The Newsletter of the Guild of Temple Musicians

Fall 2016 / 5777 סתו

In This Issue:

Bruce Shewitz
by President Alan Mason

Bruce Shewitz is a 20 year GTM member, who has recently retired from a career in synagogue music that has spanned 50 years. Bruce's introduction to synagogue music began at Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where as a teenager, he had his first experiences conducting and accompanying sacred Jewish choral and solo vocal music. His long and distinguished tenure as a synagogue musical director occurred at three congregations: Temple on the Heights in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Cleveland, Ohio, and Suburban Temple-Kol Ami in Beachwood, Ohio.    

Bruce is a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he majored in French, while also studying organ and choral conducting. Bruce's full-time professional career spanned nearly 40 years working at the Cleveland Museum of Art. A highlight of Bruce's career as a musician occurred when he was invited to record a program of organ music by Jewish composers for the French National Radio.

I reminded Bruce that when I joined the GTM in 2001, all my dues invoices came from him, and he had served in a variety of Board positions during my first several years as a member. Bruce remembers with fondness being enrolled into the GTM by Dr. Ben Steinberg, an early pioneer for the Guild, and a beloved senior member today, who has the Young Composers Award named in his honor.
Bruce Shewitz will be honored in Concert on December 4 in Cleveland.  For more information, read Suburban Temple's music director Shewitz set for last tune by Carlo Wolff, in the Cleveland Jewish News.

Mazel Tov to Lindi for her ten years of service as Cantorial Soloist and Chazzan Sheini at Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto, Ontario. Lindi came to the congregation in the fall of 2005 to substitute for Cantor Benjamin Maissner, who was preparing to take a four-month sabbatical, and she subsequently remained with the congregation for more than the past decade.

A tribute to Lindi Rivers by Cantor Beny Maissner:
I've been reading the accolades and tr ibute messages about Lindi Rivers and her contribution to our Holy congregation with great joy. What can I add to the multitude of love and appreciation we all have for Lindi?

I think that as the Hazzan of our congregation I have a somewhat more personal perspective and different angle to describe Lindi first and foremost as a "Mentch"- a good compassionate human being. That she has a beautiful soothing voice we all know. That she acts responsibly and fulfills her tasks we all witness constantly.

Nobody should underestimate that Lindi always presents herself in the most tranquil and relaxed way. Her soothing mannerism is always uplifting and inspiring for us all. She helps us pray. Her High Holy Days and Shabbat services whether by herself or when we sing together is always a delight to me and the congregation.

We all stood and witnessed with her the difficult and trying period in her and her children's lives, and admired her strength and dignity in which she carried herself.  We, her team clergy and staff admire Lindi's nature wisdom and partnership.

Lindi has been a great help and support to me personally all these years. A cherished colleague and friend. She helped me carry my own Cantorial duties with great ease.  It has been a pleasure and delight to work with Lindi for the last ten years which flew by faster the light years. As she and I both said "IN A BLINK OF AN EYE"

I congratulate you Lindi and thank you for ten beautiful inspiring years. May you continue to grow from strength to strength as you are undertaking on a demanding study for the Cantorate. I wish you and me many more years together in partnership.
2018 ACC-GTM Convention
in Dallas, June 24-28, 2018

Co-Chairs Paula Baruch &
Marla Aviva Bentley

Paula Baruch is the GTM Vice President for Education and Convention, and previously served as a Member at Large to the Guild of Temple Musicians Board of Directors. Paula has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre and Economics from Guelph University, a Bachelors of Education from Queens University, and a Master of Adult Education degree from Central Michigan University. Paula is a Jewish Spiritual Director with a Lev Shomea Certificate, and is the Cantor Intern & Program/Youth Director at Temple Anshe Sholom in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. She is a student in the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Cantorial Certification Program, a Rebbetzin married to Rabbi Jordan Cohen & Mom to 6 amazing young adults.

Marla Aviva Bentley is proud to serve the Guild of Temple
Musicians as the Vice President of Communications, and has served as Vice President of Website, Administrator and Editor. Marla previously co-chaired the 2013 ACC GTM Convention in Minneapolis. Marla Aviva has a Bachelor of Music degree with Honors in Choral Music Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Pedagogy from Oakland University in Rochester.  She is the Music Director and Cantorial Soloist of Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, Illinois, where she has served since 2011. She is married to Newell and they have two beautiful children, Hannah Jane and Jaret Evan Bentley.
The 2017 North American Jewish Choral Festival will take place on July 16 - 20, 2017.  For more information visit: Zamir Choral Foundation

HaZamir Conductors at the 2016 ACC-GTM Convention:
Cantor Jacqueline Rawiszer, Dr. Alan Mason, Shawna Rosen and Michelle Auslander Cohen
The Guild of Temple Musicians would like to extend our deepest condolences to Rachel Roth, Chief Operating Officer of the American Conference of Cantors, on the recent passing of her father, Brian Edward Turry z"l. 

