Ḥanukkah Concert & Singalong with Kouskous and Carol

Monday, November 29, 2021, at 7 pm—Our Journeys in Jewish Music series* concludes with a musical Ḥanukkah celebration featuring Kouskous and Carol Sokoloff on Monday, November 29, 2021, at 7 pm. We will light the menorah for the second night of Ḥanukkah and invite everyone to join us lighting their own. Then the Ḥanukkah songs will start—from Kouskous’s Ma’oz Tzur and Mi Y’malel to melodies from around the globe and Carol’s Ḥanukkah–themed originals. You’ll want to sing or play along with many of them, and we’ll be sharing some words and guitar chords on the screen. Bring your menorah and candles, your voice, guitar, or other instrument and let’s celebrate a light-filled Ḥanukkah season. All are welcome to join our celebration of the Festival of Lights in song. 

Continue reading Ḥanukkah Concert & Singalong with Kouskous and Carol

The Cantor’s Gift with Hazzan Rob Menes

Monday, November 15, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom—This fifth conversation in the Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) fall Journeys in Jewish Music series*, The Cantor’s Gift, takes us into the synagogue to consider how the cantor (hazzan) combines vocal prowess and Torah wisdom to enhance prayer experience through sacred song. On Monday, November 15, 2021, at 7 pm, Hazzan Rob Menes, a former VJCC Director, will explore what it means to be a leader in prayer and a guide for spiritual growth. Hazzan Rob will explore the ways in which a cantor seeks out and exposes those parts of music and prayer which touch the soul, and the ways in which a cantor transcends the role of entertainer to facilitate a deeper connection.

Hazzan Rob Menes has led congregations and performed with symphony orchestras throughout North America. Prior to realizing his vocation as a chaplain (currently at the Louis Brier Home in Vancouver), he has been a cantor, an executive director, an engineer, and a government bureaucrat. His broad perspective on music, religion and science has enabled him to identify and respond to what touches the soul from wherever it comes. To receive communications about this series…

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 915 3982 1504
Passcode: 687655

* This series was made possible through the support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island. There is no charge for the series, but donations towards the Victoria Jewish Community Choir are welcome through jewishmusictalks@gmail.com.

Innovations in Liturgy with Rabbi Louis Sutker

Monday, November 1, 2021, at 7 pmThe Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, November 1, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom with Rabbi Louis Sutker discussing Innovations in Liturgy. Rabbi Louis Sutker delights in creating liturgy that reflects both tradition and innovation. In this presentation, he will share ways to use traditional and contemporary music to make Jewish prayer personally meaningful. This program may be most suited to those familiar with Jewish prayer traditions—Rabbi Sutker advises that participants might wish to have access to the weekday service in a traditional siddur. However, those unfamiliar with Jewish prayer are also welcome to learn about both traditions and innovations in musical approaches to prayer.

Rabbi Louis Sutker has been an inspiring presence in the Victoria Jewish Community for many years. A student of Rabbi Zalman Schacter, Louis was ordained as a rabbi in 2005, after a long career in psychology. He has also been a lifelong musician and music lover. Currently retired, Rabbi Louis is able to luxuriate in obsessing on language and how to help himself and others use liturgy in creative ways to increase love and caring between us.

  • Join online: CLICK HERE
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 938 6600 6689
  • Passcode: 376234

To Sefarad and Beyond: Dr. Judith Cohen

The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 7 pm with Dr. Judith Cohen discussing To Sefarad and Beyond, A Personal Journey. The talk will take place on Zoom. In an informal interview with moderator Carol Sokoloff, Dr. Cohen shares her personal tales of a journey which took her from her youth in Montreal to the land of Spain and beyond.

Dr. Cohen writes, “Fifty years ago I crossed the border into Spain on the lumbering old train from France, with one small bag and a dictionary. The word Sefarad was not yet in my vocabulary. I was part of the 60s folk revival, sang French Canadian and Yiddish songs, and played classical clarinet. I had been to the-then-Yugoslavia and loved the music—but had no knowledge of Spain or Spanish anything. This is an informal account of how I got from there to here, with songs and stories—and Carol’s and all of your questions!”

