Sermon in Song

Back in 2009, I was charged, along with our Junion Choir, Kol Simkha, to present the sermonic message for Shabbat Shira. Usually, I did some big musical service or presentation for Shabbat Shira, or otherwise since its proximity to Martin Luther King Shabbat was always so close, we combined music and the MLK interfaith service into a big thing.

But for this time, my elementary and junior high students were going to be a part of it. I elected to not give one of my conventional “Sermons-in-Song,” where I’d speak and then sing. Rather, I wanted to create a literal Sermon-In-Song: A sermon which was intended to get across an idea through music instead of speaking. I decided to stick with the traditional Biblical redemption story and used text written by Howard I. Bogot & Robert J. Orkand from “A Children’s Haggadah” (a great family haggadah if you need one!). For a refrain that the kids could sing, I used Richard Silverman’s setting of “Mi Khamokha” and then set the English text to traditional cantorial chant, along with a melody for the plagues I wrote.

Shabbat Shira Sermon in Song

by Erik Contzius

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