SJCF: Songs from our Hearts & Heritage: A Community Experience of Music

Saratoga Jewish Cultural Festival, with a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY and sponsorship of Temple Sinai, collaborating with Congregation Beth Shalom of Clifton Park, is staging a melodic afternoon on July 9, 4 PM, at Congregation Beth Shalom with Songs from Our Hearts and Heritage: A Community Experience of Music.

Our history shows that music is the greatest creation of humankind. Authentic creativity and concentrated passion tells us what music is all about. The power of music allows people to express themselves freely with their feelings and emotions. When times are tough, music is there to help escape from the pain. It has the power to provide relief, reduce stress, and often improve overall health. Music has proven to develop the mind, boost self-confidence, and build healthy relationships. Music doesn’t just provide a source of entertainment. In fact, it plays a bigger, more important role in our life than just that.

Music is a daily pick me up. When we’re tired, unmotivated, or simply just not feeling it, music always swoops in and makes things more vibrant for us. Whatever our taste in music is, it rescues us from any less than positive feelings. Music can be a best friend dressed in feel-good words or a catchy melody. It can also act as an emotional outlet and transport us on a long journey.

Music can bring people together in different ways.  In this performance, we will experience popular, liturgical, and original pieces by three gifted vocalists that includes Sylvia Bloom, Rabbi Anna Sugarman, and Elisa Harrington-Verb. The dream here is to build community through song. Music often takes on a collective life as the consequence of singing together if only for the brief time everyone is together.

Sylvia Eowyn Bloom has performed as swing in Phantom of the Opera (Christine Company), was a chorister in the San Francisco Opera, and a soprano soloist with the Erie Philharmonic (PA) and Springfield Symphony (MO). She has a BM from Oberlin Conservatory and an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Here in upstate New York, she's played Rhona in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Helena in The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Hubbard Hall Theater. She is the Director of Education at Temple Sinai (Saratoga Springs) and the director of Eenie Meenie Music, offering Music Together classes in Saratoga for families with young children.

Elisa Harrington-Verb is a cantorial vocalist from Rexford, NY. She has led worship at Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady for 14 years and previously at Temple of Israel in Wilmington, NC. Elisa studied voice at Dartmouth College and the University of Washington. She has performed locally with many theater companies and is an avid theater goer. Additionally, Elisa teaches kindergarten in Sunday school and leads many services for children. Most of all, Elisa enjoys sharing energy and emotions in communal singing.

Rabbi Anna Sugarman has been serving others for over twenty years, whether offering support during an illness, preparing students for bar or bat mitzvah, or a bride and groom for a marriage; naming a new member of a family or leading the local community in song through religious singing. Her heart is in the connection of all of us as one. Trained as an educator before becoming a rabbi, facilitating workshops to bring people deeper in their spiritual truth or practice comes naturally. She loves connecting with others and being there for them on their journey.

We are all spiritual beings who need love and community. Performance at 4 PM on July 9 at Congregation Beth Shalom, 688 Clifton Park Center Road, Clifton Park, NY 12065. A $10 donation is requested. Registration required at Zoom access considered.