Koleynu (Our Voice)

Koleynu (Our Voice) is the all-volunteer choir of Congregation Beth Shalom.  Founded in 1985, it is directed by Harvey Blau. Besides singing at High Holyday and occasional Shabbat services, and at Beth Shalom social events, we have performed in the DeKalb community, at the Chicago Jewish Folk Festival, and at synagogues and other venues in Rockford, Kankakee, McHenry County, and Davenport, Iowa. We sing liturgical and secular Jewish music, both traditional and modern. We welcome all congregation members to join us. No musical expertise is required; we learn parts at an easy pace, and have fun, mostly.

Harvey Blau, Koleynu Director

Koleynu has released two CDs: “Koleynu (Our Voice)” in 2003, and “Who Knows Thirteen?” in 2008. The second CD includes four songs by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Shulamit Ran, who wrote them for Koleynu to premiere at the Bar Mitzvahs of her two sons, in Congregation Beth Shalom. All of the songs on both CDs can be sampled below, and can be purchased through this website (either individually or as a set).

For more information, please contact Koleynu Director Harvey Blau.

Koleynu (Our Voice) CD Song List   (purchase this CD)

  1. Machar (Tomorrow)
  2. Eli, Eli (Or Lord, My God)
  3. Tumbalalaika
  4. Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses)
  5. Ma Tovu (How Goodly)
  6. Oseh Shalom
  7. The Hammer Song
  8. Ahfn Pripechik (On the Little Hearth)
  9. Lo Yisa Goy
  10. Song of Ruth
  11. Yism’chu Hashamayim (Let the Heavens Be Glad)
  12. Yad B’yad (Hand in Hand)
  13. Yirushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold)
  14. Yesh Li Chag (I Have a Festival)

WHO KNOWS 13? So begins the last verse of “Who Knows One?”, recited or sung at the Passover Seder. Judaism frowns on superstition (in principle); we do not stop at 12. The 13 in the poem refers to the 13 Attributes of God, stated by Maimonides in the 1100s. 13 is also the age of Jewish religious adulthood, when the Bar or Bat Mitzvah is celebrated.

The first four songs on this album were written by Shulamit Ran, the renowned composer and a former member of Congregation Beth Shalom, two for each of the Bar Mitzvahs of her sons, David and Yaron Lotan, in 2004 and 2006. The songs are known collectively as “Shirim L’Yom Tov.” The fifth song is by Gary Schwartz, a former member of Koleynu. It was commissioned by Linda Mogren, also a Koleynu member, for her daughter Claire’s 2005 Bat Mitzvah. Koleynu gave the premiere performances of all five songs at the Shabbat services where these Bar and Bat Mitzvahs took place. The song “Yigdal”, listing the 13 Attributes, is also on this CD, on track 12.

Who Knows Thirteen CD Song List   (purchase this CD)

  1. Shiru L’Adonai
  2. Yom Hashishi
  3. Ma Tovu
  4. Hatzne-a Lechet
  5. Hayi Asher Tih’yi
  6. V’haer Eineinu
  7. Tasdik Katamar
  8. V’shahmru
  9. Shalom Rav
  10. B’sefer Chayim
  11. Ki Anu Amecha
  12. Yigdal
  13. Ameyn Sheym Nora