Countdown to HaZamir

30 January 2013

I see I have not blogged here in almost a year. Shame on me! My only excuse is a lame one; I got busy and couldn’t/wouldn’t make the time to blog. Busy times are when you have news to report, so my New Year’s Resolution for 2013 is to be a much more faithful journalist. I’ll keep the entries coming, and I won’t censor myself. I’ll let you, Dear Reader, be the one to decide if what I have to report is worth your time and attention.

I’ll also add that I was shamed into blogging more by the example of my friend, Cantor Jack Mendelson, who has just launched a new website. Jack has already blogged more in one month than I did all of last year. Well, Chazz’n, anything you can do, I can do… almost as much and almost as well.


Last week, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I had the great pleasure of attending an open rehearsal for HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. HaZamir is preparing for their 20th annual Festival, which will culminate in two concert performances in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium in the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex in New York City. (Last year, they had one concert, which sold out instantly, hence the two back-to-back performances this year) The program includes a world premiere of a new piece by yours truly, “Netzach Yisrael” (The Eternity of Israel), commissioned by the Zamir Choral Foundation in honor of HaZamir’s 20th anniversary, through the Jeanne R. Mandell Fund for New Music. This is the second such commission for me; the first was “L’ma-an Tziyon” (For the Sake of Zion) for HaZamir’s 2011-2012 season.

The open rehearsal was part of a Winter Intervisitation, a rigorous rehearsal retreat, attended by some but not all of HaZamir’s 22 chapters, roughly 175 teen singers. I was very impressed with how much progress the kids had made with my piece, which they had only had for maybe two weeks prior. That speaks well of the tremendous skill and dedication, not only of the kids, but also of the conductors and pianists who lead and coach each HaZamir chapter.

I have every confidence that the concerts, with all 300+ voices, will be thrilling, inspiring, not-to-be-missed events. Details are below:

HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir
Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 3:00 PM and 6:30 PM
Frederick P. Rose Hall (Jazz at Lincoln Center)
Broadway at West 60th Street - New York, NY