Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray: Pioneer Cantor
A fourth generation cantor and the second to serve a conservative synagogue, since 1999, Congregation Shir Shalom in Ridgefield has been her spiritual home. Her Music Shabbat programs with the Shir Shalom Adult Choir, Shir Shalom Talented Teens and guest artists are popular in the community. Deborah founded the Women Cantors’ Network in l982, a national organization of 300 members. Her archives are housed in the National Museum of American Jewish History where two items are permanently displayed. The American Jewish Archives houses her complete archives.
Spirited and soulful programs and concerts of Jewish music are happily shared with congregations, Scholar in Residence programs and community events.
Her recordings and Katchko Songbook are used and enjoyed widely.
She teaches hazzanut via Skype for the European Academy of Jewish Liturgy. She has published, Jewish Huck Embroidery, using Swedish Weaving to create heirloom tallitot. Deborah’s classes, “Stitch and Kvitch” have inspired dozens of people to make tallitot.
She is an International Vice President of Cantors for Women of the Wall, a member of the Clergy Task Force of Jewish Women International and active with MERCAZ, an Israel Advocacy group of United Synagogue. Deborah has served on the Executive Council of the Cantors Assembly. She is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, Cantors Assembly and past president of the Women Cantors’ Network.
Cantor Debbie is a cellist with the Danbury Community Orchestra.
Deborah has four sons, and with her husband, Dr. F. Scott Gray raise 6 sons with one adorable grandson.
National Public Radio Interview
Finding Family Through Song – “The Story” NPR Yom HaShoah April 21st, 2009
Songs of the season, and of the spirit
And so it was for Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray of Temple Shearith Israel (now Congregation Shir Shalom) in Ridgefield earlier this year. A fourth-generation cantor who had done many concerts and made several recordings earlier in her career, she had ideas for several new recordings, and even some partial recordings in hand, when she learned of the passing of a former congregant, “a vibrant woman with a zest for life who was only 53.” She decided now was the time to complete four of those ideas, each representing a passion of hers.
“One was half done, one needed to be reissued and two needed to be recorded,” she said. “I started production last spring, and wanted to get them done before the High Holy Days, which began in September.”
Read full article here: http://arts.hersamacorn.com/10760/songs-season-spirit/