Cantor Robbi Sherwin is a busy musician based Austin (TX). After years of intensive study, she became certified as a cantor in 2003. Robbi not only serves as the spiritual leader of B'nai Butte Congregation in Crested Butte(CO); but also regularly serves congregations in San Antonio and El Paso (TX). Robbi earned her BFA at the University of Texas in Austin in Musical Theater, Playwriting and Vocal Performance. Robbi brings her spirited Jewish songcrafting, vast knowledge and intense love of Judaism to communities around the world and is in high demand to do special musical programming for Jewish camps.
Her first two albums of original Jewish pop, rock, funk and blues, Todah LaChem (Thanks, Y'all) and Aish HaKodesh (the Holy Fire) have won numerous awards and critical accolades. Touring with her folk/rock band, "Sababa", teamed with the acclaimed talent of Scott Leader and Steve Brodsky, she seeks to ignite spiritual connections through Jewish music. "Sababa's" popular first release, Pray for the Peace, introduces her rendition of Robin's Sim Shalom. Robbi's music has been featured in worship services at both synagogues and churches, Jewish Community Centers, summer camps and concert halls throughout the United States, England, Australia and Israel. Her compositions have been recorded by many other artists.
Stacy Beyer began writing songs at the age of seven and knew that music was her destiny. She graduated from Stony Brook State University of New York with a BA in music composition after which she toured the world writing music, leading ensembles, playing piano and singing. Landing in New York City, she produced bands and wrote music for TV and film. She was encouraged by many country music artists to explore the recording industry in Nashville (TN) where she found "her Jewish-self". Stacy's Jewish contemporary albums include Find Your Voice; Ha Makom (The Place); Must Be Chanukah and is currently in pre-production for her 4th CD. Stacy has won numerous awards and has a full touring concert schedule. This year, she received an invitation to sing at the Jewish Federation General Assembly held at the Opryland Hotel and recently had the honor of serving as the Vocal Music Artist-in-Residence for the first ever Jewish Community Centers ArtFest.
Alisa is an award winning singer/songwriter from the Bay Area in Northern California. She inherited her musical talent from her great-grandfather who played first trumpet with the NY Philharmonic under the legendary Toscanini and her grandmother, a concert pianist who taught her from the ages of five until eleven. Summers in her teens were spent at Camp Swig where she remembers both Robin and Robin's sister, Dori, who coincidentally was Alisa's CIT. She earned a degree in Environmental Studies and Natural History at the University of California at Santa Cruz and began recording in the late 90's. Her CD albums include Cup of Kindness, Better With Time and her newest release, Closing the Distance, Poems, Prayers, and Love Songs, which is a contemporary arrangement of traditional songs from the Jewish Diaspora. It has been reviewed as a sensual, compelling and richly rewarding new experience in world music. Her resonate alto voice has won her awards which include "Best Folk Musician" for four consecutive years by the Monterey Bay Coast Weekly and top honors at the Kerrville Folk Festival. She has toured extensively with her partner and multi-instrumentalist fellow musician, Kimball Hurd and earlier this year, she performed at Carnegie Hall. Alisa's cantorial responsibilities are in association with Congregation Beth Israel in Carmel (CA).
Beth Schafer, composer/performer, has been playing guitar since the age of six. Awarded a jazz scholarship to the University of Miami School of Music, Beth graduated with honors with a degree in Music Theory and Composition. She is now the cantorial leader at Temple Shir Shalom in Oviedo (FL) and was featured for her accomplishments in an article in the April 2007 issue of Reform Judaism, the magazine published by the Union of Reform Judaism. She has been guitarist for the movement's biennial conference Shabbat services since 1999 and recently performed at center court for a half time show at an Orlando Magic basketball game. Beth won the 2006 American Idol Underground faith-based competition with her dual entries, Still Small Voice and Love Multiplies. This distinction resulted in her being seated on an advisory board to the Grammys for Jewish music. The universality of her music defines, not only her Judaism, but also has attracted fans of other faiths as well. She has a busy concert schedule as a prolific songwriter with the theme of "uniting people of faith through music" pervading her albums which include May the Words; Lev B'Lev; A Way to Say Ah; Love Your Neighbor; The Quest and the Question and her newest release, Build That Bridge. For those "in the know", Beth was recently named a RadioIndy Gold Artist for her song Good Enough.
