First, the singing of the Psalm from our New Year's Eve service last night. My husband is the pianist and songleader. I love this responsive type of Psalm singing and we do a lot of it at my church. Sometimes we chant the Psalm to tones from our hymnal; sometimes we do a combination of chant and sung refrain; sometimes we sing something through-composed (such as you see below). I found a comment about this video from a Facebook friend to be very interesting. He said, "I don't think I've ever heard Cantor sing!" I was amazed by that because it seems to me my husband is always singing. But then I realized that as much as I love it when he leads responsive singing from the piano, it is not something he does much. Most of his work in worship is not singing himself but enabling others to sing. Notice that when it is the congregation's turn to sing, he stops (except for the final refrain). That is what cantors (or kantors) do: help the assembly to find their voice and sing the Lord's song. Very different from so much of contemporary worship today, in which songleaders sing AT and FOR people, resulting in the people not singing, but listening.
One note on this video: I was positioned such that the sound quality is not reflective of the actual event. My recording is heavy on the piano, but the mix in the service was much more balanced.
The second video is from our Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols. A very special musical moment with some of our most talented musicians. The woman at far left has sung professionally for a number of years. The second female singer has a doctoral degree in voice, teaches at the college level, and sings lyric opera. The third singer, still in high school, is one of her students. And the fourth . . . well, there's that Cantor again, a piano major holding his own very well amidst some truly amazing pipes!
Finally, another video from Christmas Eve, this one from our family service. Our children's choir for Christmas Eve was small in number but big in sound. Evan, my youngest, is at the far right end of the front row, often not visible behind his dad. This is a difficult piece for young singers due to the unusual intervals they are required to learn as well as the almost-but-not-quite-the-same repetitions of several musical motifs. I'm playing the piano. It is a beautiful, pianistic accompaniment that is a pleasure to play. My only problem with this piece is that I rarely get through it without crying, which can cause problems when one is trying to read the music on the printed page.
I hope you enjoy the music. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!