The Merrick Brotherhood Council rang in the holiday season on Nov. 24 at Calhoun High School with its annual “Thanksgiving Festival of Music,” which combined the talents of Merrick children, teenagers and ensembles from local houses of worship.
The St. John’s Lutheran Church Chancel Choir, Temple Beth Am Choir, Sacred Heart Church Choir, Merrick Chorale, Merrick Theatre and Center for the Arts’ “Young People’s Theatre” program, musical ensembles from Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham high schools, and other groups performed popular and religious songs from “America the Beautiful” to the “Les Misérables” classic “I Dreamed a Dream” and the chorale “God is Our Refuge.”
Cantor Dan Rosenfeld, who directed the Temple Beth Am Choir, praised the ability of music to soothe the soul. “Music can help us forget the adversity we face … The Brotherhood Council concert serves as a poignant reminder of that,” Rosenfeld wrote. “So, if I can offer any prayer for the day, I’d pray that we can remember these moments of song in our times of trial, and may they continue to lift our spirits every day as they have today.”
Rita Gilley, the Brotherhood Council’s co-musical coordinator with her husband, Richard Gilley Sr., called the Calhoun Concert Choir’s reading of “Elijah Rock” one of the night’s highlights.