HomeMarch 2012Klezmer & Cantors

Klezmer & Cantors

Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim is steeped in a rich tradition of music.  The synagogue likes to put on an annual concert, often with alumni of the congregation as performers, according to Cantor Zev Brooks.  This year’s concert, “Klezmer & Cantors,” slated for Sunday, March 25, at 2:30 p.m. at Loara High School Theatre, is being underwritten by Sheri Held in honor of her late husband Lawrence Held, a music lover.
Cantor Zev Brooks, who has been serving at Temple Beth Emet since 1994 after having had his Bar Mitzvah there in 1980, expects the concert to be “an entertaining afternoon of klezmer and popular music.”  He explained that there has not been a klezmer concert in Orange County for some time and that the two cantors – he and Cantor Ilan Davidson of Temple Beth El in San Pedro – will perform 20-minute sets of “contemporary, popular music that people will enjoy.”
“What’s great about the concert is that all the performers are connected,” said Brooks.  “I’ve known Cantor Ilan Davidson since I was six years old.  We both grew up at Temple Beth Emet and went to Loara High School together.  Ilan’s mother taught my daughter in Hebrew school.”
The Golden State Klezmers did the soundtrack for The Yankles, a feature film about a fictional yeshiva baseball team of which Brooks is the cowriter and executive producer.  The Yankles, soon to be released on home video by Magnolia Pictures, has delighted audiences across the country in 24 states, 58 cities and nine countries, playing in six languages.  It has won nine film festival awards.
Brooks, whose father, Rabbi Hershel Brooks, assumed the pulpit at Temple Beth Emet when Rabbi Aaron Tofield retired in the early 1980s, has been a singer/songwriter since the age of 15.  In high school he played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and also starred with Davidson in Guys and Dolls.  He has played in bands throughout the years called The Bar Mitzvah Boys, Cruise Control and Zero Emission Vehicle.  A graduate of USC Law School, Brooks practices law in Los Alamitos.
Brooks is married to Yvette for almost 15 years and is the father of Jacqueline, 11, and Danielle, 9.
Davidson has served Temple Beth El since 1995.  Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Cantor Davidson claims both the South Bay and Rishon LeZion, Israel, as his home.  The youngest in a long familial line of cantors, he began his training at the age of five with his mentor, Hazzan Philip Moddel z”l.  With his strong performing arts background from the University of California, the cantor is also a talented secular musician and contemporary Jewish singer and songwriter.  He released his first album, Stained Glass, in 1995.
At ten, he made his Operatic debut with the Fullerton Civic Light Opera’s production of Bizet’s Carmen, as a street urchin.  Since then, he has performed roles in and scenes from Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, L’Elisir D’amore, Les Pecheûrs du Perles and Manon.  Besides his Operatic experience, Cantor Davidson also has extensive background, performing and directing theatre.  He has performed such roles as Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls and Tony in West Side Story, and has produced many one man musical theatre reviews.  Davidson has also been the musical and artistic director for many children’s theatre productions.
Davidson is married to Jodi, and they are the parents of Jordan Rebecca and Zoe Lauren.
The Golden State Klezmers have entertained presidents, heads of state, movie stars and movie moguls.  They have been in more than 700 concerts, as back-up musicians for many stars. Their performances have been heard on theatrical shows like Ghetto (Mark Taper Forum), Shulamis (University of Judaism), Shlemiel the First (Geffen Playhouse), Countess Maritza (L.A.Opera), Kabbalah (Lex Theater) for which they received the LA Weekly Theater Award for “Best Original Music,” The Bride and the Brothel (Gascon Center Theater) and Simcha (Theatre 40).  Members of the Golden State Klezmers appear on the soundtracks of dozens of films and television programs, films and shows like A Call to Remember, Mobster, West Bank Story (winner of an Academy Award in 2007 for Best Live Action Short), Love Affair, House, Cheers, Heart to Heart, Gilmore Girls, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Keeping Up With the Steins, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Clarinetist Zinovy Goro founded GSK in 1979.  After graduating with honors in performance and composition from the Kiev State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Goro worked for 10 years as principal clarinetist in the Honored Radio & Television Symphony Orchestra in Kiev.  In 1979 he immigrated to the US from the Ukraine.  Upon arriving in Los Angeles he immediately discovered a big demand for Klezmer music, a style of music forbidden in the USSR.  In America the recordings of Giora Feidman introduced him to Klezmer music.   The rest is history.
Tickets are $54 for reserved seating and $25 for general admission. For more information or sponsorship opportunities, call Temple Beth Emet at (714) 772-4720.


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