Friday, March 25, 2005

singing in shul for purim

i would be remiss in my duties as an honorary jew if i didn't tell anyone about the story of queen esther or my special day, the feast of purim.

i used to try to find a shul to sing in every year but the older jews that loved me so much have all passed away. and now there is no one left to invite me to service or even call me hadassah and give me hamentashen and those wonderful brightly colored little noisemakers. i miss them all terribly -- especially harry, the moil who called himself a professional pencil sharpener and who loved to stand in the hallway outside my room and listen to me sing songs like "stars fell from alabama" and "azalea" to myself, when i was working furiously to learn as many standards as i could, for my own satisfaction.

and then of course there is mr. fineman, who would refuse to answer his phone when he knew i was calling so i would sing bits and pieces of songs like "midnight sun" into his machine.

i don't know of very many people who know those songs. they're all older and genuinely surprised that i sing them the way that i do. actually, i hardly know any vocalists who've bothered to learn them. not the songs that most people wouldn't know, like "gloomy sunday." they don't even know standard issue boiler plate pedestrian stuff, like "the way you look tonight." i find that to be highly disturbing. if no one ever sings these songs, how will they live?

sometimes i would sing standards in shul. they were always quite moving and strangely appropriate.

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