In 1925, an era when Yiddish speakers numbered in the tens of thousands in Toronto, some local Jewish immigrant factory workers founded the Freiheit Gezangs Farein, the Freedom Choral Society, and staged a spring concert in 1926.
That choir was the historic predecessor of the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, which still stages a handful of concerts each year, including its upcoming 86th annual Spring Concert.
The central work being performed is Dos Naye Lid (The New Song) by Canadian composer Milton Barnes (1931-2001), one of several individuals who are being honoured at the concert. The others are Ben Shek, Myrna Levine, Mordechai Gebirtig and Adrienne Cooper.
Alexander Veprinsky conducts and pianist Lina Zemelman provides accompaniment. $25, $20; children 12 and under free. Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Ave. Sunday, June 3, 3 p.m. 905-669-5906, firstname.lastname@example.org
* * *
More Choral Music
• The 50-voice Toronto Jewish Chorus performs Melodies and Mandelbroit, a gala concert with Cantor Benjamin Maissner, Cantor Anna Trubashnik, Rabbi Noam Katz, the Leo Baeck Glee Club and the TJC Barbershop Quartet. The choir director is Judy Adelman Gershon (of the children’s group Judy and David). Temple Emanu-El, 120 Old Colony Rd. Thursday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $20, VIP $36. www.torontojewishchorus.org
• The Summer Institute for Creative Adults seeks adults with a passion for singing. Instructors Heather Bambrick, Adi Braun, Micah Barnes, Gillian Stecyk and others will coach you in choral repertoire, jazz, opera, glee, cabaret, vocal technique and performance strategies. For advanced beginners and above. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, July 16 to 20. $350. Register at 416-924-6211, ext. 0.
• The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Festival Orchestra and soloists present three rarely performed 20th-century masterpieces – Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Poulenc’s Gloria and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. The latter oratorio, from the Book of Daniel, relates the story of Babylon as the captivity of the Jews ends and we are restored to freedom. As well, the Chicester Psalms will be sung in Hebrew (with surtitles). Koerner Hall, May 23, 7:30 p.m. $53 to $87; $25 for under-25-year-olds. 416-408-0208.
* * *
David A. Stein Award: The Toronto Jewish Film Festival has named Arnon Goldfinger, director of the documentary film The Flat, as winner of the 2012 David A. Stein Memorial Award. The film documents a mystery that unfolds as the filmmaker’s family clears the apartment of their deceased German grandmother, finding some Nazi propaganda and evidence of an unusual friendship. The Flat also won the Israeli “Oscar” for best documentary.
The Flat makes its Canadian première May 10, 5:30 p.m. at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Centre, Yonge and Sheppard. It is also being screened May 13, 2:45 p.m. at the Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina Ave. The Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs until May 13.
* * *
Arts in Brief
• Dan Mendelsohn Aviv launches his new book, End of the Jews: Radical Breaks, Remakes and What Comes Next (Key Publishing House). With panel discussion featuring Lisa Goldman, Janis Seftel and Isaac Kates Rose. Free. Miles Nadal JCC, Thursday May 10, 7 p.m.
• The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company presents Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, directed by Jim Warren, starring Marion Ross, Linda Kash, Sheila McCarthy, Ari Cohen and David Eisner. St. Lawrence Centre, Jane Mallett Theatre, May 12 to June 10. www.hgjewishtheatre.com
• The Toronto Jewish Film Festival presents film scholar Eric Goldman speaking on “The New Yiddish Cinema: Renaissance or Curiosity,” an examination of new Yiddish films from France, Israel and the United States. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W. at Bathurst. Sunday, May 13, 11 a.m. Free but ticket required. Other free events offered on May 12. www.tjff.com, 416-324-9121.
• Critic Adam Nayman continues his discussion of the films of Stanley Kubrick with a look at 2001: A Space Odyssey. Miles Nadal JCC, Monday, May 14, 7 p.m. $12 drop-in, students $6. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Hana’s Suitcase author Karen Levine speaks at the Forest of Reading Festival of Trees to mark the 10th anniversary edition of Canada’s most-awarded children’s book. Harbourfront Centre, Wednesday, May 16. www.readings.org, 416-973-4000.
• Rabbi Yossi Sapirman, of Beth Torah Congregation, presents his original art and talks about “Judaism and the Arts: Storytelling Through Pictures.” Active Seniors, Miles Nadal JCC, Thursday, May 17, 1:30 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
* * *
At the Galleries
• The Bruce Cassidy Ensemble displays the paintings of Judy Singer. $15. Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst St. Thursday May 10, 8 p.m.
• The Israeli Artists Group of Toronto presents its fourth annual art show. J. E. H./ Thoreau MacDonald House, 121 Centre St., Thornhill. May 17 to 20. Opening night May 17, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Free admission. www.israeliartistsgroup.com