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Josh Jacobson's Musings
Zamir to Sing Anthem at Fenway 
Zamir's Gala Golden Anniversary Concert Honors Josh Jacobson!

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Dear Friends of Zamir, 
Springtime greetings! We are in the final weeks of the countdown to our June 4 Gala Concert in celebration of Zamir's 50th anniversary, and the excitement is building. In this issue, Founder and Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers a sneak preview of the six newly commissioned works that will be performed. Read a roundup of our winter events and join us at the Red Sox vs. Rangers game, when Zamir sings the national anthem. We wish you a meaningful and uplifting Passover and look forward to seeing you in June at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge.
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.
Photo by Andy Weigl
For our golden anniversary, we have commissioned six composers to write new works, which we will premiere on June 4. Jeremiah Klarman, Ken Lampl, Charles Osborne, Nick Page, and Benjie Ellen Schiller are all composers with whose music we were already familiar. But we also reached out to Jonathan Leshnoff , a composer with a national symphonic reputation, including commissions from the Philadelphia and Atlanta Orchestras, who is also a deeply observant Jew. We hope you will enjoy this program as much as we are enjoying preparing it. Instead of attempting to describe these rich and varied works, I've decided to share the composers' own comments about their contributions, to give you but a small taste of what's to come (edited for this column):

Jeremiah Klarman (Photo by Jesse Weiner)
Jeremiah Klarman: "Hodu" ("Praise") is an expression of pure joy. The piece has four phrases taken from Psalm 118, and each one has a unique quality: a fanfare-like call and response, a meditative contemplation, a lighthearted dance, and a gentle lullaby. The piece culminates in a dance-like celebration.

Kenneth Lampl: "This Descent into Your Solitude" is a spiritual meditation based on Psalm 33, a small thank you for how immeasurably [Zamir has]
Ken Lampl (Photo by Adrienne Irizarry Photography)
changed my life. After many years and performances around the world, it is a great honor to have the opportunity to compose again for
the Zamir Chorale of Boston, my friend Josh Jacobson's first-rate choral ensemble. 

Jonathan Leshnoff: To honor the 50th anniversary of the Zamir Chorale of
Jonathan Leshnoff(Photo by Erica Abbey Photography)
Boston, I wrote a two-part work, "Hegyon Libi"
 ("The Meditations of My He art"). The first movement expresses a  natural yearning to connect with Hashem. The second movement is an upbeat niggun to celebrate the happiness of your anniversary.

Cantor Charles Osborne: Psalm 42 has always fascinated me. The opening phrase, "As the hart pants after the water
Charles Osborne
brooks, so my soul pants after You, O God," inspired me to evoke the sense of flowing water. However, water symbolizes not only life-giving sustenance to the hart, but also the spiritual turmoil of the psalmist. 
Nick Page: The constant throughout my piece, "Anu Sharim" ("We Sing"), and throughout our lives as singers, is the simple fact that we sing. It is our reaction
Nick Page
to sorrow as well as laughter and joy. I wanted "Anu Sharim" to explode with those emotions. Singing brightens the world. Zamir's invitation to write this piece has given me an opportunity to shout out the enormous gratitude I feel for your gift as well as for the eternity of life.

Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller: The Zamir Chorale has called us to song since its inception. My piece, "Eyt Ha-zamir Higiya," ("The Time of Singing Has Come")
Benjie Ellen Schiller
is conceived as a celebration of that calling. It is set to biblical and liturgical verses that reflect the idea of waking up, hearing a call, and responding with the song of creation.

Zamir Chorale of Boston:
A Gala Golden Anniversary Concert
Honoring Founder and Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson

Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 7:30 pm
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge
Free parking

Wednesday, May 15, 7:30-9:30 pm, Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Rd., Newton: Ethnic Identity and Choral Singing: A Conversation

T he Zamir Chorale of Boston and Hebrew College's School of Jewish Music will present a roundtable panel discussion exploring issues related to ethnic identity and choral singing. The participants--representing Jewish, African-American, Hispanic, Greek, and Arab traditions--will discuss a number of challenges as well as benefits for a chorus that specializes in music from a single ethnic tradition. Free admission. For details and to register, click here. 

Tuesday, June 4, 7:30 pm, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge: A Gala Golden  Anniversary Concert Honoring Josh Jacobson

Capping off this jubilee season, Zamir presents a gala concert to honor our founder and artistic director, and to celebrate the very best in Jewish choral music over the centuries. The chorus will be premiering six new works, by composers Klarman, Lampl, Leshnoff, Osborne, Page, and Schiller, commissioned for the occasion . A lumni will join the group for a performance of favorite selections from Zamir's five decades of repertoire. We hope to see you all there! Visit our website for tickets, sponsorship opportunities, and to make a tribute to Josh.
Vilna Shul's "Voices of Freedom"
On March 24, Zamir was delighted to participate in t he third annual "Voices of Freedom" concert celebrating the theme of freedom and justice, and aimed at transcending cultures and forging common bonds among three choirs representing the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian cultures.  Zamir performed along with VOICES 21C, a diverse choir dedicated to positive interactions, social justice, and global understanding; and the Boston Community Gospel Choir. The event was held at the Museum of African American History while the historic Vilna Shul undergoes renovations. Zamir's set included works by Braun, Bernstein, Gottlieb, Nini, Sambursky, and Helfman. All three groups offered Josh Jacobson's arrangement of "Alle Brider." The concert was sponsored by the Vilna Shul and presented in partnership with the Museum of African American History and the Consulate General of Israel to New England. 

Charter Oak Day Trip
On February 24, members of the Chorale hopped a bus to our neighbors in Hartford, Connecticut, for a rousing afternoon concert at the historic Charter Oak Cultural Center . Highlights included Lewandowski's "Mah Tovu," excerpts from Yehezkel Braun's Shir Ha-Shirim, and Bernstein's MASS; works by Rossi, Starer, and Shemer; as well as contemporary settings of "Adon Olam" by Lampl and Davidson. Zamir delights in broadening audiences' understanding of "Jewish music." The Charter Oak Cultural Center, housed in Connecticut's oldest synagogue building, is a nonprofit, multicultural arts center committed to giving access to the arts to all people and doing the work of social justice.
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Chag Kasher v'Sameach! Happy Passover and we hope to see you at our Gala Golden Anniversary Concert in Cambridge on June 4!

Barbara Gaffin           Deborah Sosin        
Managing Director       Editor, E-Notes