After years of packing smaller houses around the city, the Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus, which hosts a large number of Brooklyn-based performers, will make its debut at NYC’s 700-seat Peter Norton Symphony Space for its 86th Annual Spring Concert, June 1 at 4 p.m.
The new space will enable a much larger crowd to hear the chorus’ century-long repertoire of rare and popular Yiddish music, directed by composer/conductor Binyumen Schaechter.
Founded in 1922, the all-volunteer JPPC boasts members ranging in age from 20s to 80s. The chorus’ membership includes students, grandparents, Canadians, Israelis, a Brit, gays and straights, and all of varying levels of Jewish observance.
Some people speak Yiddish, such as the adult children of Holocaust survivors and late Yiddish poets and thinkers. Some speak no Yiddish at all, but love the music. Conductor Binyumen Schaechter is himself the progeny of the illustrious late Yiddish linguist Mordkhe Schaechter.
There are lawyers, retirees, recent college grads, and veteran journalists from “The New York Times” and “The Financial Times.”
In its June concert, the JPPC will spotlight the songs of the “Father of Yiddish Theatre,” Abraham Goldfaden, who is famous for his lullaby “Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen” (“Raisins and Almonds”). It will also perform Wolf Younin and Maurice Rauch’s rarely heard folk oratorio, “Fun Viglid biz Ziglid” (“From Lullaby to Song of Victory),” tracing the lives of two Jewish children before and after the Holocaust. English translations are provided.
Two of the top Yiddish hits, “Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen” and “Afn Pripetshik,” will round out the JPPC’s spring concert, which will also feature lesser-known but equally spellbinding material.