In 1993, Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner founded LACAHN – Chamber choir which, stands for the acronym of a musical society “LIKUD CHOVEVEI N’GINAH”. This music society was founded in 1952 in Israel by Maissner’s beloved late uncle DAVID BRENER z”l. LACHAN also means MELODY in Hebrew. The choir consist of enthusiastic Toronto-based musicians who shared a love of music. The choir’s primary purpose was to perform a sophisticated Judaic and Hebraic repertoire at the highest standard of excellence, while both educating and entertaining its audiences.
Now in its 20th season, Lachan has blossomed into a well-respected, semi-professional ensemble. The choir is known for its musical virtuosity and its comprehensive repertoire that spans thousands of years and a variety of styles. Lachan, which is dedicated to performing music that emerges from Jewish culture, has earned an impressive reputation. It is best known for its participation in the “Sounds of Healing Project”, in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2000. Lachan represented Canada in this historic international choral gathering that featured Jewish choral ensembles from the United States and Israel. In 2002, Lachan was selected as a national semi-finalist in the CBC Choral Competition.
In December 2003, Lachan, in conjunction with the Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit, performed at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and joined with Ottawa’s Musica Ebraica in a Hannukah concert at Agudath Israel Synagogue. In the same year, the choir released its first CD: “Lachan Live in Concert”, which includes a wide range of Jewish choral music originating from classical, renaissance and modern times, and also pays tribute to great Jewish-Canadian composers including Ben Steinberg ,Srul Irving Glick, and Sid Rabinovitch.
In the summer of 2006, Lachan was privileged to participate in the world wide “Olympic Choir Games” in China. Over seventeen thousand singers from over one hundred countries took part in this mega musical experience. There were twenty-six categories of music and Lachan participated in two of these: Religious and Ethnic Music. Coming home triumphant with silver medals gave the choir a moral boost to continue its journey and perform a wider repertoire of Jewish ethnic religious folklore and art music. While in China, Lachan performed in Shanghai with local choirs at the Jewish Museum inside the ghetto area, and in Beijing. Singing the Hebrew texts set to music by the renaissance composer, Salamone Rossi, on top of the Great Wall of China was indeed one of the highlights of our journey. Upon its return, Lachan performed at the China Community Centre in Toronto.
In November of 2008, marking the seventieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, Lachan was invited to Hannover, Germany by Profession Andor Izsak, President of the European Center for Jewish Music, to be part of commemorating this tragic event. Lachan performed eight concerts in ten days and sang with Hannover’s famous chamber choirs.
In 2010 and 2012 Lachan was invited to present memorial concerts as part of Holocaust Education Week in Toronto. “And Music Lives On” was the message of the concerts, which included Jewish music representing every Jewish community under Nazi occupation. Again, the impressive repertoire, spread over centuries and a wide geographical area, told the story of our people.
Over the years, Lachan has joined forces in many interfaith musical events with church groups as well as with community choirs performing notable works such as Ernest Bloch’s “Sacred Service” and Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”. Most recently, Lachan sang in Barrie to a large cheering crowd in a gathering of interfaith communities. Lachan is currently planning a community concert in Hamilton, and has been invited to take part in a “Peace Day” program in Toronto, with the Christian and Muslim communities.
It is in this spirit and our hope for the future that we are proud to celebrate two decades of sharing the culture of the Jewish people through music. We look forward to continuing to share our dream with audiences far and near and to spread the message of peace and harmony as expressed in our vision.