The 2013 conference of American cantors and temple musicians will end with a July 2 concert at Bet Shalom Congregation
By DORIS RUBENSTEIN
If a gathering of lions is called a pride, then what do you call a large gathering of cantors? In this case, it’s called the 2013 convention of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) and the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM).
The Twin Cities is proud and fortunate to be hosting a goodly number of these 475 cantors and musicians hailing from North America and around the world, affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. Topping off the convention will be a concert on July 2 at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka.
Bet Shalom’s own Cantor Sarah Lipsett-Allison is a co-chair of the 2013 conference, and has been deeply involved in organizing and promoting the concert titled “Kol Haaretz: All the Earth Sings.”
“I am thrilled that the ACC/GTM convention is being held here in Minneapolis, and equally delighted that Bet Shalom is hosting the concert,” Lipsett-Allison said. “Our audience will have a rare opportunity to hear cantors from throughout the country join in harmony. OVation, the small ensemble of One Voice Mixed Chorus (the Twin Cities’ GLBTA chorus) will also join in this concert. I’m also pleased that my colleagues will get to experience the beauty and richness of Minnesota, as we learn, pray, sing and chant together at the convention.”
The concert will center on a sacred work, “Perek Shirah” (“Chapter of Song”), in which all of nature extols the glory of God. This ancient text of unknown authorship, sometimes attributed to King David, attaches a Bible verse to each of its elements of land and sky, of plants and animals.
Each part of the natural world — the fields, the heavens, the wilderness, the waters, the stars, the wheat, the rooster, the dog — praises God.
Other selections will include those by composers who span the centuries — from Salamone Rossi (ca. 1570-1630), and Lewis Montefiore Isaacs (1877-1914), to contemporary composers such as the notable contemporary Israeli composer Naomi Shemer, the Twin Cities’ own Debbie Friedman and Bonia Shur.
Rossi is a standout in the history of both Jewish and world music. He composed not only cantorial music, but was the court composer for the Duke of Mantua, who granted him exceptional privileges for his talents during a time when Jews suffered restrictions and discrimination in the Italian city-states.
The American Isaacs was not only a musician and composer, but an attorney as well. Latvian Holocaust survivor Shur came to the United States via Israel and was appointed director of liturgical arts at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati; his works number more than 300.
The concert will also herald the world premiere of Psalm 96 by Michael Summa, who was awarded this year’s Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composer’s Award. Hailing from Scranton, Pa., Summa received his undergraduate degree in 2008 from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College in New York City.
“Though we tend to think of God as a divine parent, God is also our divine spouse,” Summa says in a press release. “The Psalms of Kabbalat Shabbat represent, to me, the development of this relationship… or, more precisely, that this relationship is always in a state of development, be it during the course of a week (hence the number of psalms) or the course of our lives.”
The 2013 convention of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) and the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM) will culminate with a concert 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 2 at Bet Shalom Congregation, 13613 Orchard Rd., Minnetonka.
Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door; visit: http://bpt.me/374657. Guests are encouraged to bring nonperishable goods that will be donated to Neighborhood House in St. Paul.
(American Jewish World, 6.21.13)