Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jump Right In, The Water's Fine!

It's been a whirlwind of a week (week and a half?) since I last wrote. I am happy to report that for perhaps the first time ever since I've lived in NYC, I feel good, content, dare I say HAPPY about being here. With everything that I have going on right now (and the school year hasn't even started yet!) I've been able to put my nose to the grindstone and get cracking on what I'm feeling will be a fantastic year.

First on the docket: PRACTICUM. Like I wrote in my last post, I have my second practicum on September 9. Since I did absolutely no work during the summer, I've been working hard to put together a program of music that is interesting, practical, and beautiful. I'm thrilled with my selections and so thankful for the help and advice given to me by the amazing faculty of the SSM. I've had 3 coachings this week and already feel like the practicum is in semi-decent shape. For those of you who are familiar with Jewish music, here is the program thus far:

Hin'ni--Meir Finkelstein
Bachodesh Hashvi'i--acc. to High Holy Day trope
Tik'u--Fredrick Piket
Barechu--Louis Lewandowski (the old, familiar melody that everyone loves to sing at HHDs.)
Chatzi Kaddish--Israel Alter
Kadosh Atah--Max Janowski (so excited for this! Janowski is one of the reasons I am becoming a cantor. Amazing!)
EITHER Avinu Malkeinu--Bruce Ruben followed by the folk song OR an arrangement of B'sefer Chayim composer TBD
Sermon Anthem: M'loch--Israel Alter
Kiddush--Abraham Leavitt

There are a lot of big pieces in this program, which excites me. I'm also working with a fabulous organist who adds so, so much to the program. I feel like I'm in my element, singing the music that inspired me to come to HUC. Singing it makes me very happy, indeed :)

NEXT: High Holy Days

When you see your cantors and rabbis at your HHD services, give them a big hug. And maybe a beer. They deserve both, and by the end of Yom Kippur, they'll need them.

This year I have taken on the responsibility of making music binders for myself and the organist and Temple Beth Israel, my student congregation. I didn't realize just how huge of a task this was going to be, and I've already spent many hours slaving away over cue sheets and copy machines. It's really exciting to be the first "cantor" my congregation has ever had, but it's an awful lot of work to prepare. I must say, though, that I've had a wonderful time planning with the rabbi I am working with, who has allowed me to share all of my thoughts and opinions and create services that please both of us (and hopefully the congregation!) I am almost done organizing my Rosh Hashanah binders, save for a few pieces I left at home during my photocopying extravaganza on Thursday (damn.)

Work aside, I've had a lot of opportunity to see old friends, meet the new 2nd year cantorial students who all seem nice and talented, and further explore this crazy city. It feels nice to have some old, familiar spots and hangouts while also discovering new ones every day.

Right now, as I am relishing this sweet Shabbat and still digesting last night's wonderful Shabbas dinner (thanks RGM!) with REALLY GOOD friends, I am thankful and happy to be here.

It's going to be a good year, guys.

BTW--I tried uploading pics to this post, but blogger is being weird. I'll post some soon, I promise!


Rachel said...

A pleasure to have you!

Glad you're happy. Deep breaths :)

See you tomorrow morning!

Chaya Gusfield said...

i am looking for a way to chant/sing bachodesh do you do it? can i download it somehow?


Chaya (