By Judith-Kate Friedman
The elder residents of San Francisco's Jewish Home have just released their debut CD of original songs & stories "Island on a Hill" songs we composed together 1997-2002, as part of my California Arts Council artist-in-residency @ the Home.
"Secrets of Trees" was written to celebrate Tu B'Shvat... several hours of reminiscences about trees in our lives led to the song, which is like a kid's song (intentionally). Others of the elders' compositions are more reflective and/or more comic; In 2003 we plan to expand the songwriting project with more text based discussions in collaboration w/ the Home's Rabbi Shelley Marder. Here are the lyrics to "Secrets of Trees." Info on the project & weblinks to music & video follow.
Chag Sameach, Happy Chanukah. I look forward to hearing from you!
Secrets of TreesHave you ever heard sap dropping from a tree? Drip! Drop! Ah! It's a maple tree Catch it in a bucket, drip, drop, it's slow Drip! Lick! Quick! Taste it in the snow Delicious! A m'chayah! A maychl It's a treat! Have you ever seen a big strong tree blooming in the Spring? Pink! Pink! Ah! It's a chesnut tree Smell the sweet aroma roasting chesnuts on the street Hot! Pop! Crack! It's really a treat! chorus Have you ever tasted sweet, red fruit straight from the tree? Ping! Pang! Bing! It's a cherry tree Out in the fresh air, picking fruit all day Ripe! Sour! Sweet! Don't swallow the pit That's it! chorus Delicious! A m'chayah! It can't be beat
a m'chayah = a great pleasure a maychl = a tasty morsel
(c) 2000 SIngers & Songwriters of the Jewish Home in San Francisco and Judith-Kate Friedman
From their cd "Island on a Hill" JHS-18. Available thru www.jewishmusic.com
CD and VIDEO background
Recorded in the synagogue of the Jewish Home's 430-resident geriatric care campus in San Francisco, "Island on a Hill" features the Home's elder Singers & Songwriters (chorus, narration), project producer Judith-Kate Friedman (vocals, guitar), Daniel Hoffman (violin), Beth Custer (clarinet), Randy Craig (piano), Jeanette Lewicki (accordian), Piper Heisig (bass), Patrick Landeza (slack key guitar) and members of the San Francisco Klezmer Experience. The voices and stories of more than 200 elders are represented on 18 tracks and in the full-color 10 page booklet that features their original artwork.
"A 'Specially Wonderful Affair' is a 30 minute documentary featuring residents of the Jewish Home San Francisco, average age 87, and California Arts Council Artist-In-Residence Judith-Kate Friedman, performing original songs from their debut CD "Island on a Hill." Friedman started the songwriting program at the Home in 1997, enabling residents to sing their stories and to create a legacy of songs about their lives. Midway into the recording project, the tragic events of September 11 occurred. The elders decided to proceed. The film captures the effects of the tragedy on the project participants and the healing, life affirming spirit that comes from blending art with community.
"A 'Specially Wonderful Affair' is an uplifting, bittersweet meditation on the realities of aging, the power of music and the joy of staying young at heart. Performances by Singers & Songwriters of the Jewish Home (vocals), Judith-Kate Friedman (vocals, guitar), Daniel Hoffman (violin), Beth Custer (clarinet), and Randy Craig (piano).