Kol Rinah plans ‘Singing Shabbaton’ with Joey Weisenberg

 Joey Weisenberg is creative director of Mechon Hadar Center for Jewish Communal Music. Photo: Dan Rous

Joey Weisenberg, the creative director of Mechon Hadar Center for Jewish Communal Music, will give Kol Rinah “a giant singing lesson” at a Singing Communities Shabbaton Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 14.   Kol Rinah invites the community — of all levels of singing talent and experience — to learn from Weisenberg, who will serve as the congregation’s scholar-in-residence for the weekend, teaching how to sing with others as a community while focusing on the intersection of music, spirituality and prayer.

“Joey is the master of teaching communities how to sing together,” said Kol Rinah Rabbi Noah Arnow. “I’ve known Joey for 10 years, seeing him blossom as a shaliach tzibbur (public prayer leader) and teacher. He’s also an outstanding musician, singer and composer.”  

At Mechon Hadar Center for Jewish Communal Music, Weisenberg — the author of “Building Singing Communities” —  works to educate and train communities around the world to unlock their musical and spiritual potential. 

As scholar-in-residence at Kol Rinah, Weisenberg will not lead lectures. Instead, he will sing with the congregation and help the group sing together. The schedule of events includes:

Friday, Feb. 12:  

At 5:30 p.m., Weisenberg leads Nigun-infused Shabbat Preparation: New and familiar niguns (wordless melodies) to warm up for the congregation’s Kabbalat Shabbat service at 6 p.m.  

At 7:15 p.m., there will be a Shabbat dinner (reservations required), followed by an 8:30 program, “Transformation of a Nigun,” which uses old melodies and Weisenberg’s own compositions “to collectively bring music to life.”

Saturday, Feb. 13: 

At 11 a.m., Weisenberg leads a D’var Torah on “the architecture of listening,” followed by Musaf at 11:15 on merging traditional nusach (prayer chant) with soulful nigunim to cultivate the communal voice through rhythm, spontaneous harmony and careful listening. 

• At 12:45 p.m., Weisenberg will use ideas from his book in a discussion about strategies for bringing people together to make music a lasting and joy-filled force in shul and Jewish life.

• At 4:15 p.m.there will be Mincha/Seudah Shleesheet/Havdalah/Melave Malka, where participants will “delight in taking ‘slow leave’ of Shabbat with songs, words of Torah and a light meal. 

Sunday, Feb. 14

• At 9:30 a.m., Weisenberg leads a Collective Prayer Leadership Workshop until 11. Geared towards both prayer leaders and followers/accompanists, participants will explore musical dynamics, harmony, rhythm, leadership and “followership,” to create and develop essential communal davening skills and strategies.

The Shabbaton will be held at Kol Rinah, 829 N. Hanley Road in University City. All musical and prayer sessions are free and open to everyone (including children).  Reservations and payment are required only for dinner on Friday night. Adults are $18, children ages 3 through 12 are $8, and children under 3 are free.  

To sign up, call Kol Rinah at 314-727-1747 or visit kolrinahstl.org. 

Babysitting is available on Friday night from 6 to 9:30 p.m., on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

The Shabbaton is sponsored by the congregation’s Sara and Leo Wolf Adult Education Fund.