The Newsletter of the Guild of Temple Musicians

Fall 2015 / 5776 S'tav

In This Issue:
Jenna Sagan and Enid Bootzin-Berkovits
Jenna Sagan
Jenna is from Orange County, California, where she has been an active member of the Jewish community for over twenty years. She grew up at Temple Beth David in Westminster, CA, where she sang in the choir and was a High Holiday soloist.

Jenna graduated from the Academy for the Performing Arts, where she majored in both Songwriting/Recording and Musical Theater. She then went to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where she studied Acting and Education. While at UCLA, Jenna co-founded the Hillel Reform minyan, and was an active member of the a capella Jewish Choir, Shir Bruin. She also toured with her own one-woman cabaret show, showcasing music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Jenna is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with a degree in Judaic and General Studies. She taught at Jewish secondary schools in Los Angeles, and began singing services at local synagogues in 2012. She recently began her second year of service at Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, CA, where she is the Cantorial Soloist for all Shabbat, B'nai Mitzvah and holiday services, and is the NFTY Advisor.

Enid Bootzin-Berkovits
Along with Cantor Ronald Eichaker, Enid co-founded the Milwaukee Jewish Community Chorale in 1994. Since then the Chorale has enjoyed being known as the Voices of Harmony and the Jewish Voice of Milwaukee. Under Enid's direction, the Chorale has performed concerts with Naomi Shemer at Lincoln Center, at the 2009 ACC-GTM Convention in Chicago, the North American Jewish Choral Festival, the Milwaukee Federation mission to Israel in 1996, and many outreach programs throughout Milwaukee and Chicago. Additionally, Enid directs the choir at Beth Israel Ner Tamid Synagogue, and is co-president of the Jewish National Fund of Milwaukee.

Enid is a graduate of Alverno College in Milwaukee from which she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy. She has done graduate work in Choral Conducting at Northwestern University and Opera Theater at DePaul University.

Enid Bootzin-Berkovits and GTM President Alan Mason attending the North American Jewish Choral Festival
A Letter from Dana Stahl
Employer Annual Retirement Plan Contributions are due by November 30th. If you have not already done so, why not take 5 minutes out for yourself and submit your form today?

The Contribution Calculation Form should be completed each year, signed by you and an authorized representative of your congregation, and mailed or faxed to the address below. All Employer Annual Contributions paid via a single check should be made payable to American Conference of Cantors fbo (your name)
by November 30 and sent to:

ACC Retirement Plan
1375 Remington Road, Suite M
Schaumburg, IL 60173

Fax: 847-781-7801

All Voluntary Salary Deferral Contributions and/or Temple Contributions split into more than one payment should be transmitted online.

To submit contributions online, the financial person responsible for making your retirement contributions should complete the Fidelity User Access Form and fax it to 847-781-7801.

For more information on establishing online ACH payments or other questions regarding the plan, please contact Dana Stahl in the ACC Office at retirement@accantors.org or by calling 847-781-7800.

Aryell Cohen, Immediate Past President of the GTM, has been appointed as Director of Mifgash Musicale, Summer Institute for Synagogue Musicians.  Mifgash Musicale is a joint program of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in conjunction with the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) and the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM). Aryell has served 45 years at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles as principal B'nai Mitzvah Instructor and Music Advisor to the Religious School, and 40 years as Organist and Choir Director.

Aryell has provided over 30 years of service to the Cantors Assembly, and has been a GTM member for over 35 years.  Aryell has served the Western Region as accompanist, lecturer and conductor, and was co-chair of the 2008 ACC-GTM Convention in San Francisco, which was the most financially successful ACC-GTM convention in history. Aryell is well known as an accompanist and lecturer/presenter at numerous conventions, and has provided 5 years of service to Mifgash Musicale. Mifgash Musicale 2016 will take place July 24-28, on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR.
Heidi Kunitz (1962-2015)
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death o f Heidi Kunitz , beloved past member of the Guild of Temple Musicians. 
Heidi Kunitz z"l

Heidi Maria Kunitz, 52, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, wife of Seth A. Levy, passed away Monday, September 7, 2015. Heidi was born November 13, 1962 in Huntsville, Alabama, daughter of Paul R. Kunitz and Judith G. Kunitz. She was a graduate of Southern Methodist University and co-owner of MaxCare Floor Care and Solar Energy Solutions. She was the beloved Choir Director of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston. Heidi was a beautiful soul. Love, kindness, and fairness were her currency, not material things. Her determination, dedication, and spirit affected countless others. In addition to her husband and parents, she is survived by her children, Samuel Kunitz-Levy and Eleanor Kunitz-Levy both of Mount Pleasant, SC; sister, Lisa K. Walker (Gregg) of Huntsville, AL. She is predeceased by her sister Cantor Sharon I. Kunitz.

