Cantor Avraham Alpert has gathered an eclectic group of performers for Congregation Bet Shalom’s “An Enchanted Evening: A Jewish Music Concert” on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. at the Berger Performing Arts Center.
Cantor Ivor Lichterman will be the special guest artist.
“I think everybody knows Cantor Lichterman,” who was cantor at Congregation Anshei Israel for many years and now serves a congregation in Toledo, Ohio, “but people may not be aware that I studied with him for five years,” says Alpert. “So we have a close relationship and I’m always excited to collaborate with him.”
Joining them will be Daniel (D.J.) Sinai, a pianist and vocalist; Cantor Janece Cohen of Congregation Or Chadash, the Tucson Girls Chorus and the Gatekeepers.
Alpert and D.J. Sinai worked together for three years in Las Vegas, where Sinai is musical director at Temple Beth Sholom. “He’s a virtuoso … he can play anything in any key at any moment in any style,” says Alpert.
In addition to the concert, Alpert and Sinai will lead Saturday morning services in harmony at Bet Shalom, and Lichterman will be the scholar-in-residence, teaching Torah and leading the Musaf service.
Alpert is equally enthusiastic about the local talent.
“Everybody loves Cantor Janece Cohen. She is so great to have as a colleague — and also as a neighbor,” with Bet Shalom so close to Or Chadash, he says. Cohen also founded and directs the Tucson Jewish Youth Choir and Kol Shirah, the Tucson Community Adult Choir.
As for the Tucson Girls Chorus, says Alpert, “to me they sound better than the Vienna Boys Choir. I heard them in concert recently, and they are just so talented, we’re blessed to have them in Tucson.” The choir will be singing in Hebrew, he notes.
The Gatekeepers are a band at a local church. Zionists, they have played at a local Yom HaShoah commemoration and a Christians United for Israel event at the University of Arizona. “They are mostly made up of a large family — brothers, sisters, cousins — the Winchester family, and they really take music seriously. They’ve all been professionally trained,” says Alpert. “They believe that if you are going to raise your voice making music and playing instruments and it’s for God, then you have to bring your best.”
The concert will be musically eclectic, too, with songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and English, and styles from liturgical to modern Israeli, pop and folk.
Tickets are $36 in advance, $45 at the door. Reserved seating is $54 per ticket. Sponsorship packages are available. For more information, visit www. cbsaz.org/concert.