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Saturday, March 17

3:15pm CDT

“The Pen of the Soul”: Jewish Melodies and Niggunim
"The tongue is the pen of the heart, but melody is the pen of the soul,” in the words of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.  Come to this session ready to open your ears, close your eyes, and let your soul soar. We will engage with old and new melodies inspired by the Chasidic tradition of niggunim.  The selected melodies are drawn from recordings and oral tradition.  I am especially excited to share tunes taught to me by Rabbi Eli Silberstein, which he brought to the United States from his childhood in Eastern Europe, and tunes I learned from old klezmer recordings of niggunim that have touched my soul for decades.

avatar for Jennie Lavine

Jennie Lavine

Jennie Lavine is a musician and educator rooted in Jewish tradition and based in New Orleans  She performs klezmer,Yiddish music, blues, and jazz in ensembles throughout the United States and teaches group music classes and private music lessons. In addition to her work as a musician... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm CDT
Board Room, Gates of Prayer
Sunday, March 18

10:15am CDT

Co-Write a Song with Distant Cousins
Budding songwriters, this session is your chance to collaborate with nationally known folk/pop trio, Distant Cousins, to write and record a song based on a short passage from the Torah. Together with Dov, Duvid, and Ami, you will write the lyrics; discuss the mood, style, tempo, and feel of the song; and come to realize that everything can be lyrical and “song-worthy.”

avatar for Distant Cousins

Distant Cousins

Distant Cousins, the folk/pop trio from Los Angeles consisting of Duvid Swirsky ("Moshav"), Dov Rosenblatt ("Blue Fringe," "The Wellspring"), and Ami Kozak (producer), has been lighting up audiences nationwide with their energized performances and winning over screen audiences with... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am CDT
Room 208, JCC

10:15am CDT

Leonard Bernstein’s Broadway – A Centennial Celebration
To honor the centennial of the great conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), we will examine the history of his Broadway musicals from On the Town (1944) to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976). Though he wrote the music for only four shows, his productions for the Broadway stage have had a lasting cultural impact. This session will provide a critical analysis of his work and feature rare archival material (audio and video) from the presenter’s personal collection. Bernstein surrounded himself with the greatest talents of the Broadway stage and we will learn about their collaborations as well. Together we will experience the thrill of the Golden Age of Broadway of which Leonard Bernstein was a major force, one of many Jewish American composers who dominated Broadway during this legendary time period.

avatar for George Dansker

George Dansker

George Dansker is a retired Reference Librarian. He is currently the local critic for Opera News and a frequent contributor of liner notes for classic Broadway DVDs produced by Video Artists International. In 2014, he presented a lecture on the life of Broadway legend Mary Martin... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am CDT

1:30pm CDT

The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper (and the Group’s Little Known Jewish Connections)
This multimedia presentation from one of the world's leading Beatles experts focuses on how the Beatles' landmark album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was received in America on its release over 50 years ago. Relive the magic of the Beatles through music, video clips, and photographs from the sixties. Be sure to catch Bruce’s humorous take on the Beatles Jewish connections at the end of his presentation!

avatar for Bruce Spizer

Bruce Spizer

Bruce Spizer is a lifelong native of New Orleans and a first-generation Beatles fan. He is a well-known Beatles author/historian and is considered one of the world's leading experts on the Beatles. Bruce has written nine critically acclaimed  books on the Beatles, including his... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm CDT
Grant Board Room, JCC

2:45pm CDT

Klezmer: Jewish Jazz?
Is Klezmer really "Jewish Jazz"? In this session, we will examine and discuss the differences, and surprising similarities, between the Jewish American ("klezmer') and Black American ("jazz") dance band traditions. Where do they intersect, if at all? How were Jews at the forefront of the "birth of Jazz," and why can Jews be found at the highest levels of this great American sound even today?  And how did Jewish culture affect Black American musicians?  We will also listen to classic recordings for colorful examples of those cross-cultural connections, and Ben Schenck will give practical demonstrations. Ben has made a serious study of clarinet-playing masters of each form, even performing both approaches in the course of his Panorama Jazz Band's regular sets. Come with open ears and possibly see your own rich musical legacy in a new light.

avatar for Mark Rubin

Mark Rubin

Oklahoma-born, Texas-reared, and now living in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin is an unabashed Southern Jew, known equally for his muscular musicianship and larger-than-life persona. Over an accomplished 30+ year career, he has accompanied or produced a virtual who’s-who... Read More →
avatar for Ben Schenck

Ben Schenck

Ben Schenck is the clarinetist and bandleader with the Panorama Jazz Band and Brass Band and has been privileged to serve New Orleans' Jewish community with music for weddings, bnai mitzvot, festivals, and holidays since 1995.  Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Ben received his... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm CDT
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

4:00pm CDT

A World of EnCHANTment: Comparing Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu Chants
Join our musical and spiritual journey as we dive into prayer in world music. Many modes of Jewish "Nusach HaTefillah" prayer chant are shared with Arabic Maqamat of Islam and Hindustani Ragas of Northern India.  In this session, we will study how these chanted musical modes indicate the times of the year, month, week, and day and how they portray the moods and words of prayer-texts for these religious cultures. We will use trope and davening as our entry point into understanding the basic musical structures that underlie Nusach, Maqamat, and Ragas.  

avatar for Neil Schwartz

Neil Schwartz

Hazzan Neil Schwartz is a 1980 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and he earned an M.A. in Religion and Culture in Canada.  He teaches Trope and Nusach online for Hebrew College (Boston), and he serves as the Kol Bo sole clergy for Agudath Achim in Shreveport, Louisiana... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm CDT
Room 202a, JCC