Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A special evening, a special singer, a special song

The 2017 edition of the Malki Foundation's annual Rainbow of Music concert in Jerusalem has come and gone - and what a fabulous success it has been!

As in past years, every seat in the Rebecca Crown Auditorium at the Jerusalem Theatre sold out ahead of the concert night - even if a few seats remained empty because kind supporters bought the reserved seat tickets even if they were unable to personally come along.

The three featured performers all came with superlative reputations and without exception did themselves and us proud. Our sincere thanks and appreciation for their wholehearted and musically-rewarding participation to guitarist-and-singer Shlomo Katz, to Cantor Tzvi Weiss and to Daniel Zamir, one of the bright stars in Israel's jazz firmament and a saxophonist of international renown.

Our friends know that the anchor talent each year for all of the Rainbow of Music events has been the versatile and rousing Ramatayim Mens Choir under the baton of Richard Shavei-Tzion whose broad-ranging talents include preparing the arrangements, finding the talent and crafting a balanced programme for the show.

The enthusiastic applause, the singing and humming along, the smiles on the faces of patrons as they left the theatre after the last encore - all testified to another job terrifically well done. The men of the choir perform as volunteers and do wonderful work for other charities as well as for the Malki Foundation. We salute their generosity of spirit and the harmony (in every sense of the word) they bring to the evening.

Now a word about one of the special stars of the night.

Entirely unannounced, Naftali Weiss, a young Jerusalem man of 24, sang Malki’s Song, otherwise known as Shir Lismoach, a song about joy. Malki Roth wrote the words and music of the song shortly before she was murdered and without ever saying anything about its existence to her family - they only learned about it after she was gone. (There's more background and detail here and here.) It has been recorded by professional artists on several continents and taught to children in Jewish youth groups throughout the world.

Naftali deals with the challenges of having autism. His mother relates how music and singing are a gift for him. He puts his whole self into music, is the way we heard it. For the team at the Malki Foundation, it was a special honor and source of pride for us that Naftali chose to accept the invitation to sing at our event. In Debbie Fishman's incisive words, "What a tribute to Malki who dedicated her short life to inclusion and caring for children with special needs!" (Debbie is the Malki Foundation's indefatigable executive director.)

Here's the video clip. Enjoy!

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