Tuesday 7 June 2011

Where will Aaron Rand land? Here are some possibilities

Now that he has officially ended his extraordinary 26 year run with The Q 92.5 FM, Aaron Rand is recharging his batteries and reportedly contemplating his next move. Over the years, Rand has dabbled operated his own advertising agency and he is currently a partner with his close friend Lloyd Brown in the Dic Ann’s Restaurant on St. Jacques Street in NDG and the gourmet pie Bonatarte shop next door. Not yet 60 and very young at heart, there is a job out for him in the business somewhere.

Freeway Frank, the still rather new co-host of the Virgin Radio morning show, confessed on his blog last week what a fan he has always been of Rand. “For the record, I know he'll be back!,” Freeway wrote. “No way was that his last show. I wanted to write this note because I am proud to credit Aaron as one of my mentors as a kid growing up. No, I didn`t know him but it feels like I did because I listened to his radio show religiously and pretended to be him and Tasso as I re-enacted their banter every day after school, taping their shows on my old eight track-Ghetto Blaster. One day, I finally called the radio station and happened to get on air as Suzanne Desautels had made her debut on late pulse the night before. I praised Suzanne for her appearance on CFCF. I had a major crush on her.”

So what are Aaron’s options?

-Mike FM 105.1 would really put itself on the map by grabbing Rand. The station currently has weekday morning and drive home shows. Former CJAD sportscaster Dino Sisto is the wakeup guy. He could team up nicely with Rand and Tasso, especially considering that Greek programming actually dominates this station’s lineup. Tasso, of course, is a stage name for the man of many voices Paul Zakaib.
-Metro 14 is the newest TV station in town, taking over the spot formerly occupied by CJNT. The latter was owned by CanWest Global, which of course is no more. The fact that former Q general manager Brian Kenemy has been hired in sales for Metro 14 could lead to a Rand connection. Many years ago Rand and Tasso did a demo late night talk show before a live studio audience for the old CFCF TV. It was meant to be a possible Montreal rendition of then Johnny Carson and David Letterman. Perhaps now is the time for such a format to be revived.
-Global TV will launch a new morning show in 2012. What better branding could they get than a host like Aaron Rand?
-CTV Montreal was quick to pounce on Ted Bird when he left CHOM FM to do his Bird Droppings segment on the sportscast once a week. I would not be surprised to see news director Jed Kahane find a role for Rand.
-CHOM FM would be a natural fit for Rand. If he does want to work full-time, perhaps a weekend gig on Virgin Radio.
-THE TEAM 990, which this summer will likely be rebranded TSN Radio and become the new broadcaster of the Montreal Canadiens, could give Rand a return to his first love of sports radio.

What are your thoughts? Please share them with me?

Sunday 5 June 2011

Hazzan Nathan Mendelson Music Foundation Concert

The Hazzan Nathan Mendelson Music Foundation of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim (450 Kensington) in Westmount will be presenting a multi-media concert on Monday, June 13 (7:30 pm) in the main sanctuary. “The Voice of the Cantor - From Shtetl to Stage" will transport the audience back to the shtetl (little town) in Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and take them on a journey to the new world where, in the 21st century, the cantor has become revered as a performer, be it in the synagogue or on the Broadway or opera stages. This production will be accomplished by live performances, enhanced with amazing archival film footage and original narration by Allan Nadler, a professor at Drew university in New Jersey and a former Rabbi at the Shaar. Cantors Asher Hainovitz of the Jeshurun Central Synagogue in Jerusalem and Gideon Zelermyer of the Shaar will be accompanied by the synagogue choir, directed by Stephen Glass. The Shaar is marking its 165th anniversary and this concert will mark the start of the Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival

The Hazzan Nathan Mendelson Music Foundation was established in 1982 to honour the life and memory of Nathan Mendelson, who served as Hazzan (a Jewish musician trained in vocal arts) of the Congregation for 35 years, commencing in 1938 and concluding in 1973. He was then appointed Hazzan Emeritus of the Congregation and continued to serve until his untimely passing on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, 1977.

