Home February 2011 Melodic Moment

Melodic Moment

Come March, Tustin’s own B’nai Israel will play host to a concert of near Biblical proportions.  The Jewish Tenors will be gracing the congregation and guests with their fantastically melodic presence. The event is being sponsored and underwritten by the Rosyln and Joseph Baim Foundation.

For those not in the know, the Jewish Tenors are a singing group composed of musically talented cantors who have all traveled the United States – some of them beyond – sharing their gift with music lovers everywhere. Cantor Benzion Miller, for instance, is considered by many to stand at the very summit of the world cantorate, while at the same time enjoying praise as one of the most renowned interpreters of liturgical music. As Cantor of Congregation Beth El in New York since 1981, Cantor Miller has performed alongside the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem symphony, the Rishon L’Tzion Symphony, the Haifa Symphony and members of the London Symphony. He has also recorded for the Milken Archive. Born in a DP camp in Fernwald, Germany, Cantor Miller began singing at the fresh age of five. He is well-versed in operatic repertoire and Jewish and Hassidic folk music as well and frequently performs with his son Cantor Chaim Shimon Miller.

Cantor Yaakov Motzen is another member of the Jewish Tenors, a man who has proven to be a rather remarkable cantorial singer all over the world. Born in Tel Aviv, he is a fifth generation cantor and began his singing career at age six with Cantor Shlomo Ravitz’s choir.  He spent eighteen years serving as cantor to two major congregations in Montreal before moving to Toronto, where he now serves as the cantor of Shaarei Shomayim, the largest Orthodox shul in the city. As testament to his singing career, Cantor Motzen has released more than a dozen recordings of Hassidic and cantorial music. He has also given concert performances in Australia, Europe and South Africa, as well as all over Israel and America.

Readers may very well recognize Cantor Benjamin Warschawski for his talents in the operatic and cantorial realms.  A man who incorporates a classical style in his cantorial singing and a soulful emotion on the operatic stage, Cantor Warschawski has been dubbed by many as “this generation’s Richard Tucker.”  Having performed on the stages of the New York City Opera, Sarasota Grand Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Washington Summer Opera and Opera Naples, Cantor Warschawski has played the lead in operas such as Tosca, Carmen, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, Rigoletto and Il Trovatore. On top of the honor of having performed next to almost every major cantor and renowned Jewish singer in today’s world, Cantor Warschawski also serves as chief cantor to the Ezra Habonim/The Niles Township Congregation in Chicago.

For many, it will be a pleasant surprise to witness Cantor Daniel Gildar, one of the world’s most prominent accompanists of cantorial music, walk onto B’nai Israel’s stage. A well-respected cantor born in Cleveland, Ohio, he is much-sought-after for his talents as an accompanist of Jewish music in voice and piano. On top of that, Cantor Gildar has been described by almost every musical colleague as “a warm Jewish soul” and “a serious artist,” and performs in a rather appealing vaudevillian manner. Having participated in seven missions to Eastern and Central Europe under the guidance of the Chaim & Gila Weiner Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Art, Cantor Gildar has served as the accompanist for each and every concert produced by Cantors of the World.

Attending the concert as a special guest of the Jewish Tenors is Cantor Herschel Fox, who has held his position as cantor of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino since 1981 and has become one of America’s most beloved Yiddish artists – known to the New York Times as “the Yiddish James Stewart.” Born two days before the end of World War II to Polish Jewish parents in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Cantor Fox, like many of his peers, began his singing career as a child. He has appeared in countless theatres, night clubs and synagogues all over America. He performs both alone and alongside his wife, Cantor Judy Fox.

By the age of twelve, Cantor Chris “Chayim” Hardin, a composer, orchestrator, musical director and director of much respect, had emerged from his childhood with a mastery over all wind instruments. Once he reached high school, he then proceeded to learn all of the brass, percussion and string instruments before beginning to arrange and compose. Since then, Cantor Hardin has constantly been in demand.  He has had the pleasure of performing with figures of great repute such as jazz legend Maynard Ferguson, cabaret artists Michelle Lee, Sally Kellerman, Merv Griffin, Freda Payne and former President Bill Clinton. He is also the recipient of awards for his film and commercial scores. Cantor Hardin has devoted the previous ten years to composing, orchestrating and arranging for the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, Craig Taubman, Tovah Feldshuh and many others. Cantor Hardin will be performing at the concert in direction of the Chris Hardin Orchestra.

Lovers of operatic and cantorial music will not want to miss this incredible performance. The concert is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $36 for unreserved seats, $54 for reserved seats, $72 for VIP seats as well as admittance to a private dessert reception with the artists and $100 for all of the above including a recognition in the program. Readers interested may call (714) 730-9693 to reserve tickets.

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