Member of Music Teachers Association of California • National Association of Teachers of Singing

Have you ever woken up with a knot in your stomach and it doesn’t go away?  I thought to myself, “Should I take a walk to relieve any built up stress?”  I took my three mile power walk, rehearsing my Yiddish songs behind my mask as I walked, but the knot was still there at the end of my walk.  I typed the words to my daughter, “Not feeling so well right now” in a message and promptly started to cry…no, I sobbed.  It was the kind of cry that releases any built up unresolved tension; I highly recommend it. Turns out I was putting too much pressure on myself regarding my upcoming performance/documentary.  Once my body began to address what  the cause of the painful knot in my stomach was, much of the pain went away.

Don’t get me wrong!  It’s all good!  It was the kind of work deadline induced tension that I have been longing for throughout this pandemic. Wonderful things are happening!  I will start by sharing my  most recent opportunity which is an invitation to perform (via Zoom) in a Holocaust Remembrance day on April 8, 2021 for the City of West Hollywood (when did West Hollywood become a city?) addressing students at Fairfax High School. 

The program director who invited me to present a portion of my concert was very specific; she would like me to educate the students on what a ghetto is and how it relates to the Jewish people. If you can’t tell, I am very excited to have the opportunity to educate these high school students about the ghettos of Eastern Europe and Russia.  Public attendance is pending but I’ll make sure to pass along information as I receive it in future emails.  It will also be posted on my website www.harrietbennish.com

I’d love to share with you some of the newest team members for my performance/documentary project of ‘Tears, Joy and Hope’ which now includes a student intern, sound engineer and film editor.”  My new intern, Ariella Blum-Lemberg, has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with minors in film and history from UCLA. She is currently a graduate student at Loyola Marymount University for film and television and is a Master of Fine Arts Candidate in Screenwriting.  Ariella grew up attending a Jewish day school and has always been fascinated by the fact that artistic creativity was able to thrive during the darkest time in the lives of the Jewish people.

Rehearsals for the performance/documentary with the musicians will be delayed until March when both my husband and I (and my new sound engineer, Paul Levitt) have received our second dose of the Covid Vaccine.  Paul Levitt is a talented soundboard engineer who will be  monitoring our backyard rehearsals (with masks of course). With monitors for all three musicians and Paul at the soundboard, we will be able to better hear the beautiful new arrangements composed by Zachory Mayer and Michelle Green Willner.  

Another member of my creative team is Shaun Wood, an award winning video editor who will not only be editing the ‘Tears, Joy and Hope’ performance/documentary, but will help me make the upcoming April 8 performance a very powerful one.

Producing a quality performance/documentary of my concert Tears, Joy, and Hope:  Yiddish Songs Written in the Jewish Ghetto is a team effort and requires a large budget. As soon as I come up with a figure, my fundraising campaign will commence. Sooo… a lot is happening! I’m so excited and grateful to continue sharing my journey with you all each step of the way. I just have to teach my stomach to be a little less excitable and relax.