The most famous Chanukah song known not only in the Jewish community but also to our Christian and Muslim friends is “I Have a Little Dreidel.” It is one of those rites of passage songs, but frankly, not the best representative example of quality Jewish music. Too often when public schools offer winter or Holiday concerts, it becomes the default standard, as many public school choir directors are not familiar with modern repertoire or where to find the compositions. That is where my role as Hazzan comes in, to serve the needs of the community as a Jewish music resource. No matter the setting: public, private or day school chorus or musical instrument ensemble; wedding music; interfaith gatherings; Jewish religious services; Cantorial concerts. While it is not possible to possess every piece of music ever published, I do have an extensive collection as well as colleagues and contacts to be able to get answers rather quickly.
I do appreciate when a public school music teacher reaches out to me for suggestions, and hope to create relationships with area music teachers over time. If your child participates in a musical ensemble in their school, I welcome and encourage you to help me connect with their music teacher so that together we can expand their repertoire and expose the entire community to the beautiful Jewish music opportunities available in English, Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino, just to name a few. I am not suggesting that we relegate “I Have a Little Dreidel” to the recycle pile, for there is nothing more delicious than a class of pre-school students singing it for the first time dressed as dreidels and trying to spin at the same time. I do believe that there is a vast untapped opportunity to sing more.
For those who are interested in hearing what is new and exciting in Jewish music, I urge you to listen to Jewish Rock Radio, especially in the time period leading up to Chanukah. If you are reading this article online, simply click here: www.jewishrockradio.com. After you have perused the site, click on the volume symbol on the top and you are connected. There is also an app you can download for your Smartphone, enabling you to listen on the go. If you choose to listen, please share your feedback with me. Together we can make beautiful music.