Catskills Are Alive With the Sound of Music

Singers and choral aficionados from across North America and Israel are warming up their vocal cords and practicing scales in anticipation of a summer pilgrimage to the Catskills. This year marks the 18th annual North American Jewish Choral Festival, an event beginning July 8, held by the Zamir Choral Foundation. Some 500 participants will attend the five-day program, which is open to amateur and professional musicians, conductors, choirs and artists.

“This is the seminal event that created the [Jewish] choral movement,” said the foundation’s founder and director, Matthew Lazar. “Singing all day… makes people feel like they’re part of a community,” and the event allows for “individual expression in the context of a group experience.”

This year, legendary musician Theodore Bikel will be presented with the festival’s Hallel V’Zimrah Award, which is given to a leader in Jewish music (past recipients have been Velvel Pasternak, Gil Aldema and Yehezkel Braun).

“I’ve known Theo for a long time,” Lazar said. “He’s a great Jewish leader, a cultural leader and a moral leader. He was a shining light when others weren’t really promoting Jewish music.”

This story "Catskills Are Alive With the Sound of Music" was written by Sarah Kricheff.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Catskills Are Alive With the Sound of Music

Thank you!

This article has been sent!