The country's oldest cantorial school, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music in New York, marked its 50th anniversary with a unique concert before a full audience at the Scheuer Chapel of the HUC-JIR Cincinnati campus.
Due to the destruction of much of the Jewish musical heritage in Europe during the Holocaust, this heritage was nearly extinct. Part of the mission of the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music, said Dr. Mark Kligman, assistant professor of Jewish musicology at the SSM, was to preserve Jewish liturgical music and revive its performance and creation by contemporary musicians. The world's largest collection of pre-1850 Jewish manuscripts is now housed in the Klau Library of the HUC-JIR. During the concert, Dr. Kligman narrated the history of the cantorial school that has invested more than 300 cantors.
Since its establishment, many SSM faculty have become renowned composers, some of whose famous compositions were performed at the concert, held in memory of Mary Ethel Sharon. Among the compositions were two written and arranged by the director of liturgical arts, Bonia Shur.
The soloists were Cantor Sharon Kohn and Cantor Andrew Bernard, accompanied by Joyce Rosenzweig (piano), Kathryn Stieler (soprano), Kelly McCormick (alto), Jonathan Blake (tenor), Jonathan Talberg (baritone) and Charles Schweitzer (tof).