Synagogues join in simultaneous sing-along


LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 (JTA) — An innovative musical service will premiere simultaneously at 40 synagogues in the United States and Canada on Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Song, on Jan. 21.

Children’s choirs and cantors at Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist temples from Beverly Hills to Boston and from Toronto to New Orleans will perform composer Michael Isaacson’s “L’maaseih V’reicheet — To Recreate the World.”

The transcontinental collaborative effort in creating and performing the one-hour musical work “represents the largest Jewish musical co-commissioning in American history,” according to Cantor Jay Frailich of University Synagogue in West Los Angeles, coordinator of the project.

Frailich started the venture more than two years ago, convinced that “North American Jewry needed an innovative Jewish musical response in praise and gratitude to God as we begin a new secular era.”

“To Recreate the World” includes 20 contemporary and traditional worship songs and readings and uses a novel technique to allow all 40 synagogues, regardless of size and resources, to participate in the world premiere of the musical work.

At each synagogue, the live voices of children and cantors will merge with elaborate orchestral and adult choral accompaniments, pre-recorded on a compact disc.

This combination, new to Jewish worship music, “marks a new direction in the performance of 21st century Jewish music,” Isaacson said.

The voices of 12 cantorial soloists are heard on the compact disc.

A Brooklyn native and resident of Encino, the 53-year old Isaacson is a composer, conductor, producer and educator, whose credits include 400 Jewish and secular published compositions, recorded on 40 CDs and albums.

He has composed and conducted original scores for numerous television shows and movies, most recently for director Barry Levinson’s “Liberty Heights.”

To finance the $100,000 project, each of the participating synagogues, in 17 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, contributed $2,500.

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