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WINTER 2018 
Dear Friends of Zamir, 
Happy 2018! Wherever you are in the world, we hope that you are safe, warm, and ready to catch up on the latest Zamir Chorale news. This issue includes a roundup of our very busy fall season and a look ahead to upcoming events. In addition, Josh Jacobson muses on the special "gifts" exchanged at our annual concert for the elderly at Hebrew SeniorLife in Roslindale. So grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy!
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.
Josh Jacobson
Photo by Richard McNight
The Zamir Chorale of Boston performs many different kinds of concerts over the course of a season. While our mission is to inspire, educate, and entertain, each concert has a different balance among those three elements. For example, this past fall we had two "synagigs"--that's what we call a run-out concert when we're hired by a synagogue. For these concerts, we generally try to present a wide variety of music: old and new; sacred and secular; familiar and challenging; "classical," folk, and popular styles; Ashkenazi and Mizrahi; American, European, and Israeli. 
In November, we presented our annual "Majesty" concert, a self-produced event that focuses on sacred music written for the great European synagogues from the second half of the 19th century. It's a delight for us to perform this beautiful music, which is unknown to most audiences, singers, and conductors. In early December, our chamber chorus participated in another lovely annual tradition: the
"As we begin to sing (to the elderly residents at Hebrew SeniorLife), something miraculous happens. Smiles replace scowls. Some who have been silent start to sing along. Those who were immobilized are tapping their feet..."
Hanukkah ceremony, "A Light Through the Ages," presented by Boston's Central Reform Temple in their downtown home at Emmanuel Church. The music is chosen to complement Rabbi Berman's dramatic script. And then a few weeks later on December 24, we collaborated with the Jewish rock band Safam to present the 27th annual "Hanukkah Happens" concert at Temple Emanuel in Newton.
But one of our favorite annual concerts is our "mitzvah-gig," our performance for the elderly residents at Hebrew SeniorLife in Roslindale. The residents, who are unable to get out to off-site venues, are walked or wheeled into the performance area. As we begin to sing, something miraculous happens. Smiles replace scowls. Some who have been silent start to sing along. Those who were immobilized are tapping their feet. One woman is conducting. One gentleman actually rises out of his wheelchair and dances with his aide! 
And one of our favorite moments comes at the end of this and every concert, when chorus members leave the stage to surround the audience as we perform John Rutter's "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." Creating both acoustical and physical contact, it's an emotional moment for both the singers and the listeners.
Such is the power of music. To quote the great Sufi musician and healer Inayat Khan, "A person does not hear sound only through the ears; he hears sound through every pore of his body, it permeates his entire being.... In that way the physical body recuperates and becomes charged with new magnetism." What a privilege for us to be participants in that extraordinary process.  
Save the Dates! Wednesday, May 23, and Thursday, May 24, 2018, 7:30 pm: "Zamir Goes Baroque," at Slosberg Recital Hall, Brandeis University, South St, Waltham
Zamir and friends will explore rarely heard Jewish polyphony from the 17th and early 18th centuries: synagogue motets (and a few dances and love songs) by Salamone Rossi Hebreo of Mantua;  Cantata Ebraica by Carlo Grossi of Venice; Louis Saladin's  Canticum Hebraicum, written for the Proven├žal Jewish community; excerpts from Giuseppe Lidarti's oratorio  Ester,  composed in Hebrew for the Jewish community in Amsterdam; and more. This music is not only fascinating historically, it is beautiful and delightful! Zamir will be joined by choreographer Ken Pierce and an awesome instrumental ensemble, led by renowned violinist Daniel Stepner.  Ticket information will be available soon.  
Yes, you read right! Beginning in Fall 2018, Zamir will celebrate 50 years of "music with a mission," bringing the joy of Jewish music to audiences that transcend ag e, religion, and ethnic background. A special event will kick off the 50th year on Thursday, October 11, at Newton's City Hall; with the grand finale, a gala concert, scheduled for the spring of 2019. Highlights include:
  • A gala concert in 2019 honoring Founder and Artistic Director Josh Jacobson. The concert will look back and look ahead, with a vibrant program showcasing the best of Jewish choral music from our five decades of concertizing, as well as several works commissioned for the celebration.
  • A reunion for our more than 400 alumni, many of whom have gone on to become significant leaders in their communities.
  • An exciting first: a Jewish virtual choir, featuring Lewandowski's setting of Psalm 150, performed by hundreds of singers from around the world and brought together by technology. Participants welcome! Watch your email for more information in the spring. Eric Whitacre's original virtual choir became a tremendous YouTube sensation, and we aim to do the same for Jewish music.
  • An enhanced website with expanded resources available to any conductor, singer, scholar, or music lover looking for choral music connected to Jewish traditions.
Stay tuned for more details!
Jacobson Featured on Emerson College's "Chagigah" 

Before leaving to present at the Louis Lewandowski Festival in Berlin last December, Josh Jacobson sat down for an interview with Hal Slifer, producer and host of "Chagigah," a Sunday-morning
program of Jewish music aired from 8 to 11 am on WERS-FM 88.9 in Boston and worldwide on WERS.org. Josh discussed the origins of the Zamir Chorale and offered a sneak preview of the 50th-anniversary festivities in store for the 2018-19 season, including a gala spring concert.
Josh has been invited to contribute to "Chagigah" in upcoming months, so keep an ear out on Sunday mornings! 
See "Majesty at Temple Beth Elohim" article in sidebar
Photos by Mickey Goldin
Jenn Boyle, Anne Levy, Hal Katzman, Kyler Taustin, soloists

Josh conducts 11.06.17
Josh Jacobson conducts Masterworks
Leila Joy Rosenthal and Ed Swanborn, organist, at talk-back following the performance
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends from around the world. Stay well, stay warm, and have a peaceful winter season. See you in the spring! 

Barbara Gaffin           Deborah Sosin        
Managing Director       Editor, E-Notes