Each year since 1990, the North American Jewish Choral Festival (NAJCF) has attracted hundreds of singers who “sing their hearts out” and connect to Jewish culture during a five-day immersion in Jewish music. From around the country, hundreds of voices come together to form one harmonious choral community led by a renowned staff of conductors and other music experts who inspire and create a truly unique musical society. This year’s 34th annual event will be held from July 9-13, 2023, at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel in Tarrytown, N.Y.
“The festival is for anyone who wants to experience the joy of Jewish music,” says Matthew Lazar, festival founder and director. “The participants are multi-generational and include amateur singers, professionals, cantors, conductors and lovers of Jewish music of all ages.”
Festival participants from across North America and beyond enjoy a wide variety of Jewish musical experiences. These include daily community sings; workshops and seminars on topics ranging from sight-singing and vocal technique to spirituality through music; and evening concerts featuring choirs and outstanding performers.
According to Dana Stein of North Brunswick, N.J., who has been participating in the festival since its inception, “The festival presents a wonderful opportunity to learn extraordinary music and work with accomplished conductors from all over the world, all while having a mini vacation.”
One of the distinguishing features of this festival is that individual singers can participate in “instant ensembles.” All singers are divided into five different choirs, based on their sight-reading abilities and previous musical experience. The festival culminates with ensembles performing for the entire group.
“The festival is an uplifting experience for people of all denominations who have Jewish connections to come together through their love of music,” adds Sharon Greene of Sarasota, Fla.
This year’s festival celebrates the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel, with choral repertoire by Israeli composers featured throughout the festival program.
According to Barry Brian of Walnut Creek, Calif., “The festival represents my five favorite days of the year. I connect to my Jewish heritage through music and form an emotional bond with hundreds of people to create glorious sound.”
“Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you’ll leave with new skills, new music and new friends to cherish as hundreds of singers gather together for an unforgettable experience,” concludes Lazar.
The North American Jewish Choral Festival is a program of the Zamir Choral Foundation. To register for this year’s festival, go to NAJCF 2023 Application – Formstack. For more information, visit zamirchoralfoundation.org.
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