Student creativity to highlight choir concert

BP Photo by Goldie Fields

Alexa Fishman, Staff Writer

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On Dec. 21, the second night of Chanukah, the Shalhevet choir and band will be performing together at the Ninth Annual Chanukah Concert, which will be held in the Beit Midrash at 5 p.m. This will be the debut of the new band, as well as the first Choir concert of the year.

For the band, organized and led by junior Kalil Eden, it will be the inaugural performance. The band will offer two songs of its own — one an original composition by Kalil called “Nicosia” — and then accompany the choir in the concert’s finale.

“We’re very excited,” Kalil said. “We’re in the holiday spirit.”

Choir members have been in rehearsal for this performance since early September. Twice-weekly practices have kept the singers in tip top vocal shape, and included nine rehearsals assisted by alumnus Seth Samuels ‘06.

The hour-long performance will include between six to eight songs and include works in English, Hebrew and Ladino. An expected highlight is the return of longtime audience favorite “Geographical Fugue,” by the German Jewish composer Ernst Toch. Toch fled the Nazis and moved to Los Angeles, and is now featured in one of the exhibits at the Los Angeles Holocaust Memorial and Monument, at whose dedication Shalhevet Choir sang last year.

Also on the program will be a round composed by new Judaic Studies teacher Reb Tuli Skaist, titled “Reb Tuli’s Niggun,” and arrangements by Choir Director Mrs. Joelle Keene of Chanukah favorites such as Maoz Tzur and Mi Yemalel, along with a new arrangement of Achenu.

The group has also prepared some surprises for the people who attend. It wouldn’t be a Chanukah celebration without sufganiyot, so the choir will be gearing to hand out the traditional treats at the start of the performance.

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the Annual Concert is when alumni choir members join in at the end.

Tickets for students and faculty are free, but guest tickets are $10 each. Mrs. Keene and the choir have decided to donate half the money they earn from the tickets to charity. Last year, the choir gave half their earnings to the victims in Israel from the Carmel fires, but they are unsure where the money will go this year, Mrs. Keene said.

The choir started Chanukah week by performing for members of the Alcott Center for Mental Health at a B’nai David-Judea Chanukah party Dec. 18, followed by performances of the two Beverly Hills Carmel retirement homes the following day.

“We love performing for other people any opportunity we get,” Mrs. Keene said.

She also said December is the perfect month to sing for others, this Chanukah the choir will be giving the gift of song.

“When the days are short and it gets dark early in the winter, people are more receptive to music,” Mrs. Keene said. “It provides light… People yearn for song.”

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