In 2002, Lynn Cohen and Beverly Fettman approached Dr. Jonathan Dzik and asked him to form a choir at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and to become the group's director. Jonathan agreed, provided that regular attendance at weekly rehearsals would lead to an annual performance. In that first year, The HIR Community Choir consisted of eighteen people united by a common interest in Jewish choral music.
Today the choir has many more members - divided among the soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections - and we participate in at least six performances each year. We meet weekly on Wednesday nights from 7:30-9:30 PM for a fall and spring season. Each season has approximately eleven rehearsals. After a brief vocal warm-up, we begin working on the repertoire for the current season, which usually includes twelve pieces, both secular and liturgical. Over time we have developed an extensive repertoire, so we can refine selections from past seasons while learning new material. The repertoire includes works in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Italian.
The Fall/Winter season ends with several Chanukah concerts. The Winter/Spring season concerts feature works for Israel's Independence Day and Holocaust Memorial Day. In 2007 the choir was honored with the Riverdale Jewish Community Council's Community Service Award. We have performed at The Riverdale Y, the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and various local senior centers. In 2006 we performed at Shea Stadium for Jewish Heritage Day and in May 2008 we performed at City Hall in New York City.