as well as musically satisfying.

Board Set for 2015-16
Fun Fotos
SUMMER 2015 

Dear Friends of Zamir,


It's been a busy and uplifting spring of music and celebration, a welcome balm to some of the challenges we face in our country and in the world.
But we have lost a shining light in our own Zamir family--alumna Sue Carp-Nesson, whom we remember in this issue. Making music is Zamir's truest form of healing--Josh Jacobson, in his "Musings," explores the concept of "moderation," noting Zamir's "immoderate" commitment to bringing Jewish choral music to new and old audiences, to connect and to move forward together in community. So sit back with a cool glass of lemonade and catch up on all things Zamir. And while you're at it, get out your calendars to mark what's coming up for 2015-16!

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.


Is moderation necessarily a Josh Jacobson good thing? Plato reputedly said, "Moderation in all things." But then our Bostonian Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson emended, "Moderation in all things, especially moderation."

Should you be moderate in safety? Should you be moderate in loving your parents or your children or your grandchildren? Should you be moderate in creativity?


In Jewish tradition, we are said to be governed by two competing impulses: yetser ha-tov and yetser ha-ra--the inclination to do good and the inclination to do evil. Think of them like the ubiquitous cartoon characters--the angel sitting on your right shoulder and the devil sitting on your left shoulder, each whispering conflicting advice into your ear.


But the tradition is actually more nuanced than that. The prophet Isaiah famously taught: "I form light and I create darkness, I make well-being and I create evil--I the LORD do all these things." (Is. 45:7) Hmm. The devil and the angel--according to Isaiah, both are Divine manifestations.


And what were the trees in the Garden of Eden that were forbidden to Adam and Eve? The tree of life and the tree of knowing both good and bad. When expelled from Eden, Adam and Eve became humans, with a life that included both the good and the bad. That is part of the human condition.


Or, as Israeli composer Naomi Shemer put it, "Good Lord, preserve all these things: both the honey and the stinger, both the sweet and the bitter."


And check out this midrash, this ancient homily: In Genesis 1:31, we read that after the end of the entire process of creation, "God saw all that God had made, and behold it was very good."


Rabbis and literary critics tend to hang on every word and look for hidden meaning. Rabbi Nahman said, "And behold, it was very good," which refers to yetser ha-ra, the evil impulse. And he explains, "If it weren't for the evil impulse, no one would build a house, no one would marry, no one would beget children, and no one would engage in business."


The rabbis here understood yetser ha-ra in the sense of inspiration, the impulse to be productive--the muse, the impulse that takes us beyond satisfaction and ignites the spark of creativity, the desire to imitate God--to create, to be creative.


Perhaps we can think of yetser ha-tov and yetser ha-ra as two

When we create music, we are uniquely involving and coordinating both sides of our brains.

necessary, complementary forces in our lives: yin and yang, right brain and left brain. In fact, neuropsychologists tell us that when we create music, we are uniquely involving and coordinating both sides of our brains.


The late great psychologist Professor Abraham Maslow wrote about the self-actualizing human, the person who goes beyond moderation, who craves "peak experiences," stimulating experiences--whether climbing Mt. Everest or visiting a museum, composing or listening to a symphony, engaging in an empathetic relationship or seeking spiritual uplift. The seeker is not satisfied with moderation; he or she demands more from life. Not satisfaction but rapture. Not passivity but creativity, tikkun olam--the impulse to change the world, to make the world a better place. To strive higher and higher--le'ela le'ela.


There is no moderation in holiness, there is no moderation in creativity, there is no moderation in joy.

The great American poet Anne Sexton wrote, "Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance." Perhaps she is saying: there is no moderation in holiness, there is no moderation in creativity, there is no moderation in joy.


We thank you for supporting Zamir's immoderate commitment to musical creativity, to the holiness of creativity, to the joy of inspiration.


