3 Tammuz, 5778
Cantor Phil Baron
The Musical Shul
In Psalm 150 the words of King David encourage us to praise God with enthusiasm, faith, and lots of music.
הללוהו בנבל וכנור
הללוהו בתף ומחול
הללוהו במנים ועגב
Haleluhu b'nevel v'chinor!
Haleluhu b'tof u'machol!
Haleluhu b'minim v'ugav!
Praise Him with lyre and harp!
Parise Him with drum and dance!
Praise Him with organ and flute!
We try to praise with musical enthusiasm on a regular basis here at VBS. And thanks to some technological innovations and innovative programming, we plan to do even more with music in the coming year. I'd like to use my last Clergy Corner before fall to let you know about some upcoming opportunities, and some details about how to access the music of VBS -- 24/7.
Thanks to our terrific New Media Project staff, most of our music programs are available in real time, live streamed to your very own computer. We have a new video camera in Sher-Lopaty Chapel which makes the "home" experience almost like being here in person (but no cookies after…). And many of these recorded programs will be available as archived files on the VBS website. You can find these at vbs.org/livestream.
Also, on the website are high-quality studio recordings of many of our VBS melodies. Before the end of this summer you should be able to access recordings of Rimonim, T'marim, and many of the melodies heard on Shabbat, High Holidays, and other special services -- some 50 recordings in all. Thanks so much to those of you whose kind donations have made these recordings possible. In addition to these studio recordings, we have also made most of our familiar prayer melodies available. Listening to these is the best way to prepare for and participate in our regular prayer services. These recordings feature Cantor Fox, Cantor Toby Schwartz, Rabbi Avi Taff and me, accompanied by Chris Hardin In the future, look for basic recordings of our daily minyan services as well. You will find all of these recordings at vbs.org/music.
Next year we'll continue with popular services and programs such as Rimonim (entering its 11th year), T'marim (our pan-Sephardic service), Farbrengen (our celebration of Jewish culture), and our yearly folk-music service, as well as a very special Shabbat Shira. To help us celebrate the Crossing of the Sea on January 18, world-famous Israeli group Nava Tehila will join us. Here is a link to one of their most popular songs: navatehila.bandcamp.com/track/oseh-shalom.
In addition, we’ll celebrate Shavuot with “David’s Quilt,” a retelling of the story of King David through the eyes of 15 composers from the Helfman Institute, and we’ll get a visit from master composer/performer Danny Maseng who will tell us about his new book, “The Passion, the Beauty, the Heartbreak: Israel Through Poetry and Popular Music.”
You will also hear some new sounds on Shabbat morning. Chris Hardin will be here twice each month, but on other Shabbatot we’ll be inviting different musicians to join us in seeking new textures for prayer.
Cantor Roz Barak, who added so much to our High Holidays last year is returning this September with her amazing voice and beautiful melodies. And Cantor Herschel Fox is planning an evening of cantorial music with special guests, as well as the return of the incredible gospel choir of Faithful Central Baptist Church.
I hope you will join us as we find new paths of engagement through music. And please visit the VBS website to hear the latest recordings.