Dr. Judith Cohen of York University is an acclaimed ethnomusicologist and performer specializing in Sephardic music, also known as Judeo-Spanish or Ladino song. In Sephardic music we hear the tales of so many times and places from the well-remembered culture of Spain to the various lands Jews settled in after their expulsion in 1492.

You won’t want to miss this fascinating conversation which examines the questions of what makes Sephardic music so universally appealing, and how it has survived through centuries and numerous.

Send a note to register for this and all the Journeys in Jewish Music series. All are welcome and the talks are free of charge thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

  • Join online: CLICK HERE
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 958 9049 0481
  • Passcode: 333095

The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing

Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom—The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm with broadcaster Andy Muchin as he explores the delightful Yiddish singing group, The Barry Sisters and the revival of what was known as Yiddish Swing.

The Barry Sisters—Claire and Merna—were early stars of this style, and their lively renditions outlasted the swing craze and reenergized Yiddish song in the Americas. With their sweet, tight harmonies and consummate artistry, the sisters performed on radio and television, at nightclubs, and on concert stages for some 35 years including a 1959 US friendship tour of the Soviet Union as star performers. The Barry Sisters recorded mostly, Yiddish songs on numerous 78 rpm discs and LPs.

Not only will this presentation explore the Barry Sisters’ brilliant career during and after Yiddish Swing, it will also take a toe-tapping detour through some of the best Yiddish swing recordings from artists as diverse as klezmer clarinetist, Dave Tarras, and jazz singer/songwriter Slim Gaillard.

Andy Muchin has hosted the weekly Sounds Jewish radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Radio-J.com since 2010. He has written about Jewish music for Forward newspaper, Moment Magazine, and other publications.

All are welcome to attend this exciting Zoom presentation for free, thanks to the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI). To register (and receive full information) on this and the other sessions this fall please send us a note.

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 961 0251 7947
Passcode: 657412

Music of the High Holy Days

Monday, September 13, 2021, 7–8:30 pm—The Journeys in Jewish Music: Part 2 offered by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) opens on Monday, September 13, 2021, at 7:00 pm with Music of the High Holy Days presented by Moshe Denburg of the musical group Tzimmes. Moshe will share the deeper musical meaning of High Holy Day traditions by delving into the modes and melodies used at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to enhance the prayers and their meaning. Moshe will also focus on the cantillation system used in High Holy Day Torah readings. Musical examples, both recorded and live, will be presented, along with opportunities for singing along.

Moshe Denburg is an award-winning composer, arranger, and music educator whose works have been widely performed in Canada, the US, and internationally. Moshe hails from a well-known Montreal rabbinical family, and is known for his extensive knowledge of Jewish liturgy and musical practices. Moving west in 1982, he started the world-music ensemble Tzimmes in 1986 while studying composition at the University of Victoria. A life-long musician, Moshe studied in the US, Israel, India, and Japan, and is the founder of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), which brings together the instrumental and musical resources of many cultures.

To register for this session, please send an email to the following address: jewishmusictalks@gmail.com

About Journeys in Music: Part 2

VJCC Journeys in Jewish Music: Part 2

First session Monday, September 13, 2021—The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) is pleased to announce six new conversations in its well-received Journeys in Jewish Music series. The talks feature outstanding presenters including performers, rabbis, cantors, broadcasters and academics; are held on Zoom; and are free of charge thanks to the support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI).

The next six conversations will take place at 7 pm on Monday evenings from September 13 to November 29, 2021, and will be moderated by Carol Sokoloff, co-director of the Victoria Jewish Choir. The series opens on Monday, September 13, 2021, Music of the High Holidays with Moshe Denburg of Tzimmes.

