See Song-Fest 2015 page for information on this year’s Song Fest.
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For Choral singers.
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With your help & input, we will put up more discussions and resources on this web site.  (See Input.)

About Shir Hashirim . org

    We sing every song based on text from this book (an enormous number with surprising variety,   
                             with music from diverse communities, languages, and styles

  Value of the Program:      
          • Enjoy the songs, learn new ones and interpretations, and expand your horizons.  
          • It brings together diverse participants
,   attracted for multiple reasons
                    (the music, cultural variety, theology, singing these at Pesach)
          • Meet others:  Many people have met at these (incl marriages and relationships).  
          • Hundreds of songs
(already by the 1970's; explosion of music generated since by composers,
                   and contemporary movements such as Zamir Choral Foundation & Shalshelet Foundation)


    Origin of the Song-fest Jews have long chanted Shir Hashirim (The Song of Songs) at Pesach,  
arising perhaps out of the analogy between the love relationship in the book and God’s relationship with the Jewish people, which started on Pesach, and perhaps because love arises in the springtime.  
    From this tradition, Jonathan Wolf started holding a Pesach gathering, leyning and singing through the entire text of Shir HaShirim.  He held the first song-fest in 1977, and continued to hold it annually into the 1990s until he left New YorkJonathan Zimet started a similar event in Highland Park, NJ in 1991, and brought this back with him to New York in 2003.  This sing-athon has been held annually since 1977 (in Jonathan Wolf and Jonathan Zimet’s apartments, and now at: the JCC and Congrs Shaare Zedek, KOE, Ansche Chesed, and Ramath Orah on Manhattan's West-Side, also in Illinois, Washington DC, and Massachusetts).
    Each year the gatherings added new musicfrom diverse communities, languages, and styles (including by now: Sacred Harp,  Israeli composers, Renaissance, classical
composers,  rounds, and more).  Jonathan Zimet added some choral settings of Shir Hashirim, sung informally as those pieces arise.  The event concludes with a rousing singing of Hayoshevet Baganim, the closing verses of the book. 
    As more and more music was added over the years, the length of the program has steadily increased.  By now it takes over four hours (and we can no longer do everything even in that time)!   Some stay for the whole event, while others come and go throughout the afternoon.
  **40th Year!**  
(2016), marks the 40th consecutive year  
Many Purposes:
    In addition to sharing so much music, the song fest has also brought together participants of diverse backgrounds and observances.  It has brought marginally-connected Jews into the Jewish orbit.   Many people have met and formed friendships and relationships at these events.
    New music has been written at an even faster pace, as movements like the Zamir Choral and Shalshelet Foundations have encouraged creation of numerous new compositions and songs based on Shir Hashirim
    The book has inspired creative activity in the literary, religious, and cultural realms as well, in part because of how it serves as a prototype for religious relationships and experiences.  Thinkers of many approaches – feminist, Orthodox, Renewal and others – have added new perspectives in recent decades.

Birth of The Festival:
    With the realization of this great variety beyond even the music, a festival took shape, which will allowed exploration of the book’s multiple dimensions in various sessions.
    The new elements of the first Festival were a Friday night dinner followed by a panel of teachers speaking on the Song’s varied interpretations, an end-of-Pesach "Mashiach Meal" on Saturday evening, and a Sunday night Israeli folk dance session devoted to dances based on this book.
    If we receive expressions of further interest and support, we hope to repeat this festival in the future.

Shir  the Song of Songs  Shir Hashirim  exploring its diverse dimensions