Founded in 2002 by Hazzan Dr. Scott Sokol and community singer Larry Kozinn, Koleinu, Boston’s Jewish Community Chorus, is an eighty-member chorus of adults of all backgrounds that performs Jewish choral music for audiences in Boston and beyond. Its primary mission is to provide its members, regardless of their previous musical experience or religious affiliation, an opportunity to learn, sing and perform Jewish music in a meaningful way. Carol Marton, lauded for her skills as a conductor and teacher, is its founding Artistic Director, and Koleinu’s accompanist since 2005 is the accomplished pianist Victor Cayres. Koleinu has been praised for its expressiveness, repertoire and for the high musical standards it maintains as a non-audition chorus.
Koleinu’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of Jewish choral music, including liturgical, secular, contemporary, and traditional styles. Rehearsals are engaging and emphasize the power of musical expression. Koleinu is a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in greater Boston, and rehearses from September–June on Thursday nights (7:15-9:30 p.m.) at Temple Ohabei Shalom, 1187 Beacon Street, Brookline.
Koleinu brings the richness of Jewish music to audiences through concerts, festivals, and interfaith and multicultural programs. The chorus has also performed at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in New York, at the Boston Jewish Music Festival, and has collaborated with many groups including the Zamir Chorale of Boston, Boston City Singers, Boston Community Chorus and the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Koleinu commissioned a new piece of choral music, “Sound the Great Shofar,” by composer Osnat Netzer, and performed the world premiere on June 10, 2012 (Brookline). The chorus also performed the piece in July 2012 at the North American Jewish Music Festival (Kerhonksen, NY), where Koleinu has performed several times.
What We’re Singing
Each year, Koleinu explores a wide range of Jewish music, but also focuses its attentions on some interesting themes. In 2012–2013, the chorus investigated settings of Halleluya texts and selections by the prolific composer, Max Janowski, in recognition of the centennial of his birth. On December 16, 2012, Koleinu presented “Hanukah Halleluya,” a concert and Hanukah sing-along, to an enthusiastic full house at Temple Reyim (West Newton), with special guest Rabbi Benjamin Shalva. In spring of 2013, Koleinu presented “Halleluyah for the World: Songs of Praise and a Celebration of Composer Max Janowski,” featuring soloist Cantor Gastón Bogomolni. On January 26, 2014, we presented “Under a Carob Tree: A ‘Green’ Choral Concert,” at Temple Emeth (Chestnut Hill), featuring Cantor Michael McCloskey and special guest Rabbi Kay Allen of Ma’yan Tikvah. In our spring concert on May 29, 2014, we collaborated with Hazzan Elías Rosemberg, of Temple Emanuel (Newton). 2015 saw collaborations with Cantor McCloskey on Jewish music of Arabic, Slavic, Sephardic, and American roots, and also concerts in the spectacular renovated sanctuary of Temple Ohabei Shalom (Brookline), featuring Cantor Randall Schloss, soprano Leah Schloss, and accompanist Victor Cayres.
Collaborations and Concerts
Koleinu performed for the third time at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in New York in July 2014, and has appeared twice at the Boston Jewish Music Festival. In 2011, Koleinu was honored to perform as part of the 15th Anniversary Commemoration of the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. Koleinu has also brought Jewish music to numerous interfaith gatherings including most recently Temple Emeth’s celebration of Chiune Sugihara with Japanese chorus “Chorus Boston,” a concert to raise funds for Ebola Relief in Newton, and Boston College’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration. Other notable performances include:
- Performance at a presentation of the film Wagner’s Jews (Hebrew College, Newton, 2014)
- Featured performer at Temple Beth David’s annual memorial concert (Westwood, 2014)
- “Play for Japan,” a benefit concert by local musicians for the relief effort in Japan (Temple Emeth, Brookline, 2011)
- The Boston Jewish Music Festival with Kol B’seder (Jeff Klepper and Dan Freelander) in celebration of its 40th anniversary (Rashi School, Dedham, 2011)
- Bringing Jewish music to the first annual Greater Boston Community Choral Festival that featured local and international choirs (Sanders Theater, Cambridge, 2010)
- Representing Boston at an historic concert marking the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht— a sold-out, multimedia production featuring 200 voices, full orchestra, and narration by Leonard Nimoy (Providence, RI, 2009)
- Spearheading a collaborative concert of Jewish and Gospel music to benefit an anti-violence and leadership development program for Boston’s youth (Boston, 2008)
Featured at several New England Jewish Choral Festivals, Koleinu has collaborated with groups including the Zamir Chorale of Boston, the Boston Community Choir, and the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. Koleinu has also brought music annually to Hebrew Senior Life facilities in Roslindale and Dedham, MA. Koleinu is a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in Boston and the surrounding areas.