Brian Edward Turry, 76, beloved husband of Wendy nee Nagel Levin for 17 years and formerly married to Lynne nee Leopold for 29 years; loving father of Rachel (Jonathan) Roth, Allison (Wolfgang) Anderle and stepfather of Abby (Shawn) Confortti and Joshua Levin; cherished grandfather of Madison, Ava and Talan; devoted son of the late Philip and Merriann Turry; dear brother of Jerry (Nancy) Turry and the late Reada Sabes; fond brother-in-law of Judy (the late Norty) Agron, Norman (Karen) Leopold, David (Deborah) Nagel, James (Susan) Nagel and Martin (Ellen) Nagel; treasured uncle, cousin and friend of many. Services were held at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois. 

Memorials may be made to:
6300 N. Ridge Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660

May his memory be for blessing.

Klei Shir
is published by the Guild of Temple Musicians, an Affiliate of the American Conference of Cantors.  For comments or questions, contact Editor Marla Aviva Bentley, GTM Vice President of Communications and Publicity. 
Michelle Auslander Cohen
Michelle Auslander Cohen
Dr. Alan Mason, President of the Guild of Temple Musicians, is proud to announce the appointment of Michelle Auslander Cohen as Vice President of Membership. In a new model for membership, Michelle will work with a membership committee consisting of Rabbi Zev Sonnenstein and Laurie Akers, and in collaboration with Rachel Roth, Chief Operating Officer of the American Conference of Cantors.

Michelle currently serves as the cantorial soloist at Temple El of Boca Raton, and this fall will become the conductor of HaZamir Boca Raton . Michelle is a composer with works published by Transcontinental Music Publications, and has received an award from the Shalshelet Foundation. She has studied at the Peabody Institute of Music, Boston University and Indiana University.

Beth Pennamacoor
Michelle replaces Beth Pennamacoor who served as Vice President of Membership from 2010 to 2016. Beth is pursuing her Masters degree in Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Newton Center, Massachusetts, and will be devoting this year to the research and writing of her graduate thesis. Beth serves as cantorial soloist at Temple Beit HaYam in Stuart, Florida. 

The GTM is grateful to Beth for her years of dedication and service! 

June 25-29, 2017

Letter from the Co-Chairs:

Our hope is that the 2017 Las Vegas convention will support the ACC and GTM's efforts for professional growth and development for its members. We are committed to providing exceptional learning sessions, while offering meaningful programming and various opportunities for our members to share and connect.

Our vision would promote the reinterpretation of Jewish music that continues to unfold through the diverse experiences of the Reform Movement.

This vision would give our membership the opportunity to reunite with teachers and colleagues and provide the ultimate stage for professional growth.  In this collaborative model, we envision each day of the conference building upon sacred traditions, while integrating the newest and most successful Jewish musical trends and practices in our movement. Our hope is to engage teachers at HUC, professors from other accredited colleges, and innovative colleagues in the field to share their wisdom, experience and success with all of us.

Our vision for the 2017 ACC/GTM Las Vegas convention will give us the opportunity to embrace the past and present while looking to the future-What happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas!!

2017 ACC-GTM Co-Chairs (from left to right) 
Jenna Sagan, Rabbi Zev Sonnenstein, Cantor Tracey Scher and Cantor David Rosen  


by Julie Zimmerman, Chair
In the mid-1970's Cantor Richards was asked to assemble a group of composers and music directors to determine what they might need from the ACC. They responded that a group that could represent them, educate them, and that had national membership would be a great help. Letters were sent to all UA HC congregations over 400 families without cantors, and from this meeting and this mailing the GTM was born. Stephen was president of the GTM until about 1976.
Stephen Richards was the son and grandson of jazz musicians. It was natural, then, that he attended Columbia, where he earned a Masters in Music Composition, studying with Henry Cowell and Otto Leuning. His path to synagogue musician was equally interesting. As a free-lance composer living in New York, he was commissioned to write a service for a temple in Yonkers. Stephen wanted to learn some Hebrew; he asked the rabbi, who sent him to HUC-JIR. They did not have any part-time classes, but offered him a scholarship to enter the SSM in 1965. In 1969 he became a cantor.

Stephen's first Jewish music idols were Ernest Bloch and Leonard Bernstein. As his training progressed, his idols became Laurence Avery and Israel Alter who made him aware of real synagogue music and made him a Hazzan.

Asked for advice for aspiring musicians, Stephen repeats that old but true statement, "practice, practice, practice" but adds that study of the sources is also necessary.

