Sydney Jewish Choral Society records for Sydney Dance Company

March 18, 2014 by  
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INXS did it.  Lady Gaga did it. Bob Dylan did it.  And now the Sydney Jewish Choral Society (SJCS) has done it too…recording a song at Studio 301 in Alexandria, Sydney.


The SJCS were at the famed studio at the request of composer Stefan Gregory, to record his arrangement of Yiddish folksong Lechiam Bruderlech. Gregory is collaborating with choreographer Gideon Obarzanek the dance ‘L’Chaim’  for Sydney Dance Company’s Interplay, currently playing in Sydney, with performances planned in Canberra and Melbourne.

For both artists, L’Chaim offers a chance to highlight Jewish music.  Obarzanek, who grew up on a kibbutz, wanted to produce a dance featuring a traditional Yiddish folksong. Gregory believes that ‘A great deal of music has been influenced by Jewish music’.


Rose Grausman and Stefan Gregory

Gregory approached SJCS to perform the song because ‘It’s the most qualified choir. I wanted the Yiddish to sound good and knew the choir had the experience in singing it.’

‘Working with the choir was great’, Gregory continued, ‘They were friendly; everyone had fun.’ He was very pleased with the sound, to which he added Klezmer-style instrumentation.

Working with Sydney Dance Company is a highlight for Gregory, who composes for dance and theatre. His recent credits include Hamlet at Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre and the musical theatre component (both music and lyrics) of the theatre piece The Government Inspector in Melbourne.

The successful composer has been a rock band musician. He has also been a maths and science student, and a computer programmer—until he began studying jazz  at Sydney’s  Conservatorium of Music. ‘I have never looked back. I work long hours, but have never been happier.’

SJCS President Anne Spira acknowledges the power of music making to excite and energise.  She recounts the results of a recent survey of the choir’s members.  Karen Schwartz , a member for 15 years,  noted the ability of the weekly choir practice to ‘elevate my mood’

Member Viv Lewin commented, ‘Even when I’m tired, after singing and connecting with other joyful, friendly people, I go home on a high.’

SJCS Musical Director Rose Grausman welcomed the opportunity Gregory offered the choir. ‘Stefan’s enthusiasm inspired us, and it was an exciting project to start the year with’.

The SJCS has a busy year ahead, with appearances planned at choir festivals and workshops, and a major concert with an orchestra. This is also a year of development for choir members, with masterclasses planned for both current members and singers from the wider community.

For information about joining the choir contact Anne Spira, President, 0403 392 878

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