Mechina: Preparing for the Cantorate
"where the music of the past fuses with the music of the present"
Mechina Means Prepare
Through Mechina at the Los Angeles Campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) you can begin the journey toward becoming a professional cantor.
For 200 years, the cantor has served as the Jewish People's prayer leader before God, as composer of liturgical poetry and song and as educator and communal leader. Today, the cantor is part of a professional synagogue team, with rabbis and educators, working to enhance Jewish life. In addition to facilitating meaningful communal worship through synagogue music, old and new, cantors are developing specialties in education, temple administration, counseling, youth work, the liturgical arts, and synagogue programming. As a calling and a career, the canorate continues "to wed the worlds of spirit and art".
Mechina is intended for students who want to be a cantor but do not have the skills necessary for acceptance into our cantorial program or who are trying to decide if a career in the cantorate is the right career choice for them. The curriculum is designed to provide on-going development in each of three major areas of study:
Course of Study
The curriculum is designed to provide on-going development in each of three major areas of study:
- Cantorial Art and Repertoire
- Professional Development
The following courses will be offered on a yearly cycle beginning in the spring semester 2002.
CM 500 a/b Shabbat Workshop (Reform)
Students will explore the music of the Friday night Shabbat service, tracing the development of this music from its early European roots through the current musical settings of prayers and blessings. The workshop will focus on both solo and choral settings. Class discussion includes an examination of the development of the traditional siddur in relation to Reform liturgy.
CM 502 a/b Shabbat Workshop (Traditional)
Students will learn the traditional Friday night service (Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv) through the use of traditional nusach, chazzanut and cantorial recitatives. This class will explore the rites and rituals of the Friday night liturgy of the traditional synagogue.
CM 504 a/b Three Festival Workshop (Traditional)
In this workshop students will receive an introduction to the Three Festival liturgy, its melodies and extended recitatives. Special emphasis will be placed on music for Passover, including preparation of Passover Haggadah materials.
CM 520 a/b Contemporary Developments in American Jewish Music
This class will address recent developments in Jewish music. The class will examine the influences that Hassidic music, American folk music, and Israeli contemporary music have had on recent developments and changes in musical styles in contemporary American Jewish music. Careful attention will be paid to cross cultural influences.
CM 540 a/b Cantillation (Torah and Haftarah):
The time-honored tradition of chanting the Torah and the Prophets will be taught in this class. The class will follow the Eastern European system of cantilllation.
The music and cantorial faculty is composed of full and part-time personnel, many of whom serve as cantors in the Los Angeles area. The Cantorial Music Program enjoys cooperative ties with USC's Thornton School of Music and their Department of Sacred Music. The Judaica faculty consists of HUC-JIR specialists in the field of Liturgy, History, Theology and Rabbinic Literature.
David Ellenson, Rabbi, Ph.D., President
Norman J. Cohen, Rabbi, Ph.D., Provost
Lewis M. Barth, Rabbi, Ph.D., Dean
Evan Kent, Cantor, M.S.M., M.P.A., Director Cantorial Music Program
Cantor Evan Kent, M.S.M., M.P.A., Director
Cantorial Music Program
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
3077 University Ave Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: 213-749-3424 Fax: 213-749-6128