The Fall series includes following presentations:

  • Monday, September 13, 2021, Music of the High Holidays with Moshe Denburg of Tzimmes
  • Monday, October 4, 2021, The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing with broadcaster Andy Muchin
  • Monday, October 18, 2021, To Sefarad and Beyond—A Personal Journey with Dr. Judith Cohen of York University
  • Monday, November 1, 2021Innovations in Liturgy with Rabbi Louis Sutker
  • Monday, November 15, 2021, The Cantor’s Gift with Cantor Rob Menes, former director of the Victoria Jewish Community Choir
  • Monday, November 29, 2021, Songs of Chanuka with Kouskous (Gary Cohen and Amber Woods) and Friends
Continue reading VJCC Journeys in Jewish Music: Part 2

And there was music

 The Journeys in Jewish Music series produced by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) wrapped up on Sunday, June 20, 2021 with an engaging session on Klezmer music by Moshe Denburg. VJCC is grateful for the funding from the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI) which, along with the support of our community sponsor Congregation Emanu-El, the enthusiasm of the many who participated and those who made donations, made the program possible.

We are incredibly pleased to announce that JFVVI has granted us another generous allotment which makes it possible to continue the series in the Fall with an additional six Zoom presentations. We are now organizing this series and welcome any suggestions regarding content or knowledgeable presenters. The talks are scheduled for Monday evenings following the High Holydays, and dates and details will be released as available. If you registered for the previous series, you will automatically be notified and sent the links.

To register or send comments or suggestions please send a note to: jewishmusictalks@gmail.com.
The Victoria Jewish Community Choir is non-auditioned and welcomes all voices. The Choir will re-convene as soon as regulations permit. If you are interested in joining the choir, please contact co-director Carol Sokoloff at casjazz@islandnet.com.

The Way of the Klezmer: Klezmer and Yiddish Song

Sunday, June 20, 2021, at 7:30 pm—Journeys of Jewish Music, sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir, brings Moshe Denburg back for the sixth and last conversation in the series. Moshe will explore the Ashkenazi stream of Jewish music and answer some of the following questions: What is Klezmer? What are its modes and rhythms? How is Yiddish song associated with the Klezmer tradition? How have Ashkenazi traditions of Jewish music-making evolved over the past 150 years? There will be musical examples sung and played live with participation encouraged. For advance information on the subject, consult this essay on the Tzimmes website: http://www.tzimmes.net/jewish-music/the-way-of-the-klezmer/

Moshe Denburg is an award-winning composer, arranger, and music educator whose works have been widely performed in Canada, the US, and internationally. Moshe hails from a well-known Montreal Rabbinical family; he moved to the West coast in 1982. Having grown up in the synagogue, his knowledge of Jewish liturgy and musical practices is deeply rooted. He has traveled worldwide, living, and studying in the US, Israel, India and Japan. A life-long musician, Moshe has sung and written songs in Jewish and Middle Eastern idioms extensively. He started his ensemble Tzimmes in Victoria in 1986; he studied composition at UVic. Moshe is committed to presenting Jewish Music in its many styles and languages. His music incorporates Klezmer (European), Sephardi (Mediterranean), and North American Folk influences in several languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and English. Moshe is also the founder of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and has written many large scale compositions which bring together the instrumental and musical resources of many cultures. 

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 943 1192 7875

Sing a New Song to G!d

Monday, June 7, 2021, from 7:30 -8:45 pmJourneys of Jewish Music sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir welcomes Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel who will continue our series with Sing a New Song to G!d: New Prayer Compositions.

The phrase, “Sing a New Song to G!d” is found in several psalms. Rabbi Hanna—composer of new liturgical music—will explore the creation of soulful songs of Jewish prayer, and share her experience as part of a moment when new melodies were pouring into the world. She affirms that,  through inspiration and connection, one may open the heart to “the mystery” tapping into grace.

Rabbi Hanna  will share her own compositions, and some exquisite prayer songs currently flowing through gifted young composers. These songs invite the joy of transcendence, and the experience of oneness that bring about a kind of ecstasy for composer, listener, and those who sing. Rabbi Hanna is a poet and composer of mystical music, who has recorded eight albums of original liturgical compositions. With her husband, Rabbi Daniel, she has helped build and sustain communities in Vancouver BC, Hanover NH, and Boston, MA. She also serves as a spiritual guide in the ALEPH Clergy Program. 

To register for this session, please send an email to the following address: jewishmusictalks@gmail.com

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 978 7083 2754