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FALL 2016 
Dear Friends of Zamir,

Shanah Tovah to you! We are gearing up for another exciting season of Jewish choral music, in which we'll be delving deeply into Psalms in a variety of genres--the subject of Josh Jacobson's "Musings "in this issue. Check out the Sidebar for news about our new members and conducting interns. We look forward to seeing you at our New England concerts!
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.
Psalms. What book has ever been set to music more often than the Book of Psalms? Jews and Josh Jacobson Christians have been interpreting these 150 songs (and they were originally songs, not poems) for thousands of years--as Gregorian chant, synagogue Psalmody, catchy Hallel tunes, stately hymns, and musical masterworks.

What book has ever been set to music more often than the Book of Psalms?
The English word "psalm" is derived from the Latin psalmus, derived in turn from the Greek ψαλμός (psalmós), a translation of the Hebrew mizmor, which originally meant "song to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument." In fact, the name of our choir, "Zamir," is derived from the same root as mizmor.
Some of the Psalms must have been sung by the general populace in ancient Israel. But in time, the Psalms became the hymnal of the professional musicians in the official Temple ( Bet Ha-Mikdash) in Jerusalem. One of the 12 tribes of ancient Israel, the tribe of Levi, was put in charge of everything relating to the sanctuary, including its music.
The biblical Book of Chronicles, written probably in the fourth century b.c.e., describes the Levite choir and orchestra performing Psalm 136:
All the Levite singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, their sons and their brothers, dressed in fine linen, holding cymbals, harps, and lyres, were standing to the east of the altar, and with them were 120 priests who blew trumpets. The trumpeters and the singers joined in unison to praise and extol the LORD; and as the sound of the trumpets, cymbals, and other musical instruments, and the praise of the LORD, "For He is good, for His steadfast love is eternal," grew louder, the House, the House of the LORD, was filled with a cloud. (2 Chronicles 5:12-13)
The Mishnah (compiled c. 200 c.e.) describes a performance of the Psalms by Levites standing on the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem:

Countless Levites with harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets and other musical instruments were there upon the fifteen steps leading down from the court of the Israelites to the court of the women, corresponding to the fifteen "Songs of the Steps" ( Shirey Ha-Ma'alot) in the Psalms. It was upon these that the Levites stood with their musical instruments and sang their songs. (Mishnah Sukkah, 5:1-5)
The Psalms, in all their beauty and variety, will be the focus of Zamir's 48th season. In November, we will present a program of rarely heard majestic settings by 19th-century synagogue composers. The program will include music for the Festival Hallel, as well as celebratory psalms for special occasions, composed by Louis Lewandowski of Berlin; Salomon Sulzer of Vienna; Samuel Naumbourg, Jacques Halévy, and Charles-Valentin Alkan of Paris; and Julius Mombach of London. In June, our repertoire will pan even wider to include ancient Sephardic Psalmody; and compositions by Salamone Rossi (Psalm 121), Felix Mendelssohn (Psalm 121), Claude Debussy (Psalm 150), Benjie Ellen Schiller (Psalm 150), Simon Sargon, Jeremiah Klarman, Emmett Price, Charles Ives (Psalm 90), Leonard Bernstein ( Chichester Psalms), and Karl Jenkins (Psalm 150), as well as a new work to be composed for this concert by our honoree, Robert Snyder.
We hope to see you at these concerts of music that is uplifting, joyous, dramatic and inspiring.
Josh Jacobson Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Choral Arts New England, formerly the Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation, has named Dr. Joshua Jacobson the 2016 recipient of the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award. Yasher koach to Josh for this recognition of his profound contributions not only to the choral arts in New England but to the choral community around the world. Patterson, who died in 1979, "organized his first civic choru s in the mid-1940s and for the next thirty-five years exerted to the utmost his talent, musical intelligence, charm and élan to the furtherance of the choral arts," according to the group's website. Zamir was honored to receive a grant from the foundation in 1997. 
  . . . and Featured on "Choir Chat" Podcast

