This Saturday, Cantor David Krohn will finally get to present a special program in honor of his father, a cantor and rabbi who died six years ago — he'll sing for his father. He will also sing with him.
The Brith Shalom synagogue will be the setting for the 70-minute program which will be done in Yiddish, Hebrew and English. Also on tap: dozens of singers and instrumentalists from the synagogue, choir, and local musicians. At one point Krohn will sing along with a video of his father singing. " he theme of passing down from generation to generation your tradtions, your values, your passions, your religion, that's a really universal theme," he says.
Krohn's father's first language was Yiddish and three or four of the songs will be sung it it. Yiddish, a language that has been disparaged in the 20th century as a sign that immigrants to American weren't really American and on significant decline for years, has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to movements on college campuses that have renewed interest in it, as an important part of the Jewish heritage.
The concert is free to attend thanks to many sponsors who pledged money — more than $130,000 had been raised at press time — that will benefit the Brith Shalom religious school.
"My father was a very celebrated cantor and rabbi who was born in Poland in 1922," Krohn said. His father moved to New York City during the golden age of cantorial music, Krohn said, and was called upon to perform all over the United States. As he got older " he made a natural transition into the rabinate," Krohn said.
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The younger Krohn, the associate director of development at the Houston Grand Opera who has a master's in opera from Julliard, said his own love affair with music began in the synagogue. As a rabbi's son there was a lot of pressure for him to get things right in his bar mitzvah. "We'd sit at the kitchen table for hours working on Hebrew special melodies. Instead of sports, I learned cantorial music." For the last 15 years Krohn has performed at high holidays services for various congregations..
This week's program shows the breadth of cantorial music, Krohn says. "Unfortunately Jewish music is often pigeon holed as hava nagila."
The event is also going to be streamed live and Krohn says relatives in Israel wiill be watching at 5 a.m. their time.
Krohn's program My Father's Son is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, January 16. To reserve a seat, go to the Brith Shalom website and RSVP. Free.