In congregations throughout the Israel Movement of Progressive Judaism, the melody ofShechina Mekor Chayenucomposed by Robin Taback ז"ל can be heard every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur touching the souls of Israelis across the country. Robin’s spirit permeates the prayer, reflecting her desire to create a melody line with a traditional feel while at the same time delivering its content in a clear and precise manner. Robin’s love of Jewish liturgy, the sweet quality of her voice and her complete presence in the prayer keep her essence alive in the hearts of all who hear Shechina Mekor Chayenu. In our community, we look forward to singing Shechina, Source of our Lives, every year along side the traditional version of Avinu Malkeinu. Robin’s music brings to life a new way to understand the feminine aspect of God’s being as described in this unique prayer. She composed the melody with great love and respect for the High Holy Day liturgy and we are the beneficiaries of her talent.
- Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon
YOZMA, Modiín Israel
Peri Smilow (To Everything There is a Season)
Peri Smilow is a nationally recognized singer/songerwriter, cantorial soloist, educator and community organizer. Her music has been heard throughout the U.S., Canada, England, Singapore and Israel. In addition to her work as a contemporary Jewish composer and entertainer, Peri is an educational consultant specializing in non-profit management, curriculum design, community service learning and intergenerational programming. She hold a Masters Degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has served as Artist-in Residence at Temple Ner Tamid of Bloomfield. NJ and has combined all of her passions to creat the Tikkum Olam Community Arts Project, a model for congregations to use the arts as a tool for social change. Peri has released three recordings of original contemporary Jewish music including Songs of Peace, and Ashrey. Her recording, Peri Smilow and The Freedom Music Project: The Music of Passover and the Civil Rights Movement, features an electrifying 18-voice choir of young Black and Jewish singers celebrating the freedom music of their traditions. The Freedom Music Project is the subject of several feature stories broadcast nationally on NBC and ABC TV, National Public Radio’s Weekend All Things Considered and internationally on Voice of America radio. Peri Smilow and The Freedom Music Project was nominated Best Gospel Album of the Year (2002) by the Just Plain Folks Music Awards and is now availble for replication nationally as the Freedom Music Project: Concert-in-a-Box. TM
Ellen, together with her husband Peter, have established themselves as multi award-winning recording artists, children’s performers, and early childhood music consultants. Drawing on a rich tradition of musical experience, they present captivating family performances, worship experiences, keynote presentations and workshops for both secular and Jewish aduiences thoughtout the United States. They have created teacher songbook/manuals including their three volumes of Sing it! Say it! Stamp it! Sway it! recordings which have quickly become children’s classics and praised by teachers, parents and children alike. Raise the Children and Good Kid are also requested favorites at their concerts. Sing Shalom: Songs for the JewishHolidays and Bring the Sabbath Home are unique collections of original songs that are regularly sung in synagogues and religious schools. Living in central Massachuetts, this dymanic duo have made numerous appearance on TV and radio, lead Tot or Family Shabbat services and appear as guest cantorial solosits for adult services and life cycle events in addition to concert performances and workship presentations.
Rebecca Schwartz is a professional singer/guitarist and award-winning songwriter. She has written and produced four albums: Only Time Can Tell (secular love songs), The Light of Shabbat (a religious experience), Ahavah Rabah (songs of spirit, love, and hope), and P'tach Libi (a landscape for prayer), and has published a songbook, Rebecca Songs. She has also released a number of singles and has written and recorded songs to help teach autistic children. Rebecca started her musical career in 1974, and currently works as a cantorial soloist, songleader, choir director, and music teacher in the Philadelphia area. She specializes in worship experiences, engaging people in the power of prayer through music. During the summer months, Rebecca enjoys a position as Songleading Director at Union of Reform Judaism Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge, MA, where she teaches Jewish music, sings with kids/teens, and mentors young adult songleaders. She has presented music workshops at Jewish conferences and performed in the US, Canada, and Israel.
