Clergy in the Key of U (for Unity!)

February 26, 2019

This past weekend I had the real pleasure of participating in a concert titled "Three Cantors and a Pastor."  My fellow performers included Cantor Murray Simon, of Temple Bat Yam (the Reform Jewish congregation that shares our facility), Cantor Randy Herman from Mt. Kisco, New York, and Cantor Elizabeth Shammash from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Our concert opened with "Hine Ma Tov," a delightful setting of portions of Psalm 133--"How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity."  The rest of the program ran the gamut--from Bizet to Bernstein, Stevie Wonder to Lerner & Lowe, and much, much more.  We were accompanied by Toby Simon, Cantor Simon's wife, and a fine musician in her own right, Saxophonist Shawn Allison, who is the leader of our Blended Trio here at SCUCC, and Dr. Thomas Cooley, percussionist and friend of our congregation.  It was truly a wonderful expression of interfaith cooperation!

One of the delightful things was discovering the various things we had in common (beyond a love of music!)  Murray, Lizzie and I, for instance, all spent time studying at Boston University.  And one of the mentors in Murray's life, Dr. David McClosky, was the husband of my voice teacher in college, Barbara McClosky.  Randy and Lizzie attended seminary together.  And the list of commonalities goes on.

I don't think you necessarily have to sing with other folks to get a chance to discover how much we share in common as human beings--much less give a concert!  But I don't think it's such a bad idea.  For throughout time music has often been a unifying force in human life!

How good and pleasant indeed!

(Photo, from left to right:  Elizabeth Shammash, John Danner, Randy Herman and Murray Simon)

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