Condolences may be sent to:
350 Molasses Lane
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29401

HaMakom Yenacheim Etchem B'toch Sh'ar Aveilei Tziyon Virushalayim.

May God comfort the entire Kunitz-Levy family and friends along with all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Our Musical Past.

Our Musical Future.

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. 
The GTM Board of Directors is seeking articles, videos, documentaries, essays, programs, YouTube performances, and educational items to share with our readership. Please contribute to our educational mission and commitment to professional development by submitting an item of a scholarly or educational value.  Please send your submissions to Alan Mason, and they will be shared with the Board of Directors.

Four such essays are featured in this addition of Klei Shir: Bossa Shabbat by Robert Schoen, Sha'alu Shalom by Cantor Marsha Attie, Harmonic Convergence by Mark Bloom, and Shiva Prayers by Rachelle Schubert.
Bossa Shabbat by Robert Schoen
My name is Robert Schoen, and I am a Jewish composer.  I invite you to visit my website www.robertschoen.com to watch and listen to the music and videos of Bossa Shabbat as well as any of The Psalm Project pieces or other songs and concert band arrangements. All of the music for Bossa Shabbat is available for performance by you or your congregation. Cost? $36!

When people hear that I am a musician, they often ask me what instrument I play, and I need to explain that although I've played a number of instruments throughout my life, what I am is a composer. That's how I define myself.

My musical influences are many, from Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, to Bach, Debussy, and Rimsky-Korsakov. I was particularly interested in the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and from that love of Brasilian music came Bossa Shabbat.

I did not get a degree in music until I was in my fifties. This was, in a way, both a blessing and a curse. After graduating, I wondered, "Now what?" My question was answered by Cantor Ilene Keys when I asked if she would like me to compose something for her and the Temple Sinai Choir. She responded with a commission to set Psalm 118 for choir and soprano soloist. God's Love is Everlasting was the first of 20 psalm settings I've composed for what I call The Psalm Project, and more psalm pieces are planned for the future.

A few years ago, I approached Cantor Keys with an idea for a Friday night Shabbat Service-in-Song. The music would be comprised of 15 pieces, using Hebrew text from the siddur Mishkan T'filah. The melodies would be new, but based on the style of bossa nova. The service, Bossa Shabbat, was later premiered by the cantor, choir, and a small combo to a capacity Friday night Shabbat attendance.

The songs from Bossa Shabbat may be performed by soloists, a small vocal group, or a choir of any size. And you don't need to program the entire service. If you're looking for a new Oseh Shalom, Mi Shebeirach, Shalom Rav, Mi Chamochah, or Yism'chu, try one of these for a different flavor! I continue to emphasize you don't need "jazz musicians" to play this music - accompaniment may be provided by a solo pianist. Our own temple accompanist, George Emblom, sounds great when he plays the specially created piano arrangements!

Robert Schoen is the Composer-in-Residence at Temple Sinai in Oakland, California. He performs on piano with vocalist Catherine deCuir and his own jazz trio, and also plays flute in the Urquhart Concert Memorial Band. Schoen is a member of ASCAP and the Guild of Temple Musicians.

Sha'alu Shalom by Cantor Marsha Attie
I am seven years old, singing to the sky, and for a moment I forget myself, pouring out my heart in song. Before I know it I am conversing with something bigger than myself, and a feeling comes over me that I am heard. Some experiences define the path we take and the person we b ecome.

Today, I am Cantor Marsha Attie and I have been serving Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco since 1998. I am also a composer, recording artist, dancer and filmmaker. I enjoy a soulful, loving, and authentic approach to Jewish music and prayer.

Jewish song is my path for communicating with the Divine. Through prayer-songs I express my soul-voice in language that my pedestrian "walk-a-day" self does not speak. I inspire my community to do the same, joining me in a transcendent conversation that is both personal and collective.

I am like a boat woman, who carries her people across the river, into the light. Together our spirits are lifted and while we are comforted, we are also challenged to bring our highest selves to this human enterprise called life.
Harmonic Convergence by Mark Bloom
The story of how it all happened...

