Although 2022 marks my third year as the musician-in-residence at Holy Blossom Temple, it really felt like my first year truly experiencing the music of the High Holidays. With virtual rehearsals, hybrid performances and plexiglass behind us, this autumn marked the first time that Cantor David Rosen and I were able to present the full potential of the musical arrangements we had created in 2020. This would be the first time that our choirs and band were able to perform together without barriers or great distances separating them. Because we were able to be together in one space, we were not only able to really hear one another, but we were also able to really feel the music together. There were, in fact, many special moments when it literally felt as if we were all able to breathe together.
As we rehearsed the music in anticipation of the beginning of the HHDs, I began to realize that all of this glorious music I had experienced in previous years, had been somewhat diminished by the fact that I had only heard the music through masks and from a great distance away from me. This year, the choir and the band were literally all around me. It was all very exciting. The experience was like hearing the music “in colour” after hearing it in “black and white”.
One thing, however, did not change this year. As the musician-in-residence, the High Holidays offer me an annual gift. It’s the gift of gratitude for the glorious music I am privileged to explore but once a year, and for the incredible musicians, I am honoured to call my musical family at HBT.