LA KINGS 2018!
LA KINGS 2018!
Dr. Michelle Green Willner
Artistic and Musical Director of the Jewish Community Children’s Choir
Michelle Green Willner is a composer who has been commissioned and performed internationally by various ensembles, choirs and symphonies. She has written many Jewish works based on Jewish themes, history or texts. She thrives on artistic collaborations and her multi-disciplinary works have been performed most recently at the Museum of Tolerance, Art LA Contemporary, other art installations, and alongside Doni Silver Simons, at the 2019 Jerusalem Biennale.
Dr. Green Willner’s awards include eight ASCAP Special Awards, two ASCAP Foundation Grants to Young Composers, Brian M. Israel Prize, SOCAN’s Serge Garant Award, Shalshelet’s 6th Int’l Festival, and The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize. Fellowships include: June in Buffalo, the Wellesley Composers Conference, ASCAP/Fred Karlin Film Scoring Workshop, Mellon Foundation (Columbia University) the President’s Fellow (Columbia University), the Creative Inquiry Fellow (2016 & 2017), and the Max Helfman Fellowship.
Dr. Green Willner received her B.M. degree from the University of Toronto and her M.A. and D.M.A. degrees from Columbia University, New York. She has been directing choral groups in Los Angeles since 1999, and for the past nine years, she has directed the LA Jewish Community Children’s Choir—which is a LA Department of Cultural Affairs Awardee as well as a LA County Arts Grantee.
She has also created an adult series titled,”Every Song Tells a Story” at the LA Jewish Community Sing, where midrashic sources, personal stories, and the hi-stories behind oldies but goodies and contemporary Jewish/Israeli songs are explored alongside the backdrop of a jazz trio.
But more than this, Michelle Green Willner is most proud of raising her four wonderful sons alongside her husband, Alan.
For more information, please visit Michelle’s website at www.michellegreenwillner.com
As the owner/broker of Allure Real Estate, Ms. Kapin handles all the day-to-day tasks of selling, upgrading, and managing real estate properties. She has served on the boards of homeowners’ associations, trade organizations, and arts organizations, such as the Hollywood Master Chorale since 2009. She assists with grant writing and publicity.
Ms. Kapin first met and sang with Dr. Willner in 1999, when she was the Music Director of Mit Gezang Yiddish Chorus.
Sabrina Balter MS
Nutritionist Fitness Consultant
Mrs. Balter enjoys working among children and their parents. She views the JCCC as a wonderful opportunity for Jewish children of all backgrounds to work together to bring joy to the world around them. With experience as a board member of a number of different nonprofit organizations, Mrs. Balter’s enthusiasm for the JCCC and her PR skills will spread the word and bring more children into this wonderful choir.
Sharon Gillerman, PhD
Sharon Gillerman is Associate Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and she also teaches in the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at USC. In addition, she has been a visiting professor at Brandeis University, UCLA, the University of Hamburg, and Harvard University. Her daughter, Maya, has been joyfully singing with the JCCC for the past two years.
Mrs. Allison Sostchen, MA, MS General Studies Principal
Since 2012, Mrs. Sostchen has enhanced the general studies faculty and curriculum at Gindi Maimonides Academy to ensure that all students are afforded a premiere 21st century education. Mrs. Sostchen continues to develop the leadership capacity within each faculty member, and is a wonderful role model for professional development and focus. She has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for the past twenty five years. Aside from a B.A. from U.C.L.A. in Anthropology, and a DLAP specialization, Mrs. Sostchen graduated summa cum laude from Pepperdine University with an M.A. in Education as well as graduating summa cum laude from California State University Northridge with an M.A. in Educational-Administration-Educational Leadership & Policy Studies. Mrs. Sostchen’s extensive credentials include California Clear Teaching K-9 and California Clear Professional Level Administration.
Mrs. Sostchen is proud to be a part of the JCCC. As a JCCC mother and Board Member she believes that the JCCC provides a unique opportunity for Jewish children and families to join together to share their culture and religion through the beauty of music.
The JCCC was founded by Rabbi H Schulweis, and Mrs. Schulweis felt compelled to become a part of the organization upon his passing, to assure that his legacy continued on.
The JCCC is privileged to have Mrs. Bernstein-Tregub as an Advisor. She is currently a board member of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, Advisor to the board at Schulweis Institute, Director of College Relations and Planning for the Hebrew Union College, Coordinator of the Life Line Program at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, Executive Director of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice Community, Relations Director of the Skirball Cultural Center. In the past she was President of the Valley Beth Shalom Sisterhood, and she was instrumental in establishing the Heschel Day School.
Born and raised in LA, Elaine Gill is a graduate of UCLA. She and her husband, David, are the parents of four sons and grandparents of seven. Elaine has had a lifelong involvement in music and in the Jewish community. Since its foundation, she has been vice-chairman and an essential force in the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles. A past president of Valley Beth Shalom, she has also served on the boards of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, American Jewish University, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Federation Council, and is currently president of UCLA Hillel.
Zane Averbach, Esq.
Goldfarb, Sturman & Averbach
SOME 2014-15 HIGHLIGHTS:
JCCC AT THE MOT 2015
JCCC AT CELEBRATE ISRAEL 2015
JCCC AT THE AJU
JCCC AT THE LA MUSEUM OF THE HOLOCAUST 2015
JCCC SINGS FOR PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES!!
