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Shir KI, The Volunteer Choir Of Keneseth Israel, Prepares A Virtual Choir Presentation For The High Holidays

SHIR KI, our wonderful volunteer adult choir, will conclude the Rosh Hashanah service with a thrilling “VIRTUAL CHOIR PRESENTATION” of Hallelujah Psalm 150 by Louis Lewandowski.

Choral singing has been a major element of Jewish worship since the First Temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon, 3000 years ago. The large choirs in both the First and Second Temples sang chapters from the Book of Psalms to accompany the Kohanim/Priests as they brought sacrifices. As long as Jews have worshipped together, an assemblage of singers has been a major element of our worship of Almighty G-d.

The pandemic that we have lived with during the past six months has changed so many aspects of our lives. Choral music throughout the world has stopped being the major musical group activity. Since March, medical experts and choral musicians have understood that singing by soloists and by vocal groups was a dangerous vehicle for spreading the Corona-19 virus. Choral rehearsals and performances in concert halls and in houses of worship have come to a complete halt.

The VIRTUAL CHOIR EXPERIENCE has been developed as a digital replacement for the live choral experience. Last summer, Cantor Levy agreed to my proposal to enable our outstanding SHIR KI adult choir to select one piece from our High Holy Day repertoire and prepare it in the digital realm. For two weeks, all the vocal sections of our choir, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, met together with me through Zoom to rehearse their individual parts. Our professional quartet members sang with their respective sections.

Our entire choir participated in a Zoom demonstration class with Ariel Wyner of Auri Productions, the producer engaged to put together our piece. Organist Andrew Senn and the quartet prepared a “click track”. Each choir member needed to utilize his/her own laptop computer, smart cell phone, and earbuds connected to the computer. Each singer listened to the click track through the earbuds as he/she recorded his/her individual audio and video music and images on the smart phone at home. The audio and visual tracks were then uploaded to our producer, who compiled and edited the final version.

Many hours of preparation, singing, and utilization of technical equipment, were needed to complete this project. The final result lasts two minutes and thirty-eight seconds. However, it represents many hours of concentrated energy and commitment.

I am so proud that our virtual performance will conclude our Rosh Hashanah service. I am sure that our music will inspire you! When you talk with your friends in Shir KI, please be sure to congratulate them.

Our Shir KI members join me in wishing you and your families “L’shanah Tovah Tikateivu V’tehateimu/May we all be inscribed and sealed for a New Year of good health, happiness, safety, peace, and beautiful music!”

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