Judy Caplan Ginsburgh is a multi-award winning singer, songwriter and educator. She holds a degree in vocal performance from the prestigious Indiana University School of Music. Judy sings as a cantorial soloist, performs concerts and gives workshops throughout North America. She has produced and recorded over a dozen albums (including the classic, ShalomYeladim, Havdalah Pajama and Amazing Songs For Amazing Jewish Kids), a sign language DVD, and two curriculum books. She specializes in music for family audiences.
Judy's recordings have won numerous awards including the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, Parents Choice Foundation awards; iParenting Media awards, and Children's Music Web awards. In 1990, she received a Special Music Award from Religious Heritage of America for her contributions to Jewish music. In 1999, she received the Governor's Arts Award for Professional Artist of the Year in her home state of Louisiana and in 2006, she was one of ten artists in Louisiana to be honored with an Artist Entrepreneur Award. Judy was named one of the Top Ten Jewish Female Vocalists and one of the Top Ten Jewish Children's Performers by Moment Magazine and Tara Publications. She also created the award-winning music curriculum, My Jewish World for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ).
In 2003, Judy founded a non-profit, Central Louisiana Arts & Healthcare, Inc., whose mission is to bring innovative arts experiences into healthcare settings to aid with the healing process. She continues to run this organization as Executive Director. For her healing arts work with evacuees after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Judy was awarded the Blair-Sadler International Healing Arts Award; the American Red Cross Runway Award; and the National Art Education Award for Best Work Outside the Profession.
Nancy Linder confesses that she could sing before she could talk. She was born and raised in Florida where her love for singing in the school choir was combined with performing in starring roles in musical theater. While studying for her BA at Florida State University in music performance and theater, Nancy was one of two jazz soloist seclected for Sarah Vaughan’s master class. She studied at NYU’s MFA professional actor training program and pursued her Masters Degree at Georga State and Cal State LA Universities. Nancy completed her Masters in Music and Educational Administration at Azua Pacific University in California and taught elementary school music for 15 years. Prior to her becoming the cantorial solosit for Temple Beth David in Westminster, CA, Nancy recorded her first two albums, My Favorite Hewrew Songs, and Songs of the Jewish Spirit. Two new releases, Songs for Shabbatand Broadway Melodies were recently produced. Nancy is a popular performer in the Orange County and Los Angeles area, often with the South Coast Simcha Band and is pleased to have been invited to share a performance in her hometown of Tallahassee with Beth Schafer.
Scott Leader is a rising star in the world of contemporary Jewish folk/rock music. As a composer and performer, you can find his singable, liturgical songs at camps and synagogues throughout the US. As a producer, his ability to truly get inside a new song and bring out the best in the artist is being noticed by some of the top acts and producers in the genre. A New Jersey native, Scott got his start as a songleader in the Reform movement. He is equally comfortable and fluent on piano, guitar and flute. With degrees in Geoscience and Judaic Studies from the University of Arizona, and a Masters in Education from Arizona State University, Scott has used education in a myriad of capacities. He taught science and music at the Austin Jewish Academy, directed summer camp at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, and serving several congregations as a cantorial soloist. His two solo albums, "Lift My Eyes" and "Gates" have garnered critical and commercial success. A Phoenix resident, Scott, along with wife, Jennifer, run the state-of-the-art Southwest Studio and Soundworks, where he helped bring to life Robin's music. Scott also serves as cantorial soloist for Temple Gan Elohim and in his "spare" time tours solo and with his energetic folk/rock band, Sababa! along with Robbi Sherwin and Steve Brodsky. His outstanding production of Sababa's first CD, "Pray for the Peace" has received rave reviews.