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Usdan Center Gala Concert 2010
08/04/2010 - By Wheatley Heights, NY

Usdan Center Gala Concert 2010

On Wednesday evening, August 4, 2010 at 7 PM, Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the nationally renowned summer arts camp whose alumni include Natalie Portman and Mariah Carey, presented its annual Gala Concert.

Featured were students from several music and dance divisions, as well as visual arts students in an on-site exhibit. Highlights of the concert included the Usdan Jazz Ensemble with vocal soloist Leandra McNair; and an historic performance of one of Ernest Bloch’s greatest works, his "Sacred Service (Avodath Hakodesh)" for orchestra, chorus, and baritone soloist. "Sacred Service" has rarely been presented by young people, and its performance on August 4th will be an artistic point of pride for Usdan, and for its partner organization, UJA-Federation of New York.

The concert was at the on-site McKinley Ampitheater at Usdan Center, 185 Colonial Springs Road in Huntington, Long Island. The guest soloist for "Sacred Service" was the rising young baritone Jesse Blumberg (Santa Fe, Glimmerglass Operas) and the conductor was Adam Glaser (Salzburg Festival, Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra).

Musicians throughout the United States honored Bloch in 2010, the 50th anniversary of his death. "Sacred Service" was commissioned by San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-El, and it was premiered there in 1934. Usdan’s Gala will conclude with the dramatic scene that Bloch most loved. It is the moment when the Torah is taken from its ark, and presented to the congregation as the chorus sings “Torah tzivoh." Bloch considered this part of his piece to be the embodiment of his personal journey of reunion with Judaism.


Photos: Pedro Sousa

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