Josh was the featured guest on the Internet podcast "Choir Chat" with John Hughes, a "weekly conversation with composers, conductors, and others in the choral world." In a lively and informative half-hour discussion, Josh talks about his early career in the folk duo "Josh and Josh," the founding of the Zamir Chorale, and the issue of authenticity and acculturation in the dissemination of Jewish choral music. Check it out here .
Monday, November 14, 7:30 pm, "The Majesty of Hallel," Temple Shalom, 175 Temple St, Newton. This is the third performance in the Divine Majesty Series, an all-new program featuring  Hallel settings (Psalms 113-118) and other celebratory Psalms by Lewandowski, Sulzer, Naumbourg, Halévy, Alkin, and Mombach. With soloist Cantor Peter Halpern of Temple Shalom. Admission free, reservations required (see Sidebar). The Divine Majesty Series is made possible by an anonymous underwriter in memory of Mary Wolfman Epstein and Cantor Barney Mould. Reserve tickets now!

Kiddush sung by Louise Treitman
Cantor Louise Treitman sings "Kiddush" in Berlin
Sunday, December 11, 4:00 pm, "Open the Gates of Song," Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave, Belmont. Newly installed at Beth El, Cantor Louise Treitman, longtime Zamir soprano and former assistant conductor, hosts the Chorale at this free afternoon concert featuring the music of Yehezkel Braun as well as psalms from different traditions, with Cantor Treitman as soloist. Admission is free, reception to follow. For details, check the Beth El calendar later this fall.

Sunday, December 18, 4:00 pm, "A Light Through the Ages," Hanukkah concert at Central Reform Temple, 15 Newbury St, Boston. Zamir is delighted to return for this special celebration of the first night of Hanukkah. The Chorale will perform in the cantata "A Light Through the Ages," text by Rabbi Howard A. Berman, which weaves a chronicle of the celebration of the holiday in many times and places over the centuries. A candle-lighting ceremony concludes the afternoon. Free and open to the public. For details, click here

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 4:00 pm, "Psalmsensation," joint concert with the Falmouth (Mass.) Chorale, Lawrence School, 113 Lakeview Ave, Falmouth, Mass. Featuring texts from the Hebrew Bible, the concert brings together the Falmouth Chorale and Zamir Chorale of Boston. The Falmouth Chorale Chamber Singers will begin the program with Monteverdi's Beatus Vir. Both choruses will perform Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, The Last Words of David, and Boston composer Emmett Price's Joyful Noise. Zamir will perform a solo set, then rejoin the Falmouth Chorale for John Rutter's composition, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." For tickets, visit the Falmouth Chorale.

Wednesday, June 14, 7:30 pm, "Awe-Psalm," s pring  concert honoring board chair Robert Snyder, Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St, Newton. Stay tuned for more details in upcoming issues of E-Notes.
NAJCF in the Catskills
On July 10, Zamir performed on the opening night of the 27th North American Jewish Choral Festival. The program included samplings from last season's repertoire, particularly the music of Yehezkel Braun; as well as a Yiddish version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Thanks again to Mati Lazar, founder and director of the Zamir Choral Foundation, for inviting us back to this special gathering of choral musicians from around the country.
"Songs for Syria: A Concert for Humanitarian Relief"
Sunday, November 13, 3:00-5:00 pm, Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, Boston.  Zamir is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this free concert produced by the Boston Songs for Syria committee and hosted by WBUR radio host Carey Goldberg. This is an ecumenical event, featuring the music of Ilene Stahl and Klezperanto and the Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble. Attendees may choose to make a donation to the Syrian American Medical Society to replace bombed hospitals, train medical personnel, and purchase medical supplies. Details available here.
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far.  Have a peaceful, healthy, and happy new year! 

Barbara Gaffin              Deborah Sosin
Managing Director         Editor, E-Notes