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Greenbelt's Own Mishkan Torah Synagogue Astonishes with Thriving Performing Arts Program

Greenbelt's own Mishkan Torah astonishes with thriving performing arts program.

Mishkan Torah Synagogue, a small, friendly and nurturing congregation located on the cornerof Ridge Road and Westway in Greenbelt has continuously presented top quality programs in theperforming arts.

Literally hand-built by its founding families over sixty years ago, with help from its Catholic neighbors, Mishkan Torah has been out front in the realms of theater, classical music, and jazz — in addition to the expected Jewish culture.

2011 Overview

On Sunday, December 11, at 3 p.m., Mishkan Torah continued its artistic activities by presenting a special concert of straight-on swing jazz by legendary local musician Rusty Mason and the Augusta Swing Ensemble. The Ensemble had the audience tapping its toes and dancing to the sounds of Duke Ellington and other giants of the '30s and '40s swing era.

The highlight of the evening was an amazing, improvised scat duet between Mr. Mason and renowned vocalist Wendi Bourne, that turned the Synagogue. Mr. Mason is the husband of Mishkan Torah member Chana Mason.

Earlier this year in October, Mishkan Torah was the scene of a concert by Brian Choper, himself a son of Mishkan Torah members, and the New Klezmer Quintet. The Quintet displayed its unique brandof Klemzer Fusion music, which melds the traditional festive Jewish music of Eastern Europe with styles such as bluegrass and rock. This gala event had the full house literally dancing the hora in the aisles.

Mishkan Torah presents the classics as well. Mishkan Torah sponsored a Young Performers Series of three concerts by classically trained, college-aged children of Mishkan Torah members. Each young artist was given the opportunity to present a full-length, formal concert before a bravo-ing, sell-out crowd, just like at the Kennedy Center or Carnegie Hall. These young artists included Tenor Benjamin Greenfield, Violinist Sarah Saviet and French Hornist Joshua Rosen.

The Spring Season Offers The Book of Esther

For the coming spring, Mishkan Torah will continue its artistic tradition by presenting a full-length original musical setting of the Purim story from The Book of Esther, which will be Saturday evening, March 3, 2012.

The show features a score, which is a pastiche of favorites from opera, Broadway, Gilbert and Sullivan and good old rock and roll.The show includes familiar Biblical characters such as Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus and the evil vizier Haman, but also will include appearances from Lady Debita, the Royal Auditor, Miss Inner Outer Mesopoamia, Jersey Boys in Persia, and a chorus of Doo-Wopping Plotters.

Mother's Day Concert

The season will conclude with a gala Mother’s Day concert on May 13, 2012, entitled “Generations United.” That concert will feature encore performances by at least two of the Young Performers as well as appearances by Mishkan Torah’s more senior classically trained artists. Mishkan Torah is affiliated with both the Conservative and Reconstructionist movements.

     For further information, call Jeffrey Rosen, 240-393-2601

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Jeffrey Rosen January 16, 2012 at 01:54 AM
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Purim" is hilarious! The show features parodies of familiar songs, and even an appearance by a would-be Lady Gaga! The show will be Saturday night, March 3 at 7:30 at Mishkan Torah Synagogue, 10 Ridge Road in Greenbelt. You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy a great evening! Tickets are only $10 for adults and $5 for children.- Jeffrey Rosen

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