The concept of a gospel-styled Jewish service involves a major leap beyond The Jazz Shabbat, which utilizes familiar sacred melodies. The captivating soul-infused energy of modern gospel music, with mostly unfamiliar settings would be even more jarring than jazz to those traditionally bound. As one who has spent almost thirty years merging African & Jewish American musical sensibilities, showcasing commonalities between the cultures would be the foundational element. The reality that 2 out of 3 congregants are Hebrew-illiterate, long desiring to hear the prayers in English, to musical styles akin to their secular preferences.

To those who've drawn a distinct line in the sand separating styles sacred vs. secular will, no doubt be less than thrilled, but this isn't a design to enhance a traditional approach. The intent is bridging the cultures via a religious service, not a demonstration performance where pieces are presented side by side. There is no risk there. This collaboration should move both cultures beyond their accustomed comfort zones. I look back at the early stages of my musical life, how a fusion of "Black" music and Jewish music was nurtured in my heart and soul.

My father's love affair with the music of Harry Belafonte and Louis Armstrong was played just as loud as my collection of Beatles, Cream, and Jefferson Airplane on our family stereo. I rapidly developed a fondness for jazz greats, such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. Dad constantly reminded me that both Stan Getz and Benny Goodman were Jews. He recounted how Louis Armstrong as a youth was taken in by a Jewish family who provided him with nurturing and support to such an extent that he "was treated like a member of the family."

So when I spoke to several of my friends in the Black community about designing such a service, they gave me positive responses. Then I set up a meeting with some African-American Christian clergy. I asked, "Is it plausible to collaborate on a sacred service, centered on Eternal God, as described in the Old Testament (Torah: The Five Books of Moses) rather than derived of the New Testament?"

After receiving their validation, I brought the idea to our Senior Rabbi, Marcia Zimmerman. She excitedly approved the idea and in late fall 2012 and spring of 2013 we produced services employing gospel-styled musical settings with gospel musicians and vocalists. The service included original and arranged material I procured, while also including repertoire of the local Grammy Award-winning ensemble, The Sounds of Blackness. I've known and performed with musicians and vocalists from this wonderful group for years, and they and leader Gary Hines earnestly jumped on the bandwagon, bringing forth the first installment of the service, in 2012. That evening our Shabbat service featured a trio of female vocalists from The Sounds of Blackness. It was the day after Thanksgiving, which for many years was the time reserved for our annual Jazz Shabbat service.

The popularity of that Thanksgiving service inspired us to schedule a larger gospel-styled Shabbat service the following April, involving the entire The Sounds of Blackness ensemble and band. The results were beyond our expectations. The comments were unanimously positive. Many appreciated the songs in English with the Hebrew text woven into the arrangement via melodic counterpoint. Others sighted the use of familiar popular songs handled in a prayerful manner. A large group of folks found the alignment of American Slavery and Egyptian bondage to be the glue that secured the success of our collaboration. Lastly, the energy in the sanctuary went beyond the status quo to create a remarkable atmosphere of celebratory inspiration.

Harmonic Convergence is now an annual event at Temple Israel. Over 1000 people attended the service on May 8, 2015.

Harmonic Convergence: Jewish Gospel Sharing a Sacred Common Path

Mark Bloom has served Temple Israel in Minneapolis for over 25 years as Musical Associate. In this capacity, Mark arranges and conducts the music for Temple Israel's monthly Nefesh Shabbat service.
Shiva Prayers by Rachelle Schubert
I am in awe of lay people who give their minds and hearts to learning to lead services. In particular, the service they do in going to people's homes and leading shiva services is generous and of lasting value. To this end, I have recorded Shiva Prayers and have made these freely available online. The focus of my work has always been connection with people through song. My professional life as a Cantorial Soloist, Music Director and lecturer in Music and Wellbeing gives me constant opportunities to explore that sense of kinship. In this spirit, I offer you these teaching tools. I hope they will be of value to you as lay leaders or teachers.

Recordings of Rachelle's Shiva Prayers can be found here: 

Rachelle Shubert is a specialist in Music and Wellbeing, Cantorial Music, Folk Music and Jazz. Rachelle is High Holy Day Cantorial Soloist at Temple Kol Ami, Thornhill and Music Educator at Beth Sholom Synagogue, Toronto, and held the position Music Director and Cantorial Soloist at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal, from 2002 to 2014. As Artistic Director of Montreal's first Concert Shabbat Series, Rachelle brought to the Temple bima such recording artists as cellist Denis Brott, harpist Erica Goodman and the Cleveland Duo and James Umble. Rachelle served three terms on the Executive Board of the Guild of Temple Musicians and is a member of the Women Cantors Network.
The Guild of Temple Musicians
an Affiliate of the American Conference of Cantors

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