Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

  • Music:

"Deadly song" (204.3)

At the end of this morning's Yom Kippur service, the rabbi asked the temple's choir director to speak. She's answering the question I hadn't gotten around to asking: How did we happen to have recordings of what sound like our own choir and our long-ago cantor that could be played during these services? I couldn't imagine they had gotten together in person to record the music.

Apparently she has been casually recording rehearsals for twenty years! One of the things that really made last night's service connect for me was the familiar voice of the old cantor, whose name I think was Abe. Can't recall the rest of his name. Robin, the current cantor, is great, and I'm sure she also has some appeal to a younger generation. But I'm sure she would agree that there was something about Abe's voice, deep and rich, that was just perfect.

Linda, the choir director, talked this morning about how they had had to abruptly stop getting together in person way back on March 13th. In Westchester, the pandemic grew very quickly, and it seemed clear that talking in person, but especially singing, with the potential for virus-laden droplets to fly around, could be hazardous. A church choir in Washington was an early superspreader, with a number of people dying after a choir got together for a rehearsal despite being told not to. She called it "deadly song." Zoom saved religious school sessions and religious services, but anyone who's tried singing "Happy Birthday" on a Zoom call has figured out that you just can't have multiple people singing that way. They also contemplated having the choir members record their singing individually and then have it all edited together, but that's hard to coordinate and time-consuming to edit.

The recordings of the choir, in between parts that Robin is singing, are really making the services work for me! Have to say I'm also happy that Rabbi Seltzer, our own Rabbi Schecter's teacher from decades ago, made a pre-recorded video appearance. He has always been a guest speaker at High Holy Day services, and has filled in occasionally, and it's great to see him. Considering Eddie has been our rabbi for about five decades, Rabbi Seltzer must be actually old. I'm not gonna ask how old.

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