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Lara Secord Haid

Sid Robinovitch

Julia Kroft

L-R: Reid McTavish, Duncan Cox and Julia Kroft of Prairie Hearts

Tarbut 2022: Beautiful Recital of Jewish Music by Lara Haid, with Compositions by Sid Robinovitch and Spirited Performance by Prairie Hearts

by Rhonda Spivak, November 18, 2022


I attended the thoroughly enjoyable concert  of Winnipeg born and raised Lara Secord Haid, soprano, who gave a terrific  operatic performance at the Rady JCC's Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture on November 17, 2022 to an adoring crowd who gave her a standing ovation.
Lara received a Canada Council grant to in order to  work with local composer of international renown Sid Robinovitch. "I asked Sid a couple of years go if he'd write music for me...and he reworked some songs based on King Solomon's "Shir Hashirim," Lara explained.  The songs Lara sang in the "Shir Hashirim" part of her recital were particularly beautiful. The combination of Robinivitch's gorgeous music and Lara's rich voice was exceptional, with the "Dodi Li" selection being my personal favourite. 
Lara recognized Rabinovitch who was in the crowd, and he was given hefty applause. 
Robinovitch also wrote delightful Sephardic music, which Lara performed, some of which had rather humorous lyrics. In order to enable the audience to understand the words to the songs, all songs were translated into English and put on a large screen. 
Lara, who is now living in Berlin, is enjoying a diverse and dynamic international career, performed the Kaddish by Mauric Ravel, which was absolutely exquisite.
Her  voice soared as she sang other beautiful Hebrew songs of  poet Yuval Rabin, as well as a song "Shnei Shoshanim" by Mordechai Zeira and Yaron Gotfried and a Yiddish number from Israeli Osnat Netzer. Lara indicated that she had a desire to curate a concert in Hebrew and this led her to search out Hebrew poets and songs, a search which clearly paid off.
She demonstrated she had  taken great care to  perform a recital that braided poetry from the languages of Sephardi and Ashkenaz Jewry interwoven by Modern and Contemporary composers from Canada, Israel, and France.  
Tadeusz Bernacki was on piano, and he and Lara clearly perform well together. They even played piano together during "Dodi Li." Lara was engaging with the audience and for her encore gave a very energetic performance of the Yiddish classic "Bei Mir Bistu Shein," which the audience ate up.
I also attended the closing concert of Tarbut on November 19  billed as A Celebration of Jewish Stars  put on by a local group  Prairie Hearts, which was attended by about 200 people.


Led by Paul De Gurse on keyboards, with Julia Kroft and Reid McTavish on vocals, Duncan Cox on vocals and guitar, Ruslan Rusin on bass, and Brendan Thompson on drums, this spirited local six-piece band took the audience on a journey of outstanding music written by Jewish composers or sung by Jewish singers. The engaging and energetic group performed music from icons  such as Carole King, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Barry Manilow, Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon, Kiss , and received a standing ovation from the audience. 


Julia Kroft ,who has a very beautiful voice, opened the evening by singing "Memories." The talented Duncan Cox, singing and playing harmonica with De Gurse on piano, gave a soulful rendition of Billy Joel’s "Piano Man", which was one of my personal favourites of the evening. McTavish and Cox’s vocals blended well as they performed  Simon and Garfunkel’s "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." McTavish was dancing as he performed Barry Manilow’s "Copa Cabana". The audience clapped and sang along as the group performed Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline."  


Paul De Gurse gave some history about the  writer of each of the songs performed, noting that so many of them were born in the 1940’s in Brooklyn.


Prairie Hearts performed at the Tarbut festival in 2021, and  musical producer of Tarbut Karla Berbrayer, noted that she does not usually have the same group perform twice in a row, but last year she got such good feedback about this group that she decided to bring them back.


Prairie Hearts' fun loving concert ended the Tarbut festival on a high note.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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