MEMBERS OF THE JCCC WITH MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI!!
JCCC FEATURED IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL:
Jewish children’s choir combines the power of youth with the magic of music
by Jonathan Maseng
Posted on Aug. 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm
It’s Sunday afternoon at the Workmen’s Circle in Pico-Robertson. A group of Orthodox women sit chatting in a back room, while, a few feet away, a father in blue jeans talks with a mother who is clearly not as traditional. In the large social hall, several dozen children — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and everything in between — sit rail- straight in their seats as Michelle Green Willner shows them some music. This is a rehearsal of the Jewish Community Children’s Choir, a pan-denominational group of children who come together each week to sing and learn about Jewish music.
For Green Willner, it’s a longtime dream that’s finally come to fruition. Growing up in Toronto, at what she describes as a “very singing shul,” Green Willner was fascinated by music from an early age. “I would come home and try and figure out the music that I was hearing at shul,” she said recently at her home in Los Angeles.
That love of music led her to pursue conducting as a student at the University of Toronto, and when she moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago, she dove into the Jewish music scene. Gigs conducting the Workmen’s Circle’s Yiddish choir, creating a children’s chimes choir at Yeshivat Yavneh, and writing and arranging numerous musical works brought her to the attention of Noreen Green, founder and director of the L.A. Jewish Symphony.
“We’re not related at all! Everybody asks that question,” Green Willner said, laughing.
Green wanted Green Willner to meet with Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) Rabbi Harold Schulweis (z’l), who was interested in starting a Jewish children’s choir. Schulweis told Green Willner that “a community that sings together, stays together,” a quote she uses to this day to motivate her choir. The Schulweis Institute, a center for Jewish learning in the San Fernando Valley, provided an initial three-year grant, and in 2011, the Jewish Community Children’s Choir was born.
“We only had eight children our first rehearsal,” Green Willner said. “It’s taken off at the Workmen’s Circle.” Rehearsals regularly draw dozens of children, ages 8-13, from places as diverse as Harkham Hillel, VBS, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Sinai Temple and a host of yeshivot.
“I think everybody’s getting something out of this,” Green Willner said. “We’re all coming for the same reason, we’re all rooting for our children. We all want the best for our children. We want the best education. … No matter where they come from, they all want to learn Torah values, and they want their children to see it in action.”
Green Willner is proud of how the kids interact — children from vastly different backgrounds working together, having fun and singing with joy. She described sitting in the audience at one of the choir’s concerts and watching that synergy in action. “I was sitting behind the children … and they had done some prayers for the soldiers, and one Orthodox boy was sitting next to another boy and answered, ‘Amen,’ and I noticed the other boy look at him, smile and go, ‘Amen.’ ”
The children have performed at venues around the city, from synagogues to the Museum of Tolerance to Israel festivals. According to Green Willner, they’ve enjoyed a very warm reception.
“One of the parents brought an older man to the rehearsal,” Green Willner recalled. “He was sitting on the side while we were practicing … and after we finished one of the pieces, he came over to me. … He was so overwhelmed, he took out his credit card and said, ‘Here, take whatever you need for the choir.’ I said to him, ‘No I can’t take your credit card, but would you do me the honor of, during the break, telling us a little about [yourself].’ ” It turns out the man, Leslie Klein, was a Holocaust survivor.
“He told the children, and started in tears, of how listening to the kids singing reminded him of his sister, who sang in the choir before his sister and parents perished in the Holocaust,” Green Willner said.
The experience also has been moving for the children. “There’s one little girl in the choir who, after every concert, makes me little cards,” Green Willner said. “I get amazing emails from parents.”
She’s particularly proud when she sees children gain confidence through singing. Green Willner described another young girl, who “was so shy, she would not leave her mom’s side. Now she’s my strongest, loudest singer.”
Green Willner hopes that with more exposure, the choir will gain even more participants. “I’d love it to grow and grow and grow,” she said. “I’d love the level of music making to increase and be heightened.
“Their potential is phenomenal, and their ears are phenomenal. … I think it can become even more than it is. It’s brought me a lot of joy,” she continued. “I go in sometimes on Sunday, like we all do when we’re tired from the whole week … and I come out thinking, ‘What else can we do?’ ”
Some comments from the audience and the performers:
“Dear Michelle…Bravo. We loved your choir!”
“Hi Michelle, I came to the Ford last night – for the most part – to hear and see your children’s choir..The choir kids did a spectacular job!!!…Yashar Kochech!” -Cantor Aviva Rosenbloom
“The choir was outstanding! …on it, smiling, happy, confident. Wow. GREAT work! Thanks for doing what you do.”–Sam Glaser
“Hi Michelle, The choir was a show stopper. Thank you for your efforts.”
Young singers (ages 9-14) needed to join the Jewish Community Children’s Choir, for a special performance with Dr. Noreen Green and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, with guest Sam Glaser! The concert at the Ford Amphitheatre is part of LAJS’ Chailights series, celebrating their “Chai” year — 18 years of making wonderful Jewish music. First rehearsal is June 11th, in the S.F. Valley. Additional Westside rehearsal is June 12th (6:30 – 7:30 pm) at 9326 Sawyer St., L.A., 90035. Register with JCCC now!
Yom Hashoa Event at the Museum of Tolerance