From Klezmer to Broadway: SLSO to perform Jewish music


Maybe it’s my Jewish chauvinism showing, but I believe that the world’s best composers (excepting maybe Bach, Mozart and Brahms) are Jewish. To prove my point you may hear more than a century of compositions by Jews on Sunday evening, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Amoona, 324 South Mason Road.

In celebration of the congregation’s 125th anniversary, an evening of music from the ages, the sages and the stages called Magical Musical Moments featuring Concertmaster David Halen and members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) will be presented to the community. Tickets for this special concert, starting at $18 for general admission, $36 for reserved section seats and $72 for a reserved seat, are available by sending your check payable to B’nai Amoona MMM, to Phyllis Traub and Marilyn Humiston, co-chairs, Congregation B’nai Amoona, 324 S. Mason Road, St. Louis MO 63141.

Included in the program will be Yiddish, klezmer, Broadway, Israeli, cinema, classical, jazz and liturgical music, all played by some of the city’s finest instrumentalists. They are Scott Andrews, SLSO principal clarinet; Melissa Brooks-Rubright, SLSO associate principal cello; Peter Henderson, concert pianist; Mark Sparks, SLSO principal flute and Jonathan Vincour, SLSO principal viola led by David Halen, the orchestra’s brilliant concertmaster who has served as concertmaster under Leonard Slatkin, the late Hans Vonk and currently David Robertson.

Co-chair Phyllis Traub told me that one of the highlights of the evening will be Max Bruch’s hauntingly beautiful Kol Nidre performed by cellist Brooks and pianist Henderson.

George Gershwin and Irving Berlin will be much a part of the evening’s segment featuring special guest jazz vocalist Erin Bode whose beautiful, crystal-clear voice has captivated audiences in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York and Europe. St. Louis-based Erin, also a composer and arranger, has her own group that has performed with her worldwide. In 2006, they traveled to South Africa to work with the Themba Girls’ School Choir and most recently Erin performed with Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion.

Phyllis, whose enthusiasm for the concert is contagious and fortunately that bug has been caught by her outstanding committee, told me how the program came about. “David Halen had performed several times at B’nai Amoona for the Jewish Book Festival, and I approached him to do a concert sponsored by our synagogue. He said that he would love to do such an event, and that he enjoys organizing a program around a theme. The first thing that popped into my mind was the fact that we are celebrating our 125th anniversary, and he said ‘Perfect — let’s do 125 years of Jewish music’ and our theme was born.”

Everything at the concert will be first rate, Phyllis assures me, including the Steinway grand piano and the beautiful and delicious intermission dessert reception sponsored by the B’nai Amoona Sisterhood.

METRO THEATRE COMPANY, St. Louis outstanding children’s’ theater, will celebrate its 35th anniversary with the St. Louis premiere of Go, Dog. Go! This popular children’s classic was adapted for kids three and up and will enchant them with the costumes and music performed by a large professional cast. I am told that the show will make you howl, as music, dance and surprise create a world full of doggie delight for the young and the young at heart. Go,Dog. Go! runs from Jan. 18-27 at COCA, 524 Trinity and from Feb. 2-Feb. 10 at the West County Family YMCA, 16464 Burkhart Pl. Chesterfield. For a complete schedule and for tickets, call 314-997-6777.