HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir at the Metropolitan Opera House
Hundreds of teen singers from the U.S. and Israel will share a rare and unforgettable moment performing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, Broadway and 64th Street, when HaZamir holds its gala concert on Sunday, March 26th at 4:00pm.
HaZamir is a project of the Zamir Choral Foundation, the only international organization dedicated to fostering Jewish identity across generational, denominational, and geographic lines through Jewish choral music. "To perform at the Met is a great honor. I know I speak for all of the singers, musicians and conductors, when I say this is a day we will always treasure." says Maestro Matthew Lazar, the founder and director of the Zamir Choral Foundation, who will share the stage with conductors from thirty-five HaZamir chapters and four hundred singers.
HaZamir has doubled in size in the past six years, with twenty-nine chapters in the U.S. and six in Israel. Vivian Lazar, Director of HaZamir says, "We are thrilled that our singers will have the opportunity to perform on such an auspicious stage. We hope this extraordinary experience motivates and inspires them to continue performing at the highest musical standards."
"Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined singing where some of my favorite legendary singers have performed. With all the doors that HaZamir has already opened for me, I should not have been surprised. What a privilege." says Benjy, a 16-year-old HaZamir singer.
HaZamir is not just a choir, it is also a dynamic youth movement offering a pluralistic environment where participants can interact with teens from all streams of Judaism. HaZamir singers learn Jewish choral repertoire as they build community, develop leadership skills, connect to Jewish culture, and receive a Jewish education while studying the texts of the music.
Each HaZamir chapter learns a shared repertoire throughout the year. The gala concert is the result of months of study and rehearsal and brings together the singers from each chapter, as well as alumni. The New York performance is a yearly highlight, filled with music, Judaism, and spirituality in a powerful blend that can be nothing short of life changing for the participants. Indeed, the music serves as an 'agent of Jewish transformation' for both the singers and the audience.
This year's gala program includes traditional and modern compositions from the U.S. and Israel, in Hebrew and English. It features the world premiere of FanFare for Jerusalem by award-winning New York pianist and composer, Randy Klein. His composition is based on excerpts from the Psalms of David.
At each year's gala, the Zamir Choral Foundation presents the Kinor David Award, which honors individuals who have a made a meaningful contribution to HaZamir. There are three outstanding recipients:
Francine M. Gordon is an activist and philanthropist who brought the HaZamir program to the Jewish Federation in Cleveland, creating the first HaZamir sister-city Partnership in Israel. Fran divides her time between New York City and Cleveland, and is a member of the Zamir Chorale.
Phyllis and Richard Rosen helped create and sustain the HaZamir Jerusalem chapter. They created the Jeanne R. Mandell Fund for New Music which annually funds the composition of new works that are premiered by ensembles associated with ZCF, becoming part of the growing Jewish choral repertoire. The Rosen's live in Mt. Kisco, New York.