The Zamir Chorale and Zamir Noded combined to celebrate Hanukkah and Other Miracles on Sunday evening, December 10 at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall.
In a year in which we observed the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress and the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (setting the stage for the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel later this year), the repertoire included traditional and contemporary Hanukkah music, as well as songs from and about the Jewish State. The program also included several selections by David Burger, including a reprise of his “Shab’chi Yerushalayim: The Battle for Jerusalem” (premiered last spring at Zamir’s Jerusalem Celebration) performed by the Zamir Chorale, and his “Songs to Jerusalem” performed by Zamir Noded.
The large, intergenerational crowd was fully engaged by each of the performing choirs, as well as the informative introductions to each selection offered by Maestro Matthew Lazar. Their enthusiasm grew noticeably when the Zamir Chorale and Zamir Noded combined for the end of the program. The attendees also enjoyed joining in the singing of the familiar “Mi Y’mallel” canon, and added their “snapping” (appropriately off the beat) to accompany “This Little Light.”
The evening concluded with a post-concert reception for supporters of the Zamir Choral Foundation, generously hosted by Cantor Marcy and Paul Kadin, and a brief presentation from the evening’s special guest, renowned Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt. In her remarks, Dr. Lipstadt echoed comments Maestro Lazar had made earlier in the evening, noting the power of music to convey and preserve memory through its combination of text and melody. She also pointed to the presence of the “veteran” singers of the Zamir Chorale as well as the more “youthful” voices of Zamir Noded as the embodiment of the Jewish continuity that is at the heart of the Foundation’s mission.