February 2019


Please join us for open rehearsals in February, on Monday, the 18th, and Sunday, the 24th, at 6:00 pm.  These will be the first two rehearsals of our spring season during which we will be preparing for our spring concert on Sunday, June 2nd at 7:00 pm.  This is your chance to try out the group, meet our director, board members, and chorus members, and see how much fun we have in this great community of singers.  There are no auditions, only a two-minute placement discussion. Regular rehearsals are on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm. Come join the Joy!

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Shir Joy’s Winter Concert, “Building Bridges through Song,” took place on Saturday evening, Feb. 9th.  It was well attended and the audience did a great job on our sing-along, “Hava Nashira.” Highlights included Nefesh Mountain’s “Tree of Life,” a Jewish bluegrass number for which the chorus was accompanied on banjo by Lisa Marcus-Jones.  Soloists Laura Logan & Mitchell Schwartz have roots in Pittsburgh where a shooting took place at the Tree of Life synagogue this past fall, so this was a particularly poignant song for them. At a community solidarity service in Westborough following the shooting, the poem “The Peace of Wild Things” was read and our director, Nan AK Gibbons, was moved to compose a piece which the chorus sang at the winter concert.

To continue the theme of healing, soloists Karen Rothman and Gordon Manning led the group in Lisa Levine’s version of “Mi Shebeirach,” which also included a cello part, beautifully performed by our guest artist, Ben Anderson.  Also of note were “Unter Dayne Vayse Shtern,” a Yiddish piece which the group also plans to perform for the community-wide Yom Hashoah (Holocaust) commemoration in May, and Gilad Cohen’s lyrical version of “Lashana Haba’ah Bi’Yerushalayim” led by soloist Tim Boddy.  “Shalom Chaverim,” which was both the opening and closing number, was accompanied by our director on the tongue drum (shown in photo below).

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The expanded raffle offerings proved to be popular again this year, with the lucky winners taking home art paintings and prints,a spa basket with wine, a rock climbing gym pass, and a stunning bouquet of flowers.  Shir Joy appreciates our sponsors’ donations!

Westborough Cultural Council Grant Reception

On Wednesday, February 13th, Secretary Betsy Fox attended the reception for those who received grants from the Westborough Cultural Council. The reception was held in Memorial Hall at the Westborough Town Hall on Main St.  Presenting the awards were two members of the Westborough Cultural Council, two state representatives, Carolyn Dykema and Hannah Kane, state senator Jamie Eldridge, as well as a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Each recipient had the opportunity to speak about their organization.  Betsy gave a brief history of Shir Joy Chorus, highlighted the songs from our recent winter concert related to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, spoke about our varied outreach events, and thanked the council and state reps. Betsy was able to connect with other musical groups in the area (Assabet Valley MasterSingers, Women of Note, and Westborough Community Chorus).  The entertainment at the reception was provided by two of our recent soloists, Elizabeth and Ben Anderson, on violin and cello, respectively. Shir Joy Chorus is very grateful for the grant.



Mon., Feb. 18 & Sun., Feb. 24th, 6:00 pm: Open Rehearsals, Congregation B’nai Shalom, 117 E. Main St., Westborough

Wed., May 1st, 7:00 pm: Yom Hashoah Commemoration, Congregation Beth Israel, 15 Jamesbury Dr., Worcester

Sun., May 5th, time tbd: Communities of Song, Wesley United Methodist Church, 114 Main St., Worcester

Sun., May 19th, afternoon:  Congregation B’nai Shalom 40th Anniversary Celebration, Congregation B’nai Shalom, 117 E. Main St., Westborough

Sun., June 2nd, 7:00 pm: Spring Concert, Congregation B’nai Shalom, 117 E. Main St., Westborough

About Shir Joy

Shir Joy Chorus is an adult community chorus, dedicated to learning, sharing, and performing Jewish music from the rich and varied Judaic cultures of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. Although many temples & synagogues have choruses which sing on the holidays, we are the only year-round transdenominational Jewish chorus in Central Massachusetts. The Chorus performs music in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, and other languages.  Founded in 2011, it is an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, funded by the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, the Westborough Cultural Council (a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council), and private supporters. The chorus is non-auditioned and is open to all people regardless of ethnicity or religious background.

Shir Joy is a musical organization dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of the breadth and beauty of Jewish culture through performances and related activities. In addition to our two annual concerts at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, the Chorus performs at other events in Worcester county, including fundraisers for the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Central Massachusetts.

To donate, go to where you can donate online, or send a check to Shir Joy Chorus, 3 Elizabeth Dr., Westborough, MA 01581.

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Editor:  Betsy Fox. Photo Credits: Group Photo - Kira Schwartz, all others - Betsy Fox