Stephen was the editor of Transcontinental Music from 1977-1980, and has also been an instructor at the SSM. Now he is happily retired as a full-time cantor (since 2004), but has been rabbi/cantor at a congregation in Walnut Creek, CA for the High Holy Days for the past 11 years.

by Dr. Alan Mason, President
2016 Mifgash Musicale 

Day 1
Mifgash Musicale opened with the study of choral works by Sol Zim, Meir Finkelstein, Salomon Rossi and Novakowsky presented by Aryell Cohen, immediate Past Pres ident of the Guild of Temple Musicians, and Director of Mifgash Musicale. Ma'ariv was led by our faculty artists in residence, Cantor Faith Steinsnyder and Cantor David Perper. Dr. Alan Mason accompanied the evening concert, presented by Cantors Steinsnyder and Perper, who sang a beautiful recital of sacred and secular love duets by Lawrence Avery, Charles Osborne, GTM member Leonard Lehrman, Simon Zemachson, Moshe Ganchoff, Arrigo Boito, Rodgers and Hart and Kisselgof. Cantor Steinsyder sang a rousing rendition of Roumania, Roumania, and graced us with two original sacred Jewish works of her own composition: B'ruchim Habaim and Prayer of the High Priest.

Mifgash Faculty 
Day 2
Today's topics of study were wedding liturgy and wedding music. Rabbi Rick Sarason taught us the background of sacred Jewish betrothal, it's timeline, rituals,
traditions, and practices. Cantors Faith Steinsnyder and David Perper taught the ritual aspects of conducting a Jewish wedding ceremony, and then shared a tremendous amount of wedding music from diverse Jewish sources. Our study of Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy focused on L'cha Dodi, with special attention paid to the 9 verses that fall between the refrain. Each verse tells a very different story, and can be set to many different types of music. Our day began and ended with Tefilah, using selections from the newly published Shabbat Anthology Volume 8. Our evening activity was a round table discussion of job related topics, masterfully led by Aryell Cohen who has devoted a lifetime to serving Temple Sinai with gorgeous organ and choral music.

Day 3
Today concluded our third day of study. Rabbi Sarason taught us a great deal about the psychological wisdom of funeral procedures and liturgies idiomatic to the Jewish faith. Cantors Steinsyder and Perper presented memorial music, emphasizing the different emotional aspects of funerals, Yizkor, and Yom HaShoah. We studied the liturgy and music of Ma'ariv and Havdalah, and many singers benefited from private vocal coachings with our cantors in residence. We had morning and evening Tefilah, and Aryell Cohen delivered a moving azkarah for Kathy Storfer, a much beloved GTM member who passed away on November 9, 2016.

Day 4
Our farewell tradition, singing Debbie Friedman's T'filat Haderech.  See the video here.

Report from Abby Gostein, GTM representative to the URJ Joint Commission on Worship, Music and Religious Living.  The commission met via video conference on September 14, 2016.

This video/tele-conference began with the group being introduced to a reading from an upcoming CCAR S'lichot prayerbook, the formatting of which looks very much like the new Mis hkan Hanefesh machzor. The reading was written by Janet and Shelley Marder, editors of this new S'lichot prayerbook. Comments from the meeting attendees ranged from reactions to wording used to refer to God, to meaningful personal reflections the reading inspired, to questions regarding concepts / language about forgiveness and when / if it might be okay not to forgive.

Cantor Richard Cohn then spoke to us about spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days. He spoke of the period from Tish'a B'av to Rosh Hashanah as a time for reflection, of finding meaning in reading the Book of Lamentations, and of increasing one's focus on listening in preparation for the High Holy Days. He spoke of a meaningful HUC kallah / retreat with the theme "Mi Anochi?" (Who am I?) at which the participants focused on evaluating their relationships to the many different communities to which they each belong. Cantor Cohn noted a guidepost on which he tries to measure himself - has my practice in weeks before HHDs been integrated into the days themselves? Cantor Cohn mentioned the importance of workplace attentiveness - placing relationships with your bimah partners as equally important to choice of prayers, melodies, and flow of service.

Cantor Cohn shared a teaching from Reb Nachman of Bratzlav that addressed the words, "Azamra l'Elohai b'odi," and Psalm 37:10. The teaching discusses finding pieces of good within us to prep for HHDs - not just focusing on the ways we "miss the mark." It instructs us to "sing the good parts of our soul."

Abby closes her report with her own personal statement, "wishing everyone the self-compassion to find all of your pieces of good and sing your souls for the upcoming High Holy Days. B'Shira, and L'shanah Tova."

Other members of the GTM WMRL Committee are Rebecca Wolpert Schwartz and Lindi Rivers.

Our Musical Past.

Our Musical Future.

The Guild of Temple Musicians
an Affiliate of the American Conference of Cantors

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