Since large in-person gatherings are still discouraged because of Covid, Shir Chadash in Metairie is making its annual All-Star New Orleans Jazz Seder available online for congregants and others around the world to enjoy as part of their individual Passover celebrations.
Held regularly since 2008 as the Conservative congregation’s second-night Seder, the Jazz Seder features a collection of local Jewish musicians accompanying popular songs from the Passover Seder including “Dayenu,” “Avadim Hayinu,” “Had Gadya” and other Seder favorites as well as other traditional songs from both the liturgy and the New Orleans Jazz playbook to enhance the obligatory annual retelling of the Passover story.
“For years, our musical Seder has been one of our most popular and highly anticipated events,” said Rabbi Deborah Silver. “We are sad we cannot be together in-person to celebrate the Seder just yet, but we hope that by offering a pre-recorded version our community and others worldwide will be able to heighten their spiritual experience and enjoy the incredible musical talent that we have in our congregation and community.”
The Jazz Seder, which comes in at a little over an hour, was posted on Shir Chadash’s Facebook and YouTube pages on March 23. Silver leads the ritual parts of the Seder, with the band doing musical selections to accompany. The congregation’s youth are also featured.
Local musicians in the Jazz Seder ensemble include Ben Schenk of the Panorama Jazz Band on clarinet; Rene Coman of The Iguanas on bass; Marc Stone on guitar; pianist Joe Krown; Hannah Krieger-Benson, who also works with the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, on trumpet and background vocals; Doug Garrison of The Iguanas on drums; Rick Perles on violin, and Meryl Zimmerman, who also serves as the synagogue’s education director, on lead vocals.
The musical component was recorded live on March 12, at the outdoor venue The Broadside, with video production by Nolafy LLC and sound engineering by Pete Winkler. Will Samuels is producer of the online program.