Twenty-five years on and the Zemel Choir is going stateside. Last seen by US audiences in 1987, the UK’s leading mixed-voice Jewish choir is looking forward to a whistlestop tour of the East Coast and Canada. You remember the Spice Girls, you’ve heard Adele, you’ve listened to Mumford and Sons. Now, armed with two cantors and a tour bus, the Zemel Choir brings you its very own British invasion (but without the spangly Union Jack dresses).
Coinciding with Jewish American Heritage Month, The Zemel Choir have fee earning concerts in Boston, Rhode Island, Long Island, New Rochelle and Montreal. They are also performing in a Benefit Concert in Newport Rhode Island’s, historic Touro Synagogue, as part of the 250th celebration of the dedication of Touro Synagogue in December 1763 and also to commemorate the Charter of 1663 that established Rhode Island Providence and the Plantations as a colony “tolerant of all religions” that participated in the “lively experiment”. How fitting for a Jewish Choir from England to be commemorating this poignant colonial history that President Obama recently referred to on 30th April in the introduction to his Presidential Proclamation about Jewish American Heritage Month.
The Zemel Choir is known for its wide repertoire, punchy performances and the enjoyment that its choristers bring to their audiences. It has performed at many of London’s principal concert venues, and has also participated in significant cross-community events, including recent performances for the Mayor of London and the BBC’s Songs of Praise. In recent years the choir has also become increasingly focussed on its links with Jewish organisations throughout the world, representing the UK at the inaugural Lewandowski Festival in Berlin in 2011, and hosting its own International Jewish Choral Festival in London as part of the Cultural Olympiad of 2012. It has also toured Europe, giving concerts in Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg, while in 2009 it visited Israel. A visit to our cousins in the US is long overdue, so come and listen to some of the best in British, American and international Jewish choral music.
The Zemel Choir performs a wide repertoire, including music in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and English. Some music will be familiar, featuring North American composers such as Joshua Jacobson, Sholom Secunda, Steve Cohen and David Shukiar. We will also be performing music by the great composers of British Jewish choral music, Samuel Alman, Abraham Saqui and Julius Mombach, as well as by living British composers such as Stephen Glass, Cecilia McDowell and the choir’s musical director, Benjamin Wolf. From liturgy to Leonard Cohen, Zemel’s performances promise something for everyone.
The Zemel Choir’s concerts will benefit from the participation of two cantors from the UK. Robert Brody is the regular cantorial soloist with the Zemel Choir. He has recorded for RCA, EMI and the BBC, as well as participating in services and concerts throughout England, Europe, Israel, Canada and the U.S.A. Richard Newman is a recent graduate of Trinity College of Music (London) and is now based in Jerusalem and studying to become a full-time cantor. The Zemel Choir will also perform with their musical director, Benjamin Wolf, who is known as a choral and orchestral conductor, singer, composer and academic, and by the wonderfully versatile Michael Cayton on piano and organ. The choir is also delighted to be performing with cantors Natanel Hershtik, Brian Mayer, Erik Contzius and Gideon Zelermyer. From the land of afternoon tea to the land of the free, this promises to be a tour full of fun, friendship and beautiful music.
For further information about the choir and its performances, visit www.zemelchoir.org.
Notes for Editor