Time is precious- we all know that. Sometimes we feel the race of time more keenly than other times. When we are young in years, we have no fear of our final days, no awareness that this journey may have an end to it. As we get older, reading obituaries and breathing a sigh of relief along with sadness for the families; I find myself asking myself alot of questions.
If this is all the time I have left, have I done enough?
Have I completed my creative projects? Have I achieved whatever I’ve wanted to do?
Have I made an impact in a positive way? Have I shared my family music enough? Have I helped bring my grandfather’s music to younger cantors and the next generation of prayer leaders?
How can I share what I’ve learned with others without seeming self-serving? How can I convey the urgency to keep alive our cantorial traditions, the music of my grandfather and his passion for nusach and nusach based compositions? How can I best share my love of Jewish music with others? Still on my bucket list are recordings to do of Israeli Pioneer Songs, those gorgeous melodies that are so haunting and mysterious; more essays from lectures I’ve attended of my dear Professor Elie Wiesel, perhaps a book of all the essays, class notes and correspondence with him from over almost 40 years?A recording of my favorite Yiddish songs and those from the Holocaust as well as Yiddish Theater and folk? A cookbook of favorite meals for my son’s future families?
After hearing that a former congregant passed away at the young age of 53, a vibrant woman with a loving family and zest for life; I decided to record and produce four cds immediately!
A Suite Shabbat elegant Friday evening Shabbat music recorded in 2005 with the Tourmaline String Quartet. A new listening to it made me realize it should be “out there”. I’m very happy with the way it turned out-
Shabbat Jam– a youthful celebration of Shabbat Music with my TSI Talented Teens. Over the past few years I’ve developed a core of fabulous teen singers and musicians. I thought now would be the perfect time to record them before they go off to college! I’m so happy this project is almost complete- I know the kids and their families will cherish it as will my congregation and cantors who are curious to hear great Shabbat music done by teenagers for services.
Hanukkah Songs of hope and light Making this music of beloved Hanukkah melodies with amazing musicians was a dream come true. The sax player was the lead for Riverdance and dozens of Broadway musicals as well as national rock tours- You can hear his expertise in every note- Thanks to Mark Fineberg for adding so much grace and beauty to this. Jay Heffler is another treasure- phenomenal guitarist in every style, he leads bands for elegant weddings and cutting edge concerts as well. I’m just thrilled to know them both. Rayham Pasternak, brilliant Russian concert violinist and Adrianne Greenbaum, klezmer queen of flute added so much joy and Yiddishe taam/flavor to the recording. Gratitude to all of them for making this sound professional and polished.
A Musical Reunion Finally a recording to share with the public with my beloved cousin, Cantor Leopold Szneer. Over the past 8 years we have sung together informally, and now it is produced professionally. Our story was on NPR for Yom Hashoah- Finding Family Through Song. Our story is on my blog as well. It is a musical miracle- We both thought all our Katchko family was gone in the Holocaust- 70 members in Europe- we have each other and continue to sing and share.
These are my four checks on the bucket list of life so far… many more to go….