SRO at Emanuel for "South of the Border"


Cantor Elias Rosemberg, Josh Jacobson, and Zamir

On June 4, Temple Emanuel hosted a standing-room-only crowd for our annual spring concert, "South of the Border," featuring Latin music, with soloist and honoree Cantor Elias Rosemberg; and special guests, the Tucan Trio. The evening began with the world premiere of young composer Jeremiah Klarman's dramatic setting of "Yah Ribon Alam." The Tucan Trio, comprised of Hagai Rehavia on guitar, Amir Milstein on flute, and Joca Perpignan on percussion, then entertained the rapt audience with a powerful set of vocal and instrumental works from South America.


Zamir performs with the Tucan Trio
Following the intermission and words of recognition for Cantor Rosemberg by Ruth and Jon Tepper, the concert co-chairs, Zamir offered a solo set including Aguiar's "Salmo 150," "Mata del Anima Sola," by Estevez, with Cantor Rosemberg; and "Venezuela" with soloist Rich Lustig sporting a sombrero. 
Concert co-chair Jon Tepper shows off the pink polyester shirt he wore when he performed with Zamir in the 70s. Here, with Ruth Tepper, concert co-chair.
Combining forces for the final set, Zamir and the trio offered "Alfonsina," by Ramirez; and concluded with "Cancion con todos" (Song with All), which had the audience on their feet, clapping and dancing along. The always-outstanding band included Taki Masuko, percussion; Bruce Creditor, clarinet; and John Shiu, bass.


Left to right: Robert Snyder, Zamir chair; Barbara Gaffin, Managing Director; Joca Perpignan, Hagai Rehavia, Josh Jacobson, Amir Milstein, Ruth Tepper, Jon Tepper, Cantor Elias Rosemberg

Hats Off to Tep! 

Tep and Zamir enjoy a laugh; Andrew Mattfeld, guest conductor


On June 22, Zamir and Safam,

the renowned pop-rock group, performed at a joint concert at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley to honor beloved community leader, former board chair, and longtime Zamirnik Alan "Tep" Teperow upon his retirement from the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. The Chorale kicked off the evening with Nick Page's "K'Ayal Ta'arog" and our own Andrews Sisters' version of "Ba Mir Bistu Sheyn," with Susan Rubin singling out the very "sheyn" Tep. Then Tep himself took the reins as bass soloist for "Der Rebbe," and the group treated the revelers to Rutter's moving musical embrace, "The Lord Bless You."


Tep takes the stage with Zamir and Safam. 

Safam, now in its 43rd year, grew out of Dan Funk's and Alan Nelson's participation in Zamir way back when. Now the six-man band is known worldwide for their Jewish-American music in various styles: rock and roll, pop, folk, Latin, Chassidic, and cantorial. Other members include Joel Sussman, Cantor Robbie Solomon, and Mark Snyder. Their rousing set got the audience clapping with "Just Another Foreigner" and "Bashanah Haba'ah." Former board chair Joyce Bohnen offered a tribute to Tep, standing in for Josh, who is recuperating from surgery (he's doing well). The assembled crowd enjoyed a slideshow of Tep's life as he offered his own comments and reflections.


The two groups joined forces to close the celebration with Cantor Solomon's arrangements of "Pit'chu Li" and "Yah Ribon Alam." Safam took the stage again for their ever-popular parody of "Adon Olam," set to the tune of "Blue Moon," with Tep doo-wopping along. Thanks, Tep, for all of your gifts, and best of luck as you step into new ventures!

Above photos by Mickey Goldin

Middle East Harmonies at the State House Plus Chorus America Convention on June 18 

Zamir and Jerusalem Youth Chorus
Zamir with the Jerusalem Youth Chorus at the State House. Senate President Stan Rosenberg (far left), State Senator Cynthia Creem (second from right), and Consul General Yehuda Yaakov (far right) also attended the performance.

On June 18, Zamir was privileged to participate in two truly special events in downtown Boston. First up, we joined the phenomenal Jerusalem Youth Chorus of the Jerusalem International YMCA in a performance at the Massachusetts State House. The YMCA JYC empowers young singers from East and West Jerusalem to become leaders for peace in their communities by providing a space where they can engage one another in musical and verbal dialogue.


