By Richard Zuker for Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel
More than 400 people gathered at Congregation Beth Shalom, October 27, to see and hear a great concert for a most worthy cause, Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel.
The concert, organized by Cantor Daniel Benlolo and Alfred Freedman, showcased the Tamir Neshama Choir, the Beth Shalom Choir, and the Soloway Jewish Community Centre Shiru Lach Choir. The cantor served as choir master and the choirs were accompanied by pianist Aviva Lightstone, bassist Ken Kanwisher and drummer Fred Cesare.
The music included Jewish ritual music, Israeli classics, Jewish favourites, Beatles classics, and other popular pieces. The audience was engaged throughout the evening, clapping and singing along, and showering the singers with numerous standing ovations.
The Tamir Neshama Choir sang “Any Dream Will Do,” bringing back memories of its inspiring performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Tamir also introduced two new soloists, Bailey Doiron, who sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, and guitarist Fred Virgin who played “Sweet Lips” by Jim Reeves.
As well as ritual music, such as “Adon Olam” and “Shim Shalom,” the Beth Shalom choir sang a medley of Israeli songs, including “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.”
The Shiru Lach Choir, led by Ellen Asherman, sang a number of pieces, including “Or” and “Al Shlosha Devarim.”
The audience was also treated to Joshua Benlolo, the cantor’s 24 year-old nephew from Montreal, who is blind and developmentally disabled. Joshua received a rousing standing ovation for his rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and the Beatles’ “Let It Be” in a voice that sounded much like his uncle’s.
The concert closed with all three choirs singing two special numbers: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the Tamir Neshama Choir’s signature piece, “What a Wonderful World,” featuring Cantor Benlolo sounding just like Louis Armstrong.
“It was impossible not to get caught up in the moment,” said Stephen Bindman, vice-president of Congregation Beth Shalom.
Speakers at the event included Seymour Eisenberg, president of Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel, who spoke about his heartfelt commitment to the organization, and Daniel Amzallag, the Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel youth co-ordinator. Amzallag spoke passionately about the important work of Magen David Adom and showed a video of its wide-ranging operations as Israel’s ambulance service.
Visit www.cmdai.org or call 1-800-731-2848 for more information about Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel.