Caffeinated Cantors

BY BOB SACHS, Special to Community

Coffee is a taste I have yet to cultivate. But you don’t have to like coffee to have loved the Caffeinated Cantors Concert on Saturday, January 23 at Adath Jeshurun. After a meaningful Havdalah service at seven o’clock, things turned decidedly upbeat, caffeinated and, above all, humorous. The concert featured Cantor Frank Lanzkron-Tamarazo and his wife, Lisa, from Ferndale, MI, a Detroit suburb. Cantor Sharon Hordes from Keneseth Israel, Cantor David Lipp and the Jewish Community Choir rounded out the singers. Hank Evans provided the piano accompaniment.

Cantor and Mrs. Lanzkron-Tamarazo and their two daughters, Nicoletta and Doris, joined Cantor Hordes for a spirited Gilbert & Sullivan medley of songs from the Pirates of Penzance. They focused, in the main, on Frederic, an apprentice pirate, who was in love with Mabel, daughter of the famous Modern Major General. Fred had agreed that his apprenticeship would last until his 21st birthday, but he was born on leap day, February 29. So his 21st birthday is far in the future (originally, 1940, now 2080!). Mabel agrees to wait for him. It was great deadpan humor and very well done.

Cantor Lanzkron-Tamarazo and his wife then did duets on the theme of coffee: “The Coffee Song” (There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.) and “You’re the Cream in My Coffee.” Cantor Lanzkron-Tamarazo is a coffee purist and a successful entrepreneur with a lively café in a Detroit suburb. He would never put cream in his coffee and he admitted it was tough to sing that song to his wife.

They decided, appropriately, to forego singing Java Jive made famous years ago by the Ink Spots.

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the java and me, yeah
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, bong.

Two of my favorite songs of the evening were “Taylor the Latte Boy,” performed with perfection by Cantor Hordes, and “I’m Five” sung equally well by Cantor Lipp. Both songs were sweet and funny and captured the tone of the evening.

Cantors Lipp and Lanzkron-Tamarazo turned to more traditional chazzanut with songs like “Shomer Yisrael” and “Sim Shalom,” before moving on to a song very popular in Israel (“Yoshvim b’Veit Kafe” – Sitting in the Coffee House) by a group known as Teapacks. Cantor Lipp explained that originally the band was named after the correction fluid Tipp-Ex, but the name was then changed so as not to infringe on the well-known brand, while keeping the pronunciation in Hebrew the same.

There was a good crowd, thinned a bit perhaps by the snow. Or the thought of snow. It was the perfect kind of concert to brighten up those of us who had been housebound for a while. It seemed to end all too soon.

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