So on Sunday afternoons, when we rehearse, I am so tired as it is the end of a what is typically a long weekend of Shabbat services and teaching on Sunday mornings—our students are tired as well, but music is the cure all for that ailment. We start with a Hello song –
(Group) Hello _____ shalom shalom tell me how are you ha’yom?
(____) I’m fine thanks, todah rabbah
(Group) we welcome you Baruch Habbah.
Then we move on to vocal exercises, making sure that we use our hands as well as our voices to show the progression up or down of the musical notes—music theory 101. “Mamma made me mash my M&M’s” is a popular lyric for that exercise. Then on to the real work – we will do a song that we know as a good warm up and then on to music that we need to learn for our next performance, whether an outright show, or a worship service in the synagogue. Oh yes and the drums—drums are a very effective tool in helping the brain connect to music. Sometimes hitting a drum for every syllable helps the non-verbal person actually say the words. I don’t know the science but I know the almost miraculous effect. Speaking of miracles, we were rehearsing for Hanukka and doing a Debbie Friedman song, “Miracles Aren’t Just Magic.” The words continue “…..they need people to help them along.” We talked about the miracles of Hannukah, not just the oil but the defeat of Israel’s enemies. I stated that we couldn’t just stand there and expect God to help us win the battle, and one of the students said “We have to be partners with God and do our part!” We later sung another beautiful song by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, “Olam Chesed Yibane,” “ We shall build this world with kindness.” We made up our own words as we continued “I shall build this world with SONG…PEACE.” The words of the song represent a progression—“I shall….you shall…if we…THEN GOD will build this world with peace.” I asked how this was like the miracle song, and one of our members said “it is the same thing—if we don’t work to make it happen and be partners with God then it doesn’t work…we have to do our share!”
I enter our Kolot Tikvah rehearsal tired every Sunday afternoon, but leave refreshed, inspired and filled with awe and love. Working with this choir and my other childrens choirs remains the most fulfilling work that I do. This last rehearsal I was a little bit in tears—I realized that m’dor l’dor, from generation to generation, the values that my mother taught me continue well in to the later years of my life. I have worked to instill those values in my children, and yes my grandchildren as well.
The Kolot Tikvah choir, as well as Shir Aliyah and other choirs will be participating in a service on January 16th called “Voices of Freedom—Dr. King, the Legacy Lives On!” The focus of the service is Interfaith worship with representatives and choirs of different faith groups in our community coming together to make Dr. King’s reality of all peoples living together in freedom.