“So much Torah was contained in the world and life of Hazzan Nathan Mendelson that I am convinced that the world was justified in its creation because of him,” Rabbi Wilfred Shuchat commented in his eulogy. A lawyer, ordained Rabbi, Talmudic scholar, musician and Mohel, Hazzan Mendelson had a profound influence on all members of the Congregation and the Montreal Jewish community at large, regardless of age, whose lives he touched. Possessed of a curious mind and intellect, he read voraciously in areas such as advanced mathematics, physics, metaphysics and philosophy, notes his son David, for many years a leading figure in the local Jewish community himself.

As described by Rabbi Shuchat, “When Hazzan Mendelson came to Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, he brought to his responsibilities a combination of dignity, depth and authority. He was a master of Jewish liturgy. He could interpret a verse in the Siddur with the imagination of a mystic.”

The creation of the Hazzan Nathan Mendelson Music Foundation was largely due to the efforts of the Shaar Hashomayim’s late S. Laddie Kert, founding chair. “Laddie undertook a major campaign that succeeded in attracting 30 founding patrons who held Hazzan Mendelson in high esteem. In recent years, the Foundation Committee, under the leadership of Sharron Feifer, has been expanded as has the patron base,” said David (pictured above). “The Foundation has remained true to its longstanding commitment that the capital would remain in perpetuity and only the interest would be used to subsidize or fully fund the concerts and other undertakings of the Foundation.”

Since its inception, the overall goal of the Foundation has been to keep alive the memory and influence of Hazzan Mendelson. With this in mind, the Foundation Committee developed objectives centering on performance and creativity. Thus, the Foundation not only presents to the public important Jewish musical works, but also seeks to foster their creation.

Over the 29-year period of 1982 to 2011, the Foundation has presented to the Jewish and broader Montreal community, 21 concerts and related Jewish musical events. These have featured choral, cantorial, operatic, and instrumental genres highlighting Canadian composers, music of the Holocaust, music of prayer as well as classical and modern repertoire, lectures and Shabbaton weekends, performed by a diversity of local, Canadian and international artists. All of the Foundation’s concerts have taken place at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.

A gala concert event took place on October 28, 2007 in honour of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. The year 2007 also marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hazzan Mendelson, as well as the year in which his 30th Yahrzeit was observed. These milestones were reflected in this concert which saw an attendance of over 1,000 in the main sanctuary. A CD of Hazzan Mendelson’s recordings was created for this occasion and distributed to all who attended this event.

Going forward, the Foundation remains committed to working in close cooperation with the other musical arms of the Congregation in planning innovative programs and featuring outstanding artists and musical works.

CSL Dramatic Society Debuts

The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society will be staging their first theatrical presentation on Sunday, June 12 ( 7 p.m) at the the Harold Greenspon Auditorium of City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard). The newly formed Dramatic Society held open auditions in early May, putting out a call for community members interested in acting, writing, singing and dancing. The community answered. In a short 5five weeks, the Society pulled together a cast of 30 theatre enthusiasts varying in age from 17 to 77 years old, and a team of eager writers from Côte Saint-Luc and surrounding neighborhoods.

As noted WestEnd physician, assistant director and performer Jerrold Rappaport notes, "the goal of the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society, an initiative by the Parks and Recreation Department, is to create a community theatre that is accessible to everyone, to encourage cultural vitality within the community, and to take advantage of the many talented residents of the city from different generations."

The Society is open to participants of all ages, levels of experience and expertise. Their first presentation, Dining Out: An Evening of Scenes, Sketches and Songs will feature the talents of Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Mitchell Brownstein. Pictured above are Yariv Barsheshat and Howard Braziller getting into the act.

With over 35 contributing members for their first project, The Dramatic Society is hopeful about mounting a full-scale production in the fall of this year.

Dining Out: An Evening of Scenes, Sketches and Songs

Directed by Anisa Cameron, Assistant Director, Jerrold Rappaport

Music by Nick Burgess

7 p.m. in the Harold Greenspon Auditorium – 5801 Cavendish Blvd.

Tickets available at the door or through Côte Saint-Luc’s Parks and Recreation Department – 7500 Mackle Road, Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

$8 – Children (12 years and under), Seniors (60+)

$10 – Per Person