A Sing-along seminar: Songleader Boot Camp

rick recht image
Rick Recht, demonstrating the skills he will teach at Songleader Boot Camp

Rick Recht, Todd Herzog, and Sheldon Low are some of the most popular voices in Jewish music today. In January, they are all coming to the Chicago area at once-- but not only for a concert.

Their main focus will be teaching Jewish songleaders, cantors, and other musicians how to teach songs at a program called Songleader Boot Camp (SLBC). It promises to be both rousing and reflective, both exhaustive and exhausting.

SLBC launched in 2009. This year, other SLBCs will be held regionally, in Boston, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., culminating in a national conference in St. Louis-- Recht's home base-- in February. 

Chicago's SLBC will be held at Temple Beth El in Northbrook. Sessions run from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 20 and 21.

There will be a concert at Beth El, presented by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, at 6:30 on the 21st, featuring Recht, Low, and the SLBC participants. Tickets can be purchased for $5/person through online registration at www.juf.org/SLBCConcert.

SLBC participants must be 13 or older and have some songleading experience. Attendees will include both veteran and new songleaders, cantors, rabbis, Jewish educators, lay leaders, college students and teens, as well as representatives from synagogues, camps, youth groups, and universities. 

"Music is one of the most powerful tools for educating and developing a sense of connection, inspiration, spirituality, and identity," said Rick Recht, executive director of SLBC and the top touring artist in contemporary Jewish music. "Due to the lack of formal leadership training programs, Jewish communities are challenged to find qualified well-trained leaders who can utilize Jewish music to cultivate meaningful and relevant Jewish experiences. Songleader Boot Camp is helping to develop a new generation of amazing Jewish leaders."

Participants will learn tried and true leadership techniques as well as innovative methods for engaging Jewish youth and communities of all ages. SLBC focuses on teaching techniques to be used in educating, entertaining, and inspiring Jewish communities in both formal and informal settings, crossing religious denominations from the classroom, to camping, to youth groups and beyond. 

The cost for participating in SLBC is $295, which includes kosher dinners both evenings. Participants are urged to find sponsors to help defray costs. Applications are first come, first served, and space is limited. For more information or to apply, visit www. songleaderbootcamp.com, email info@songleaderbootcamp.com, or call (314) 991-0909. The registration deadline is Jan 1, and instruments are recommended but not required.

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