If you’re looking for unique live music with a biblical twist, look no further than “Duke of Psalms,” which takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 29 at Central Reform Congregation.
The groundwork for this musical event began months into the pandemic, when married couple and Rabbis Susan Talve and James Stone Goodman began studying and teaching the Psalms together online every morning. As explained on the CRC website, deep into the practice, Goodman, always with guitar in hand, started developing song ideas inspired by the language of the Psalms.
When longtime collaborators Brothers Lazaroff heard some of these songs, it sparked something sounded familiar for David and Jeff Lazaroff. Goodman was pulling from the structures their music theory teacher Florian “Duke” Michalak created for their lessons.
With the severe limitations that social-distancing placed on musical collaborations, they started via Zoom, Google docs and dropbox. With no ability to be in the studio together, they looked to Brothers Lazaroff multi-instrumentalist and music arranger Sam Golden to create full productions from the flushed-out demos the rabbis worked up at home for Brothers Lazaroff to embellish with guitar, pedal steel and vocals. Max Citron, a new collaborator who moved to St. Louis in the midst of the pandemic, helped track the vocals and master the album, which is due to be released in August.
Goodman notes, “There was a darkness in our land, a four- year decline, toward the bottom of the arc and during a time of sickness an old-new form emerged. It became a practice based on the ancient Psalms, infused by the music we were studying with our teacher. More hands and ears participated.
“It became a daily practice, a devotional sustaining and surprising. Each effort led to an expansion of the circle; with more collaboration the form evolved into something none of us anticipated. This is our offering, something bright out of darkness, something new out of something old, something holy out of something defiling. The Duke of Psalms.”
The “Duke of Psalms” concert will be held in person, outdoors, with social distancing protocols in place at CRC, 5020 Waterman Ave. Tickets are donation based: pay what you want, with a minimum of $1; all proceeds going to Goodman’s rabbinic discretionary fund.
Masks are required for anyone who is unvaccinated and welcomed for anyone who feels more comfortable with an additional layer of protection. Unvaccinated children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.
This in person concert will be streamed in addition to the live experience. In the case of inclement weather this concert will be streamed only. If plans change due to weather, all registered attendees will be informed of this change by email the day of the concert.
To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/duke-of-psalms-rabbi-jim-rabbi-susan-and-bros-laz-play-new-music-tickets-159667406511
A mini-documentary about the project is also due out in August.