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

I once read a book called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”  I don’t remember too much about the book itself, but I never forgot the title.  With the pandemic ‘almost’ behind us my inner performer needs to start performing live again.  I am tired of singing to an audience of one…my husband.  I’ve tried singing to my daughter’s cat Tabitha, but she runs out of the room if I hit a note she is not happy with. But creating a live performance comes with many fears:  Will anyone bother to watch on YouTube or FaceBook?  Will anyone want to sit in my backyard with a mask on for an hour if they are not vaccinated? Will the dog next door start barking?  Will the insensitive neighbor behind our yard start revving up the motor of his old car with loud noises? As I write down these fears, I realize there are actions I can take to prevent any of those events from taking place.

If you have been reading my blog, then you know that with the help of some generous donors, I was able to commission composers to create all new arrangements for the songs I sing written in the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe from 1939 -1945. The Jewish composers living during this time period composed lovely arrangements, but unfortunately both the vocal and orchestral arrangements went up in smoke as the Germans liquidated the ghettos.  All that remained when the war was over were the melodies that lived in the voices and heads of survivors. Through some very generous donations, I have been able to make a dream of mine come true, and that is to have most of the 15 songs I sing beautifully arranged for cello, accordion and voice. 

My recent backyard rehearsal, where we practiced the newest arrangements, went well! In fact, it went so well that I decided to “feel the fear” and create a both live and streaming concert in my backyard with a socially distanced audience! (Yes, my backyard is that big!).   The one-hour concert will feature arrangements by the commissioned composers Zachary Mayer, Dr. Michelle Green Willner and Ben Gown (my accordionist).  

Many thanks to the generous donations of Naomi Lasley, Suzy Weinstein and Mona Golabek for helping me make my dream of creating new arrangements for these songs a reality.

The concert will take place on Sunday, June 6 at 4:00 PM and will be livestreamed on both Facebook and YouTube.  Click here for the links to livestream.

There are a limited number of socially distanced seats (15) in my backyard.  If you are interested in attending this event in person, keep in mind that if you are not fully vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask, especially if you enter our home to use the restroom.. Please email me at harrietbennish@gmail.com if you would like to reserve a seat. Although this is a free event, donations will be accepted (but not required). To help defray the costs of this concert VENMO me at alinkletter@yahoo.com.  

Here is a sneak preview from a recent rehearsal of Zachary Mayer’s newest arrangement of the song ‘Yisrolik’  written by the composer and writer Leyb Rozenthal who perished in the Holocaust. Enjoy! Click here to listen:  https://soundcloud.com/user-52642806/yisrolik-rehearsal-may-22-2021-arrangement-by-zachary-mayer