Public asked to be on the lookout for sheet music stolen from Temple Israel Liturgical Choir accompanist

Temple Israel of Ottawa is asking the public to be on the lookout for choral sheet music that was stolen Thursday evening near Walkley Avenue and Bank Street.

Pianist Carol Gurofsky, who accompanies the Temple Israel Liturgical Choir for High Holiday and festival services, was rehearsing with the Ottawa Police Choir at the Salvation Army Ottawa Citadel when the theft occurred.

When Gurofsky left rehearsal about 7 pm, she saw that her car door was wide open. A thief had walked away with a burgundy leather briefcase containing five binders that held all of Gurofsky’s Jewish choral music.

After Gurofsky reported the theft to police, she and husband Keith Park drove around the neighbourhood, but failed to find the missing music.

“This is music that’s taken Carol years to collect and annotate,” choir member Barbara Crook said Friday. “When you are a singer or accompanist, your music binders contain more than just sheet music – you make your own notes about tempo, pauses and special areas to emphasize.

“We are hoping that the thief was interested only in the leather briefcase, and that he or she discarded the music. That music is of no use to anyone else, but it’s very important for Carol, the choir and the congregation.”

Crook emphasized that this will not affect the Temple’s Yom Kippur services in any way. Although Gurofsky’s notes and annotations from years of choir services can’t be replaced, most of the music exists in other forms, and can be printed or photocopied from computer files and choir members’ music binders.

And some Temple members have already offered to come in on the weekend to copy and assemble Gurofsky’s music for the more than 300 prayers and musical settings the choir sings during the High Holidays.

“This is a chance for our Temple community to pull together, and we will,” Crook said.

“We already had a scare last week when Elaya Jenkins-Adelson, the wonderful cantorial student from Hebrew Union College who is leading our services this year, was hit by a car in New York and broke her ankle only three days before she was due to arrive in Ottawa.

“But she’s a real trouper, and literally didn’t miss a beat. Nothing stops the music and worship at Temple.”

Anyone who finds sheet music containing English transliterations of Hebrew prayers and texts is asked to contact Barbara Crook at barbara@crookberg.ca or 613-238-0933.

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