Arts and Culture | Local

Concerts to highlight Jewish music, ‘Mr. Cole’

The Tucson Jewish Community Center will hold a series of four “Celebration of Heritage” concerts beginning Feb. 15. Roza Simkhovich, a longtime community volunteer and former Tucson J board member, will host the series. All performances will be held at 6:30 p.m. and include:

Wednesday, Feb. 15  — The Arizona Symphonic Winds under the direction of László Veres with a tribute to Jewish American composers Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and others.

Wednesday, March 15  — Cantor Janece E. Cohen along with a choir will perform a range of Jewish music from cantorial to klezmer to Israeli and Yiddish folk songs.

Wednesday, April 19 — Camerata Sonora choir will perform “Shir Hamidbar,” a musical journey through time and culture, all centered around the idea of Jewish identity.

Wednesday, May 17 — “Remembering Mr. Cole — A Tribute to Nat King Cole” featuring Joe Bourne and The Trio with pianist/arranger Angelo Versace, bassist Scott Black and guitarist Matt Mitchell.

Tickets for each performance are $10 for nonmembers and $9 for members of the J. Tickets can be purchased at

Simkhovich, who emigrated from Latvia in 1989, holds a M.S. from Kaliningrad State Technical University, Russia, and a M.Ed. from the University of Arizona. An educator with more than 30 years of experience, she was a senior lecturer in the department of Russian and Slavic studies at University of Arizona and taught classes for OASIS, a national nonprofit educational organization that promotes healthy aging.

Simkhovich organized “Celebration of Heritage” concerts at the J in the 1980s, before she began her graduate studies. While three of this season’s four concerts focus on Jewish music, she says she hopes future concerts will further celebrate the multicultural identity of all Americans through a variety of artistic media. She may be contacted at 298-6599.