We Love to Sing
Music is an important part of our services and our culture at Congregation Kol Ami. Together we raise our voices in joy while listening to the emotive voice of Cantorial Soloist Rebecca Schwartz. Music makes for very powerful prayer, and is a tradition at Kol Ami. Joining together in song helps us forge connections. Our strong musical program links our youngest members to our oldest, and even helps prepare our children for their B’nai Mitzvahs, by making the music of our liturgy an everyday part of their lives.
Cantorial Soloist Rebecca Schwartz, a nationally acclaimed singer, guitarist and award-winning composer, as well as a seasoned Jewish songleader and mentor, leads our music program. During Shabbat services, Rebecca brings a down-to-earth folksiness to the music that inspires participation. During our High Holy Day services, her beautiful voice singing the evocative melodies of the service a cappella adds greatly to the worship experience.
Our melodies come from numerous places. Many are Rebecca “originals” that have been published for the Union for Reform Judaism and that you may recognize as standards at Kol Ami and beyond. Others come from the brightest and newest Jewish composers, while some are Israeli, and still others are more traditional. Some melodies remain constant each week, while others, such as Oseh Shalom, can vary. All of our songs can be found in our prayer book, Mishkan T’filah, and our own Songbook, compiled by Rebecca and available during all services.
Both students and adults have opportunities to study Torah trope (chanting), either for B’nai Mitzvah study or pleasure.
We enjoy themed Havdalah services as well as Healing services throughout the year, filled with beautiful, singable melodies. Several times a year, we get together for special congregational gatherings – often for a little nosh and a congregational sing-along, followed by a musical Havdalah service. These are great opportunities to learn our melodies and to request favorite songs that are not a regular part of our repertoire. Kol Ami also hosts special musical services featuring well-know Jewish artists-in-residence.
Our Adult and Student Choirs are a point of pride at Congregation Kol Ami. The choirs enhance our prayers almost every month on erev Shabbat, during the High Holy Days, and at various special services and community events.
- The Adult Choir is open to anyone in 8th grade or older and is professionally led by Rebecca and our congregant Fran Surkin, a trained choral director and voice teacher. The Adult Choir sings traditional Jewish songs as well as original three and four-part arrangements of music by Rebecca and other Jewish songwriters.
- The Student Choir is open to anyone from 2nd through 7th grade and is led by Rebecca. Our children seldom look prouder than when they sing a solo in front of the congregation and their families. There is always new music to learn and share.
Both choirs rehearse most Sunday mornings from September through May and are always looking for new members.
Music for Children
Religious School students enjoy music class on Sunday mornings, and reach all of their prayer goals easily as they learn the melodies during morning t’filah (prayer) and from their prayer goal CDs.
Listen to Our Choirs on Two Professional CDs
In the spring of 2009, our Adult and Student Choirs recorded Shir Shabbat: The Music of Shabbat at Congregation Kol Ami featuring Cantorial Soloist Rebecca Schwartz and the Adult and Student Choirs, Volume 1. The release of our second CD, “Chai-Lights from the Voices of Kol Ami, Eighteenth Anniversary Edition,” was celebrated at our September 7, 2012 erev Shabbat service. Each member family received a copy of the CD of music by our Adult and Student Choirs and Cantorial Soloist Rebecca Schwartz. We hope to make our next recording in the near future, featuring many new melodies we have added since the release of our first two CDs.
||Music and lyrics: Josh Nelson based on Liturgy-Amidah from Lift, (c)2006 Josh Nelson Music (BMI); all rights reserved
|Only a Matter of Time
||Music: Rebecca Schwartz, Lyrics: Rebecca Schwartz/Liturgy from P’tach Libi, ©2008 Schwalkin Music (ASCAP); all rights reserved
||Music: Rebecca Schwartz, Lyrics: Psalm 19:15/Liturgy from The Light of Shabbat, ©2003 Schwalkin Music (ASCAP); all rights reserved
|R’tsei & Modim
||Music: Rebecca Schwartz, Lyrics: Liturgy-Amidah from The Light of Shabbat, ©2003 Schwalkin Music (ASCAP); all rights reserved
||Music: South African folk tune, Lyrics: Exodus 31:16-17
||Music: Rebecca Schwartz, Lyrics: Rebecca Schwartz/Evening Liturgy from P’tach Libi, ©2008 Schwalkin Music (ASCAP); all rights reserved
||Music: Rebecca Schwartz, Lyrics: Morning Liturgy from The Light of Shabbat, ©2003 Schwalkin Music (ASCAP); all rights reserved
||Music: Rebecca Schwartz, Lyrics: Psalm 96:1-6 from Ahavah Rabah, ©2005 Schwalkin Music (ASCAP); all rights reserved