This month, Leonard Lehrman and Helene Williams celebrate 20 years together as founders of Court Street Music. Seventeen years ago, they were married at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan by their longtime friend, Cantor Charles Osborne, who was born on Aug. 14, 1949, six days before Lehrman.
Together, they celebrated Lehrman and Osborne’s 40th and 60th birthdays in Roslyn at Temple Sinai and the Bryant Library with concerts featuring their music performed by soloists and the Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus.
The three of them, together with the chorus, will commemorate Osborne and Lehrman’s 70th birthdays at Trinity Episcopal Church in Roslyn, where Lehrman is an artist-in-residence.
The concert on Sunday Aug. 18, at 7 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church in Roslyn, will feature a dozen Lehrman works, including the world premiere of “The Robert Herrick Julia Poems” and his setting of “Where Is the Song of the Artist on Long Island?” by Suffolk County’s first poet laureate, George Wallace, who will be present and seven Osborne works, including, for the first time anywhere, a new English version of his most popular piece: “Samachti B’Omrim Li,” a setting of Psalm 122, a prayer for Jerusalem, that has been sung in hundreds of synagogues all over the world including Jerusalem. The concert will also feature three excerpts from two works begun by Leonard Bernstein’s mentor Marc Blitzstein as completed by Lehrman, the operas Idiots First and Sacco and Vanzetti.
Osborne and Lehrman’s friendship dates back to their singing together in New York’s All State Chorus in 1965 and ’66. In 1978, Osborne sang the title role at the award-winning Manhattan premiere of Idiots First.
Subsequent to these Jewish opera experiences, Osborne decided to become Jewish and a cantor, only to learn years later that his maternal grandmother had been Jewish, so in fact by Jewish law, he was already Jewish. Following study in New York and Israel, he became a cantor at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Mass. and then spiritual leader of the Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms in Lords Valley, PA; and is currently cantor at Temple Sinai in Toronto. His over 200 choral pieces have been heard in major halls all over the world. Lehrman’s 239 works have been heard on six continents and more than 600,000 times on YouTube.
On Aug. 18, Osborne will be heard for the first time as the lead role in an Idiots First excerpt and in duet with Williams singing a new version of his setting from the Book of Ruth and 12 Jewish Haiku by Leonard, as well as leading several of his own compositions. The concert is co-sponsored by The Prof. Edgar H. Lehrman Memorial Foundation for Ethics, Religion, Science and the Arts, Inc. and The Maldeb Foundation. Admission is free. Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 1579 Northern Blvd., Roslyn.
For more information, call 516-825-2939.
—Submitted by Trinity Episcopal Church