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October 8, 2015 | 25th Tishrei 5776

Emily Grotta


Reform Jewish singers and musicians have a diverse list of summer programs to choose from this year, including a special Choral Mission to Israel at the conclusion of the Reform Movement's ever-popular North American Jewish Choral Festival.

The July 25-August 2 Choral Mission is one of five opportunities for musicians to hone their skills with some of today's most talented Jewish musicians and network, perform, and share with their peers. The programs offered by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations are geared for professional and volunteer accompanists, conductors, singers, and those who simply love music.

"Music has always been a language that transcends geographical borders," says Cantor Josée Wolff, Director of the UAHC's Department of Synagogue Music. "Now, more than ever, it's important for us to bring a message of peace and hope to the land of Israel through our singing, to share not only our love of music, but a message of support and solidarity."

The Israel Choral Mission, co-sponsored by the Joint Commission of Synagogue Music of Reform Judaism, the Zamir Choral Foundation, and Gratz College, provides an opportunity to experience the rich musical life and heritage of Israel. Participants will study and sing with leading Israeli educators, conductors, and clinicians, and they will perform around Israel: at traditional concert venues as well as in hospitals, absorption and community centers, and army bases and kibbutzim.

Song Leader's Institute
The UAHC's summer music programs kick off May 29 with the Hava Nashirah Song Leader's Institute at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, WI. Designed to train interested Reform Jews to lead song sessions at summer camps, religious schools, youth group sessions, and retreats, the five-day event will give potential song leaders the chance to learn the latest repertoire, pick up song leading techniques from experienced Jewish professionals, hone their songwriting skills, and exchange material with fellow musicians.

Preparing for the Three Festivals
From June 30 to July 3, singers, accompanists, and choir directors in Reform congregations can participate in Mifgash Musicale. Held at the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the seminar is designed for synagogue musicians who want to study Three Festivals (Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot) liturgy and repertoire in depth. HUC faculty members and Jewish music experts will teach classes, and students will have the chance to study with composer-in-residence Bonia Shur.

North American Choral Festival
For the thirteenth consecutive year, participants in the North American Jewish Choral Festival will gather in Ellenville, NY, in the Catskill Mountains. From July 21-25, they will work with the world's top conductors of Jewish choral music, participate in workshops and classes, join in large community sing-alongs, and enjoy daily concert performances by North America's leading Jewish choirs.

California Kallah
Also, the UAHC's popular summer Kallah program will feature a five-day track for synagogue musicians. The track will focus on Shabbat liturgy, with those in attendance learning songs and melodies appropriate for Shabbat services from some of the Reform Movement's best teachers. This year's synagogue musicians' track will take place from July 16-21 at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

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The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the synagogue arm of the Reform Movement in North America, and represents 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 congregations in the United States and Canada. UAHC programs and services include music and book publishing, youth camping, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.


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