Temple hosts membership appreciation concert featuring ‘The Great American Songbook’

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SPRINGFIELD, NJ — On Sunday, May 5, Temple Sha’arey Shalom, of Springfield, hosted a membership appreciation concert. The program featured pianist/vocalist/composer Gary Negbaur in a keyboard based lecture/performance on the roots of “The Great American Songbook.”

TSS President Bill Moesch said, “TSS held this concert/educational event as one of our special featured programs for our members. Our congregants are interested in all types of musical genres and styles. This program we thought would have wide appeal.”

“The Great American Songbook” is complex and includes jazz, blues, country, folk, Broadway and rock and roll. Negbaur explained in a short interactive lecture how each of these genres evolved. He played some well-known songs that illustrate how the melodies are rooted in the amalgamation of America’s complex racial, ethnic and immigrant story. This ever melding of genres continues to this day. It is the essence of what defines American music.

For example, “Jailhouse Rock,” made famous by Elvis Presley, was originally written by the notable team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, both ethnically Jewish. Elvis transformed the song into what became a pioneering rock and roll standard. Negbaur gave concert attendees his own soulful rock and roll interpretation of the song.

Negbaur sang and played from the keyboard his rendition of George III’s song from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” The song incorporates both hip-hop and Broadway musical traditions.

TSS Cantor Jason Rosenman was in attendance and tapped along with the music. Rosenman said, “I like Gary’s easygoing style. His narrations and musical renditions keep the audience engaged.” TSS member Laura Weening agreed and said, “I think everyone seemed to connect to both the songs and the singer.”

Negbaur finished with his own soulful rendition of “God Bless America,” a song written by Irving Berlin and made famous by Kate Smith. A concert on “The Great American Songbook” could not end in a more appropriate way.

For more information about Negbaur, go to www.GaryNegbaur.com.
Temple Sha’arey Shalom is a reform temple at 871 Mountain Ave. No. 111, Springfield, and can be reached at 973-379-5387.

Photos Courtesy of Jeanne Graulich