Temple Adat Elohim
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Temple Adat Elohim History - Choir

Music has always been part of our templeWhen my wife Judy and I joined Temple Adat Elohim in early 1985, the only music was the beautiful melodies chanted by Cantor Michael Anatole during the worship services on Friday evenings, Saturdays when there was a Bar or Bat Mitzvah service, and during the High Holidays.
Both Judy and I had been active members of our synagogue on the East coast and participated in the adult choir. We wondered if a choir could also become a part of worship services here at Temple Adat Elohim. During a visit to Rabbi Greenbaum’s house, while the Rabbi strummed his guitar and a few of us were singing songs while sitting on the floor of the Rabbi’s living room, I brought up the subject of a choir. Rabbi Greenbaum thought that it would be wonderful if a choir would also participate during our Temple’s services.
It took almost a year and a half to get it organized, but in 1986 for High Holiday, Rosh Hashanah service, while the torahs were being marched around the sanctuary, Gerri Wissot, my wife Judy, and I sang some Jewish songs. This was the actual start of the T.A.E. Adult Choir that we know today.
Shortly afterward, with the full support of Rabbi Greenbaum and Cantor Anatole money was found. Isaac Yaron, took over as our first music director. Among the early choir congregant participants were: Penny Greenblat, Judy and Bob Grossmann, Judy Rosenberger, Barbara Skala, Edie Talmadge, Mark Wasserman, Gerri Wissot and her father Irving Loew. Rehearsals were weekly for an hour, and the Choir participated at monthly Friday Shabbat services as well as at one of the High Holiday services. The initial musical pieces were simple, familiar melodies which were sung accompanied by a piano or guitar, and participation by the congregation was encouraged.
As time progressed, the music that the choir sang became more complex, with four part harmony and acappella pieces being introduced. The choir slowly increased in size to over 20people. Rehearsals were held weekly for an hour and a half, and for High Holiday rehearsal, twice a week for 2 hours each. In 1997, David Shukiar became our choir director and in addition to teaching us and conducting, he also arranged some choral pieces for us to sing. Light blue robes were acquired and were worn for both Friday Shabbat services and for the High Holiday Services. The choir participated in our temple’s Music Festival at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center fund raiser. During the Chanukah holidays in 1998, the choir went to the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills to sing appropriate songs of the season to the senior citizen residents. For many years, the members of the Choir have participated in the Conejo Valley Ecumenical Services at Thanksgiving time, along with members of the choruses of several local churches.
There have been several music directors over the years, including Naomi Teems, Aryell Cohen (who introduced us to choral pieces with organ accompaniment), Jim Pingelli, Daniel Faltus, Ryan Golds, JoAnn Wasserman, and Neil Brostoff. Then in August, 1997, David Shukiar, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of UCLA, a vocal performance major with emphasis in music composition, became our Choir Director. In addition to teaching and conducting the Choir, David also arranged some choral pieces for us to sing. Light blue robes were soon acquired for the Choir that were worn for both Friday Shabbat services and for the High Holiday Services. David would ultimately leave the post, but would return to take over the position of Cantor.
Over the years, the choir has played an important roll in synagogue life. Their songs have greatly enhanced our religious services and have also reached out into the Conejo Valley community by participating at events such as the annual Conejo Valley Ecumenical Services at Thanksgiving time.
More recently we have been so fortunate to have Dr. Raymond Egan, a graduate of the Thornton School of Music serving as our music director Under Dr. Egan’s tutelage, from the Choir added to their varied repertory of choral music, and has been mastered musical pieces written and arranged by Cantor Shukiar as well as many of the significant Jewish choral music composers.
Bless our music family
Which encourages and supports glorious harmony,
Loving and caring community, And a mutual blend of hearts and voices
In our sacred task of spiritually elevating
Our community through music.
The start of 2012 brought news that Dr. Raymond Egan has been offered a full time position in Seattle, WA. Raymond has been our Choir Director for almost six years and during that time, he was able to considerably sharpen our vocal skills, introduce a number of new pieces that have now become part of our repertoire, and instill the notion that we are a wonderfully skilled group of singers. We wish Raymond well in his future endeavors, and thank him for his tremendous impact on Temple Adat Elohim’s music program.
Cantor Shukiar allowed the Choir and the Band to actively participate in the search for our new Choir Director. The individual selected for the position is Stephanie Streja. We welcome Stephanie, and look forward to her continuing to direct and teach us so that we can strive to achieve even greater accomplishments and success.
At this point in our musical history, the choir consists of 22 members and our Band of Milk & Honey is composed of 7 musicians.
(Compiled by Bob Grossmann, founding choir member)
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