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72nd Annual Cantors Assembly

Lindi and I were privileged to attend the Cantors assembly convention last week, in Louisville, Kentucky. Filled with poetry and song, choral and Bluegrass music, this years’ assembly was full of high energy and Cantorial singing.

The Assembly is a unique and rewarding experience, connecting with close friends and colleagues, I also meet upcoming new Cantors and see a new generation of musicians taking off in their careers, a promising and bright future for the Cantorate.

Music sessions and educational seminars of all sorts – led by inspiring Cantors, presenting their new compositions of all styles. A highlight of the convention for me was having the pleasure to present a new composition by Hazzan Jerome Kopmar who has written some of the most beautiful High Holidays selections for us.

There are too many incredible moments to list them all, but some highlights for me were:

I had the honour to conduct a beautiful setting of the Yizkor Service the text: “WE REMEMBER THEM” by composer Morton Gold whose great symphonic works we have performed here at Holy Blossom Temple in the 90s. “THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM” written for Cantor Choir and symphony orchestra.

The tribute to Cantor Kopmar was stunning. Alumni members of his Children’s choir from the 60s are now grandparents surprised him and came to honour him creating a magnificent evening of nostalgia music and emotion. See the Tribute to cantor Jarome Kopmar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcNC5Ewy7H0

A narrative story of Haggadah written by our able Hazzan Steve Stohr inviting a black Gospel minister and a gospel singer.

The multicultural story of freedom. Amazing impact on the audience https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMdj5orvMs4

If you think for a moment that we only sing Hazzanuth and traditional Jewish music you are mistaken! Hazzan Mike Stein is a superb musician a former member of the USA navy Band. It was an evening of pure fun, laughter, and good spirits.

Bluegrass Concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoNpqJvCNBQ

The closing concert involved a variety of talented Cantors all singing together at the closing concert for our new president Hazzan David Lipp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5RizdNZD2c

For me, the most powerful and emotional moment was the presentation of the highest award the cantor’s assembly has given. Rabbi Hazzan Jeff Myers of EIT CHAYIM in Pittsburgh spoke and poured out his grief. Jeff, our dear beloved colleague, shared with us the horrific moments of the tragedy. He warned us and alerted all of us to the danger which surrounds us and that we all need to seek help and deal with the pain which has been inflicted upon all of us. His comforting words of hope of a bright future comforted us and in gratitude, we all surrounded Jeff with tears and love with a ring of song that lasted a long time. It was a moment of healing.

We Hazzanim are lucky to have each other and we are blessed with the power of music which sustains us through life.

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