By COLlive reporter
Over the past few weeks, six Chabad centers have hosted, “The Rebbe’s Niggunim: Songs of the Inspired Soul,” a unique multimedia concert created by Yuvla Media, and have drawn rave reviews from their audiences.
In Baltimore, Maryland over 200 people came despite the pouring rain to an event hosted by Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon of Chabad of Park Heights.
“The program exceeded our greatest expectations,” Rabbi Lisbon said. “People were so moved by the niggunim, nobody wanted to leave. One person asked me if we could have this every month.”
A couple of nights earlier, a crowd of 125 people attended this concert in Birmingham, Alabama. Arranged by Rabbi Yossi Friedman and with a quartet led by one of the members of the community, Dr. Gregory Odrezin, the crowd was deeply moved by a newfound richness in Chabad niggunim. “The program was beyond our wildest dreams,” said Shlucha Mrs. Fruma Posner.
The innovative program combines the live musical performance with short films that introduce each of the niggunim by telling their individual stories – think of Anim Zmiros and the Yid Under the Tallis, or the story of Shamil – as well as the fascinating story of how and where the Rebbe taught them.
“This program really shares with people the Rebbe’s musical legacy,” explained Bentzi Avtzon, creative director of Yuvla Media. “Both for those who have never heard a niggun before as well as those who have but don’t know the meaning behind it, this is an eye-opening experience.”
These thoughts were echoed by Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky of Chabad of Northeast Queens who together with a number of neighboring Chabad centers hosted the program a few days after Yud Shvat, the day the Rebbe accepted the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch.
“It was arguably the most meaningful and Chassidishe program we ever presented,” Rabbi Blesofsky said, “People came who never come to anything else but appreciate top shelf string music. What’s amazing is they are sitting there enjoying a professional show and at the same time hearing and being inspired by pure Nigunim of the Rebbe. True ruchniyus!”
Another thing that’s beautiful about this program is that it can be hosted in multiple places at the same time. As Avtzon explained, “The program’s superlative musical arrangements, written by Maestro Israel Edelson, enable any group of trained local musicians to perform the niggun at the highest level. This means the program can take place in multiple cities at the same time, without any travel costs.”
Take Bellevue, Washington, known as the Microsoft suburb of Seattle, where the local Chabad center led by Rabbi Mordechai Farkash was able to enjoy a performance by a local group, The Jove Quartet, at a Five Year Celebration for their Eastside Torah Center.
On the same night, Chabad of Park Slope hosted the concert across the country with a performance by the Brooklyn-based Agnon Quartet, who have performed for this program at a number of local Chabad Houses in the past several months to great acclaim.
And the movement continues. Just a few days later, Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens hosted the program for their yearly member appreciation event. After a dazzling performance by the South Florida String Quartet, Rabbi Dovid Vigler reported, “It was a phenomenal, sensational event. Everyone had the most beautiful time.”
As the music settles across the country and positive feedback continues to pour in what seems obvious is that this is only the beginning of a new interest in the powerful message of the Rebbe’s niggunim.
To bring the joy and beauty of niggunim to your community please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org