Registration opens for the 2024 Jewish Choral Festival

Singing takes center stage at the annual event, with the 35th musical fest to be held this year from July 14-18.

Participants of all ages join in song. Credit: Courtesy of the Zamir Choral Foundation.
Participants of all ages join in song. Credit: Courtesy of the Zamir Choral Foundation.

Each year, the North American Jewish Choral Festival (NAJCF) attracts hundreds of singers from across the country who enjoy five days of a life-changing musical experience by expressing themselves through song. One harmonious choral community is led by renowned conductors creating a melodic tapestry of contemporary, folk, classical and traditional music.

The 35th annual event will be held this year from July 14-18, in Westchester County, N.Y. Registration is now open, with an early-bird
discount available through May 1.

“The festival is for anyone who wants to experience the joy of Jewish music,” says Matthew Lazar, the festival’s founder and director. “The participants are multigenerational and include amateur singers, professionals, cantors, conductors and lovers of Jewish music of all ages.”

Festival participants enjoy a variety of uplifting Jewish musical experiences. These include daily community sings; workshops and seminars on a range of topics; and evening concerts featuring guest choirs and outstanding performers.

“I have been attending the North American Jewish Choral Festival since 2002. It’s one of the highlights of my year, and a great opportunity to participate and to be inspired by all of the music going on around you,” says Steve Cohen of New York. “I particularly enjoy the instant ensembles, where all festival singers learn and rehearse a musical program which is presented at the end of the festival. I am always amazed at what can be accomplished in a few days. It is a testament to the power of a group dedicated to a goal, with every individual blending into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

New for 2024, NAJCF is offering a “Boot Camp” for beginning choral singers and those needing to brush up their skills. This special track will help participants learn to follow a score, understand rhythm, blend with others and more.

Each year, the festival presents the Hallel V’Zimrah Award to honor individuals who have made important contributions to the world of Jewish music. This year’s honoree is Jack Mendelson, a world-renowned cantor and international performer, who is being recognized for his artistry as well as his devotion to the choral music of the synagogue.

According to Barry Brian of California, “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.”

“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 Florida.

“Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you’ll leave with new skills, new music and new friends to cherish from this unique and unforgettable Choral Festival,” concludes Lazar.

Program fees for the 5-day festival including kosher meals are $1295, with the early-bird price of $1195 through May 1. Those under the age of 35 can participate for a discounted price of $900 including hotel accommodation. The North American Jewish Choral Festival is a program of the Zamir Choral Foundation.

To register for this year’s festival, go to North American Jewish Choral Festival or visit zamirchoralfoundation.org.

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The Zamir Choral Foundation, created by Matthew Lazar, promotes choral music as a vehicle to inspire Jewish life, literacy and community. The foundation’s programs include the North American Jewish Choral Festival; HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir; the acclaimed Zamir Chorale; Zamir Noded for young adult singers; Zamir Conducting Fellows to train the next generation of Jewish choral conductors; and the HaZamir Preparatory Program for middle-school singers. Matthew Lazar, founder and director of the Zamir Choral Foundation, is the leading force of the Jewish choral movement in the U.S. He has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Elie Wiesel, Theodore Bikel, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and others. The Zamir Choral Foundation is guided by an expansive vision of vibrant Jewish identity across the generational, denominational and political continuums through the study and performance of Jewish music at the highest level of excellence. For more information, visit www.zamirchoralfoundation.org
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