Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Guess Who's Coming To Choir Rehearsal

An opportunity to come and observe the choir of K'hal Adath Jeshurun as they prepare weekly for their sacred duty always proves to be interesting.

My intent this week was to provide you with a clip or two of the special niggunim for Shavuos as they were rehearsed.

As the choir members trickled in, the first comment I received was from a choir member who exclaimed, "What? You had to come and record us in a week when we can't shave?!??!". (Point taken. Everybody ignore the scruff.)

Then another choir member arrives and hands me a lovely bottle of Cabernet. I'm still unsure as to whether this was because he was our Shabbos guest last week or because he was hoping I would make a concerted effort to capture his "good side"....

Please keep in mind once again, that my rehearsal videos are raw footage. There is real work being done and my recordings therefore capture moments of unpreparedness and constructive criticisms (I've edited out much of the non-constructive witticisms but rest assured, the chuckle these fast and furious repartees gave me was responsible for a good portion of the "camera shake").

(Technical note: I was unable to get these wide screen recordings to fit well onto my blog template. You might want to click on them and watch them directly on YouTube. In fact, I've created a playlist here.)




















18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am actually surprised they say the "ado" part of Hashem's name. I thought you were not supposed to.

wonderful, as always.

critic said...

and I think that "eshtachave" was a bit off

Ricki said...

really enjoyed watching and listening to all those familiar voices....what a trip down memory lane...really got me into the spirit of the upcoming Chag....now if I would even start to think about cooking!!!! Any creative easy Shavuot recipes forthcoming????

Anonymous said...

They are not saying Hashem's name. Just adoshem.

Debbie said...

Not having seen a Breuer's choir in person in over 30(!) years (seminary days) this was fun, Shuli. Thanks!

BTW, I don't know how to fix your wide screen problem on the blog page, but those wide screen videos come out fine in google reader.

BLD said...

Maybe you can do a piece comparing KAJ choir to Vishnitz,Belz Satmar,Chabad or other frum choirs. It would require some research.

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

Three years ago, I spent Shavuos in Bnei Beraq by the Modzitzer Rebbe O"bm. The Tefilos & Tischen were run by his successor, the Modzitzer Rebbe Shlito, as the Rebbe O"bm was on a respirator - it was two weeks before his Ptiroh.

The tefilos were phenomenal, without an official choir - though the singing was very well coordinated. Before Akdomus, the Rebbe Shlito pointed to one of the older Chassidim - Rav Yitzchok Lipa Fischbein (who has conducted choirs) to start the long (15 - 20 minutes)- over 100 year old - Niggun sung traditionally before Akdomus. Using his skills Reb Itche Lipa started singing & conducting. It was fantastic, harmonies & counterpoints as well as multiple voices. To say the walls shook would not be an exaggeration.

I've heard Reb BZ Shenker lead this niggun many times & I've noticed some slight differences. Rav Breuer realized this issue & felt that a choir would keep the Niggunim sung properly. BTW, if you look at what Rav SR Hirsch O"bm wrote as a Haskomoh for J. M. Japhets book of Shul music you'd see this concept. In the 1850s, Rav Hirsch was commenting that people are modernizing the music therefore it must be annotated & sung properly.

first anonymous poster said...

right, anon, that's what I said. I think you are supposed to say "Hashem" and NOT "ADoshem"

YDL said...

Well, those that say you should say "Hashem" are of the opinion that, although you can't say Hashem's name, you should nevertheless not say AdoShem as it has no meaning. At least say Hashem which means 'the name'. The other school of thought is that since Hashem's name is not being said anyway, we are practicing for tachlis reasons, and it's the closest that one can get to properly singing without any transgressions - there is nothing wrong with saying Adoshem. Further, it may even be permissible to use Hashems actual name while practicing. Although most people will not use this kulah (most well know exception - Morahs in preshcool that say Hashems name multiple times certainly not for themselves) nevertheless this opinion would certainly never have an issue with saying Adoshem.

Avram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avram said...

The Choir of KAJ's late musical director Seymour Silbermintz z"l was very particular that at our concerts we sang "Hashem". When rehearsing for shul it is easier to sing "Adoshem" as it is closer to the correct pronunciation as we sing it in shul.
I recall that Mr. Silbermintz, when rehearsing with the young boys for shul, often let them pronounce the shem the correct way so that they shouldn't sing "Hashem" in shul. I also recall that when I practiced my bar mitzvah parsha with Mr. Benno Weis z"l he also, for the same reason, told me to pronounce the shem correctly.

Anonymous said...

Q. Did Mr. S. Silbermintz ever come to KAJ on a Shabbos ?

Q. Is Mr. Moss - ad may-ah vesrim! the oldest choir member ever ?

Q. Can everybody who has a book really read music ?

Anonymous said...

great video's, looks like a lot of fun.have a great shabbas
BRad

Avram said...

1. I believe Mr. Silbermintz once spent a Shabbos in Washington Heights for a family simcha.

2. I don't have the exact statistics but I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. Bli Ayin Horah Mr. Moss's voice is going strong and he continues to be an active member of the choir. He rarely misses a rehearsal and is usually the first one there. As a young man he had professional voice training which probably accounts for his continued ability to sing as well as he does.

3. Not all the choir members can actually read music. However, following the notes does help and Mr. Freeman encourages everyone to use the books. Eric not only teaches us to sing but he also gives the choir some basic musical training as well which makes the rehearsals even more enjoyable.

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

Rav Just O"bm of Amsterdam - he just was Niftor a few weeks ago - allowed Chazzan Hans Bloemendal (sp?) of Amsterdam to say the Shem on his recordings. The reasoning was that since people would be practicing while listening to the recordings, they may make a mistake at the Omud.

Louisa said...

BEST VIDEOS EVER. Thank you!!!!

Anonymous Jekke said...

These are great - the Hodu and Ono melodies are the Ashkenazic (Western European) melody for Akdomus. Here are two recordings that may be of interest for those who enjoy German Chazonus:

http://www.piyut.org.il/tradition/2252.html?currPerformance=2935

http://judaisme.sdv.fr/traditio/shavouot/index.htm


Enjoy!

PS - the standard akdomus melody used by most eastern Ashkenazic communites (i.e. most shuls in the US) is the regular Yomtov melody (heard in kiddush) this is an ancient ashkenazic melody usually referred to as a "MiSinai" melody.

Anonymous Jekke said...

The link to the Alsacian website needs to be corrected:

Here is the full link:
http://judaisme.sdv.fr/traditio/shavouot/index.htm