Powerful Presence

A musical weekend is planned at Temple Beth David. It begins on Friday night, April 8, with a special Shabbat Service to honor Cantorial Soloist Nancy Linder’s tenth anniversary.

Since 2000, Cantorial Soloist Nancy Linder has been a powerful presence in the Temple Beth David community.  Prior to joining the clergy at Beth David, Linder was an accomplished choir director, music teacher and musical theater performer.  Linder has said that musical education had been a primary force in her life, as well as performance.  She has performed for several years as a soloist and musical director.

Born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida, Linder says she could sing before she could talk.  And that was the beginning. “I discovered my love for singing and performing when I joined the school choir and was later selected for starring roles in various school productions,” said Linder.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University, with a degree in music performance and theater and received her Master’s Degree from Azusa Pacific University.  While at Florida State, Linder was selected as one of two jazz soloists for Sarah Vaughan’s master class and was accompanied by Marcus Roberts during a 1981 performance.

“But there was always the tradition,” says Linder.  And while she taught elementary school music for 15 years, it was the opportunity to bring her talent to the sacred music that led Linder to become a cantorial soloist.  Her first album, My Favorite Hebrew Songs, grew out of a desire to record something special for her father.  Later, in 1999, she released her second album, Songs of the Jewish Spirit.  She released two more albums in 2007: Songs for Shabbat and Broadway Melodies.

Linder has inspired numerous congregants to join the all-volunteer choir and leads them through countless hours of rehearsals. From cantors’ concerts, the annual Israel Expo, holiday observances and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, to confirmations, weddings, birthday tributes and singing at the bedside of those hospitalized, Linder continues to bring comfort and joy to so many.  Most recently Linder sang at Debbie Friedman’s first night of Shiva and a Minyan at the request of colleagues and Debbie’s family.

The musical programming continues on Sunday evening, April 10, with the Temple’s second Cantorial Concert: “Broadway Returns BIGGER and BETTER to Temple Beth David.”  The concert last year was a huge success, selling out quickly, and this year promises to be just as successful.  The concert will feature Nancy Linder performing with three extraordinary veteran performers, Richard Kinsey, Susan Montgomery with special guest and world-renowned tenor, Jonathan Mack.

Richard Kinsey will be returning after his magnificent performance at last year’s concert.  He is known for his portrayal of Javert in Les Miserables more than 2,000 times, and starred in the Broadway production and in the First and Third National Companies in the United States and Canada.  Kinsey originated the role in the San Francisco Company and the International Company that toured Asia and Africa.  Kinsey’s recent theatrical roles include Bill Sykes in Oliver, Adam in Seven Brides, Eric in Phantom, Tony in Most Happy Fella, King Phillip in King John, Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate, Father in Ragtime and Blind Bartemeus in The Glory of Easter. Other shows include Man of LaMancha, The Merry Widow, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Showboat, Oklahoma, Once Upon a Mattress, the New York revival of Morning Becomes Electra and many more too numerous to mention.

Kinsey’s wife, Susan Montgomery, who has sung opera worldwide, will also be part of the evening’s performance.  Montgomery is a gifted and versatile concert and recording artist.  She has appeared locally with numerous concert and performance organizations around the southland, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Orange County Master Chorale, the Angeles Chorale, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Ojai Music Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Long Beach Bach Festival and the Corona del Mar Baroque Festival, to name a few.

As a recording artist, Montgomery has made contributions to television and movie scores including Matrix Revolutions, Around the World in Eighty Days, Scooby Doo 2, Snow Falling on Cedars, Galaxy Quest and the award winning HBO movie Angeles in America.  Montgomery earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Chapman University and a Master of Arts degree in Music from California State University in Fullerton.  Montgomery is proud to be a part of the adjunct vocal faculty at Chapman University and maintains her own private vocal studio from her residence.

Rounding out the superior cast is Jonathan Mack, a lecturer and student of vocal arts, who has earned degrees in French horn and voice from the University of Southern California.  Since graduation, his career as a lyric tenor has taken him throughout the United States, Europe and Australia as a concert and opera singer.  For four years he lived in Germany with his family where he was the leading lyric tenor for the opera house of Kiel and Dortmund.  His guest engagements took him throughout West Germany, France and Holland. Mack recently performed as a soloist with the Angeles Chorale and has sung in more than 100 productions for film, radio and television, including the 2005 Grammy Awards, television Studio 60 and, most recently, The Simpson Movie. He can be heard on numerous soundtracks including Jurassic Park, Amistad, Anastasia and Dinosaurs. Mack is on the voice faculties of the University of Southern California, Chapman University and California State University at Long Beach. He is also featured soloist on six recordings, most recently on a Crystal CD: John Briggs’ Songs of Laughter, Love and Tears.

Sponsors of the concert and those who attended last year say that this is an opportunity not to be missed.  It is first class entertainment!  The concert is open to the general community; tickets start at $25 for open seating, with VIP seating available for $40.  For additional information contact: Garry Plotkin at gplotkin@sbcglobal.net or (562) 343-4425

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