This concert showcases Jewish-themed music sung by more than 100 members of area choral groups and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra. Metropolitan Opera baritone Jason Stearns will sing the solo part from Ernest Bloch’s “Sacred Service.” Other works featured are Kurt Weill’s “Kiddush,” and excerpts from works by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.
(Sarasota, FL) For the past two months, singers from dozens of area-based choral groups have gathered at Sarasota’s Church of the Redeemer to rehearse for “Music Makes Community,” a community-wide celebration of Jewish music coordinated by Ann Stephenson-Moe and presented by The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee (JFSM). Matthew Lazar, the world’s most celebrated conductor of Jewish choral music, will direct the concert, which will include Metropolitan Opera baritone Jason Stearns singing the cantor’s part from Ernest Bloch’s “Sacred Service.” Other selections include Kurt Weill’s “Kiddush,” and excerpts from works by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. The concert is Thursday, April 3, 8:15 p.m., at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $18-$72. For tickets, visit www.vanwezel.org. For more information, call 941-552-6300. This event is sponsored, in part, by the Observer Group.
The concert will feature professional singers from Gloria Musicae, Musica Sacra Cantorum, Jewish Community Chorus, Belle Canto, Key Chorale, and many other outstanding area-based choral groups. Soloists include Cantor Jeff Weber, Cantor Cliff Abramson, Cantor Riselle Bain, Cantor Deborah Jacobson, Metropolitan Opera soloist Jason Stearns, Genevieve Beauchamp and National Opera Association winner Adelaide Boedecker. A 50-piece orchestra comprised of the area’s finest professional players will provide the music.
“For all of us it’s been exciting and stimulating to experience Maestro Lazar’s patient and meticulous approach to the pieces on the program,” says Stephenson-Moe. “So many professional singers joined this chorus because it is an unparalleled opportunity to sing great music conducted by a great maestro.” She explains that Lazar flew down from New York for the first rehearsal in February and will be back again to rehearse with the entire cast at the final rehearsal, Sunday, March 23, at 3 p.m., at Church of the Redeemer. As choir director at both Temple Beth Israel and Church of the Redeemer, Stephenson-Moe is uniquely knowledgeable about sacred choral music of the Jewish and Christian traditions. She is also a founder of Key Chorale and Gloria Musicae.
Matthew Lazar is the leading force of the Jewish choral movement in North America. His superior talents as a conductor and interpreter of Jewish music have elevated the standards of Jewish musical performance and educated audiences across North America. Lazar’s visionary leadership led to the creation of the Zamir Choral Foundation, which continues to nurture the growth of Jewish choral singing in North America and Israel. In addition to directing the Zamir Chorale, he has also created the Mantua Singers, the Selah Vocal Ensemble, and Shirah: The Community Chorus of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. He has inspired the creation of adult choral ensembles throughout the United States and, through the Zamir Choral Foundation’s Jeanne R. Mandell Fund for New Music, has contributed to the expansion of the choral repertoire through commissions of new music by the finest composers in North America and Israel. In addition to his activities in the realm of Jewish choral music, Maestro Lazar has also appeared as guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Chamber Symphony, the Ra’anana Symphony, and at the Ravinia Music Festival. He regularly appears with the great cantors of this generation, and presents programs at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other major concert halls in the United States and Israel.
The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to save Jewish lives and enhance Jewish life in the Sarasota-Manatee region, in Israel, and throughout the world. In addition, the Federation is responsive when worldwide catastrophes occur. For more information about The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, call 941-371-4546 or visit www.jfedsrq.org.