Today is the halfway point between the almighty bookends of the high Jewish Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. And as I sat in synagogue celebrating the former last week, I recalled one of my favorite Surprise stories; one which demonstrates that sometimes, one man's Surprise is another man's heart attack.
Well, close to it.
In a nutshell, last year, the elders at my synagogue contacted me to help them out on their annual Cantorial concert. Now for those of you not familiar with the concept, traditional Cantorials are filled with traditional religious songs sung by Cantors...hence the name. Been done the same way for centuries.
Obviously, I was called upon to do something different. My concept was a quasi-blasphemous twisting of the concert called--are you sitting?--Cantorama!
While it would feature many of the renowned traditional religious songs, they were to be sped up a bit and backed by a whup-ass rock band.
And since most Cantors are blessed with versatile, booming voices, the plan was to have them singing pop standards and show tunes, but backed by the congregation's choir, with some of the musical arrangements changed to a more standard Jewish/Klezmer sound, including heritage Jewish instruments. All in all, the goal was to turn the concept upside down.
Well, the Cantors loved it. Gave them a chance to stretch their wings, their vocal chords, and have a bit of fun. But the people who had to lead the orchestra, sell the tickets, and face the congregants were aghast. "Over my dead body!" many said. And given the intensity of the
yelling match Talmudic debate that ensued, it almost came to that.
So basically, Cantorama only got as far as my head...and the poster mock-up shown here. But every time I heard the ceremonial blast of the shofar last week, I couldn't help but think how cool it would've sounded alongside a trumpet, sax and trombone.
Not for everyone's tastes, but trust me, it would've been un-ignorable.