State Sen Citation State Senator Cynthia Creem presented Andrew Mattfeld, Zamir's assistant conductor, and Micah Hendler, JYC's founder and conductor, with an official citation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate in recognition of "Your building community by bringing people together through song and for your first performance in the Massachusetts State House with the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus."


Following a memorable tour of the State House, the choruses convened at the foot of the Grand Staircase to perform. Zamir offered Lewandowski's "Mah Tovu," "Kafe Bekef," and "Salmo 150," as part of the short program. The JYC's jubilant set included a piece they composed themselves, a demonstration of their East-West collaboration; as well as deeply felt improvisational solos offered by each member. Finally, the groups joined together for "Adinu" and "Akanamandla" (We Have the Power), then walked out into the audience in a spontaneous encore of a song loosely translated as "We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For," resulting in a sparkling and moving community experience. Thank you to State Senator Creem for sponsoring this event.

 State House photos by Abigail Searle


Later that day, Zamir reconvened to perform at a lecture-recital titled "Great Choral Music on Jewish Texts," as part of the annual Chorus America conference, held at the Boston Park Plaza. Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol presided, reading Josh's remarks and serving as guest soloist along with Cantor Peter Halpern. Andrew Mattfeld conducted, with Ed Swanborn on piano. Highlights included Schiller's "Halleluhu," with Cantor Louise Treitman; Janowski's "Sim Shalom," with Cantor Halpern; and Milhaud's "Kedushah," with Rav-Hazzan Sokol. Jonathan Miller, who was composer Max Janowski's assistant, was in attendance, and offered wonderful reminiscences of growing up in Janowski's synagogue.


Auf Wiedersehen to German Consul General Schütte  


On May 18, Zamir's chamber singers performed as part of a special farewell event for outgoing German Consul General Rolf Schütte at the Goethe Institute in the Back Bay. The short program included Nick Page's arrangement of Jagoda's "Hamisha Asar"; Holländer's "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt," with Dietrich-esque soloist Anne Levy; and Oakland's "Kafe Bekef," with Susan Rubin, soloist. The singers, accompanied by Zamir's own Ed Swanborn, surrounded Consul General Schütte for Rutter's "The Lord Bless You" to close out the touching tribute. At the sumptuous reception, Consul Schütte shook each choir member's hand in thanks and told some singers that it meant a great deal to him to have Zamir perform. Vielen Dank and alles Gute!


Interfaith Song at the Newton Arts Festival

Left to right: Cantor Peter Halpern, Josh Jacobson, Linda Plaut, Rabbi Eric Gurvis, Gloria Gurvis

On May 17, Zamir performed for the Newton Arts Festival, in a concert held at Temple Shalom in Newton. This interfaith concert was designed to bring together cantors and choirs from throughout Newton. The event was hosted by Temple Shalom's Rabbi Eric Gurvis, with music directors Cantor Peter Halpern, Joe Fort, and Joshua Jacobson. Gloria Gurvis served as chair of the festival's executive committee, which was headed by Linda Plaut, from the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs.


Following greetings from Mayor Setti Warren,

Newton Mayor Setti Warren

the combined choirs offered Page's sing-along "There's Honey in the Rock," followed by "Adinu," by Abu-Khader and de Quadros. Community choirs contributing their talents included First Unitarian Society in Newton, conducted by Anne Watson Born; Grace Episcopal Church of Newton, conducted by Joe Fort; St. Ignatius Church, conducted by Michael Burgo; and the Love Tones from the Myrtle Baptist Church of West Newton. Zamir was delighted to have Cantor Elias Rosemberg as soloist for Lewandowski's "Mah Tovu," and Cantor Peter Halpern as soloist for Janowski's "Sim Shalom." The entire group sang Lazar's arrangement of "Amen Shem Nora" to top off the spirited, and spiritually meaningful, festivities.


As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Have a wonderful summer, wherever you are!



Barbara Gaffin             Deborah Sosin

Managing Director         Editor, E-Notes