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Photo by Guy Madmoni

Photo by Guy Madmoni

Photo by Guy Madmoni


Rosalind Marmel

Rosalind Marmel from L.A.: Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Celebrates 18th Birthday with SRO Chailights Concert

Rosalind Marmel, Los Angeles Correspondent

In the intimate setting of the historic outdoor Ford Amphitheatre, seemingly carved out of the hills of the Cahuenga Pass in Los Angeles, directly across from the massive Hollywood Bowl, on August 26th, Dr. Noreen Green, founder, artistic director and conductor of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, along with over a 1200 attendees and devoted performers celebrated the Chai, 18th birthday, of this world class Jewish symphony orchestra.
The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Orchestra is the only symphony orchestra outside of Israel whose mission is to perform a range of music reflective of the total Jewish experience. Since 1994, the LAJS has dedicated itself to the performance of orchestral works of distinction that explore Jewish culture, heritage and experience, also acting as a resource for aspiring musicians and composers, building “bridges of music” and understanding within the diverse multi-ethnic communities of Los Angeles. 
Former Winnipegger, Cantor Herschel Fox shares a spot on the Board of Advisors along with other musical geniuses including Theodore Bikel.
Dr. Noreen Green, who has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from USC, is also the musical director of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California with Herschel Fox being their cantor. She is a renowned lecturer on Jewish music, and an accomplished educator known worldwide for her expertise in presenting music with Jewish themes. 
Dr. Green has won numerous awards for her contributions to the multi-cultural musical scene in Los Angeles. Most recently the California Legislature Assembly honored her for producing and conducting, “Remembering 9/11”, the Interfaith Tribute Choir and Orchestra concert commemorating the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. She has received public recognition for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, the Golda Meir Award from the State of Israel Bonds along with too many other awards to mention. She has been a featured speaker for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted at the opening ceremonies of the 2001 Maccabi Games in Philadelphia. 
Dr. Green has been guest conductor with the Rubin Academy Orchestra in Tel Aviv, the Johannesburg Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony and the R’aanana Symphonette. She has conducted the LAJS in concert with celebrities such as Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Leonard Nimoy, Randy Newman, Valerie Harper, Theodore Bikel, Pat Boone, Lainie Kazan, Fyvush Finkel, Dave Koz, Marvin Hamlisch, Roslyn Kind and many more.
Winnipeg’s Emmy Award winning Allan Blye, who is busy rehearsing in L.A with guest cantorial soloists: former Winnipegger and Metropolitan Opera star, Norman Mittelman, former Winnipegger and Emmy winner, jazz recording artist Aubrey Tadman and other great musical stars, for the unique and revered High Holy Day services he holds at the Woodland Hills Hilton stopped everything he was doing to rave about Dr. Green….
Allan told me, “besides being a wife and a mom, Noreen has probably done more to revive and maintain classic Jewish music for symphonic and choral performances, as well as introducing new and exciting compositions for synagogue services, than anyone I have ever met.”
In the summer of 1993, Dr. Green worked with conductor Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music School. It was with his support and encouragement that she developed the concept for and founded the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. 
During her tenure with the LAJS, Dr. Green and Education Director Ilizabeth Gilbert have developed education programs that received funding from the New and Innovative Grants division of the Jewish Community Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the Maurice Amado Foundation, the City of L.A. Cultural Affairs Department, the Leonard and Susan Bay Nimoy Foundation and the Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership. 
LAJS received a substantial educational grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for “The Patchwork of Cultures Program”, which uses music to illustrate and celebrate the cultural bridge between the Sephardic Jewish and Hispanic communities.
They have performed at prestigious venues both locally and abroad commanding standing ovations. 
The Los Angeles Times wrote, “The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony seems committed to the axiom that diversity is a terrible thing to waste.”
Diversity was not wasted at the Chai celebration concert that torrid summer night. There was diversity in the multi-ethnic audience. There was diversity in the multi-ethnic performers. There were attendees, young and old who had never attended a symphony concert before.
A gentleman in his 50’s told me that although always a music lover; his friends were not symphony goers. For the first time he truly experienced the intense facial expressions and physical emotions illustrated while watching classical musicians play their instruments and Dr. Green conducting.   He was excited about the new discovery he made and determined to make symphony attendance a regular part of his life.
Two sweet and beautiful, young African American sisters who were part of the recently formed Jewish Community Children’s Choir, conducted by Dr. Michelle Green Willner told me how much they loved being a part of the choir.  When I asked them how they felt about learning Hebrew and Yiddish, they answered, “at first it was kind of hard but then it became easy and fun.” How many of us would describe our learning of those languages as easy and fun? 
Composers who were inspired by the yiddishkayt music of the Hassidic, Klezmer, and cantorial traditions wrote each of the pieces performed.
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