The Jewish winter Festival of Lights, called Chanukah (or Hanukkah), is a holiday that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem with the restoration of the menorah, or lamp. The miracle of Chanukah is that, with only enough oil for a single day, the Temple lamp stayed burning for a full eight days.
Chanukah is celebrated by lighting an additional candle of the menorah on each of the eight days, eating latkes and jelly donuts, playing dreidel (a spinning top), and singing songs. This year, the Jewish year 5782, Chanukah begins at sundown on Sunday, November 28 and ends at sundown on Monday, December 6.
The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers will present a program celebrating the music of Chanukah, including poems and stories about traditions of the holiday. The selections will include ‘The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights)’ by Stephen Schwartz, ‘Eight Days of Chanukah’ by Abraham Kaplan, ‘Chanukah Suite’ by Jason Robert Brown, ‘Arise and Be Free’ by Steve Barnett, and ‘Blessing’ by Karen Siegel.
“All the composers are Jewish, and we have planned the concert in consultation with Jewish people,” said Reginald Unterseher, Associate Conductor with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers (MCM) and the conductor for Miracle of Lights.
“This is the first time MCM has observed this particular celebration in a concert program as part of the organization’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” added Artistic Director Justin Raffa.
There will be two performances of Miracle of Lights on the sixth and seventh days of Chanukah:
- Saturday, December 4 at 7 p.m. at The Space, 1384 Jadwin Avenue, Richland
- Sunday, December 5 at 4:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Sholom, Richland
For tickets and more information, including COVID-19 policies, visit mcmastersingers.org.
Ted Miller has been part of the local performing arts scene for over 25 years. He currently serves as president of the Washington State Community Theatre Association.
Main image courtesy of the Mid Columbia Mastersingers.