Allards scheduled to visit B’nai El

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

Award-winning nationally known Jewish children’s recording artists Peter and Ellen Allard will be providing an entire weekend of interactive musical experiences from March 7 – 9 as Congregation B’nai El artists-in-residence. The dynamic couple has presented concerts for all ages and conducted workshops for students and faculty using music to enrich and strengthen Jewish identities.

The Allards have served as faculty at Hava Nashira, a conference of Jewish musicians held in Wisconsin, which is where Rabbi Daniel Plotkin met them. Plotkin was immediately taken with the down to earth couple and their ability to entertain, educate and elevate at the same time.

ADVERTISEMENT
New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

“Their music has a sense of humor which spans all the generations,” Plotkin said. “And yet they are able to bring individuals to a more serious spiritual level.”

Lifelong member of the congregation Colleen Isele is the event chair for the weekend. She said the congregation is very excited about having the Allards as their artists-in-residence. Many new people have come forward to participate on the event committee and be part of the weekend.

“We have an incredible, energetic committee devoted not just to one night but an entire weekend of festivities,” Isele said.

The weekend of activities begins with a potluck dinner and musical service on Friday evening. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. with services following at approximately 7:30 p.m. Peter and Ellen will be leading a lively interactive service to welcome Shabbat. The dinner and services are open to the community at no charge though reservations for the dinner are required.

The Allards will present their award winning Tot Shabbat service on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Plotkin said it is their signature service which will leave families wanting more. The service combines old and new songs, blessings and prayers. There will also be a special art project for the entire family followed by a light Kiddush luncheon with kid friendly food.

Saturday evening is an adults — age 21 and over only — event with wine, cheese and song. The program begins with Havdalah and a wine-and-cheese reception. Participants will enjoy the evening’s more intimate setting with the Allards. The group will have the opportunity to get inspired through text study and discussions before merging their thoughts with words as they do a little song writing of their own. Seating is limited for this event. There is a $15 per person charge and reservations are necessary.

On Sunday at noon the congregation and B’nai Torah present their fourth joint Purim Carnival Celebration. There will be games, food, a cake walk, a spectacular silent auction for the kids and costume parade. The Allards will be leading the various groups of songwriters in presenting the songs they have created over the weekend.

“Once you have experienced Peter and Ellen you will never have that level of excitement until you see them again,” Plotkin said. “We are an increasingly family-friendly congregation and are looking forward to the opportunity to share that with the rest of the St. Louis Jewish community.”

The Peter and Ellen Allard artists-in-residence weekend is made possible through the generosity of B’nai El’s Women of Reform Judaism, as well as Ruth Schneider along with Ruth Berg, Greta and Al Forsman, Lorrie and Maury Poscover and Susan and John Keyes.

For more information about the weekend festivities or to make reservations, call 314-432-6393. Potluck dinner reservations for Friday night are due by March 3. Reservations for the Wine, Cheese and Song Saturday evening program are due by March 5.