Divas on the Danube…

Three Yiddish Divas Dazzle Vienna

The Whirlwind Tour!

Three Yiddish Divas in Vienna

We arrived on Thursday, rehearsed early Friday, then performed on Saturday night to a sold-out crowd at Vienna’s magnificent Konzerthaus, Berio-Saal.  It was all part of the Juddischer Kulturherbst 2010.

Lovingly subtitled: Humor – Weisheiten (Wisdom) – Musik. “Oj, s’is gut!” indeed, it was very, very good.   The festival presenters wined us and dined us… and the entire experience was sumptuous and grand!

600 Year old buildings and me...

If you’ve never been to Vienna, it is certainly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.  Walking through the 1st district, every step is a complication of medieval architecture, Imperial opulence and contemporary 21st Century commercialism.  Mind boggling ~ thought-provoking ~ really expensive!  Whoa!  Vienna’s history is also a complex realm, especially in dealing with the causes and aftermath of the occupation.  As artists performing in a Yiddish festival, it was not lost on any of us that this is an ongoing dilemma.

Vienna's Konzerthaus

But Vienna’s revitalized Jewish community is alive, diverse and thriving.  We attended Shabbos services at the Stadtempel on Judenstrasse, the largest congregation in Vienna – a city known for it’s a capella choral mastery.  I didn’t know what to expect, but as we walked through the doors, the 19th Century hall echoed with the voices of an eight-man choir chanting the service with moving emotion.   My great grandparents were born into this Austrian musical tradition, and I can’t help but think my own family’s love of a capella Barbershop singing was inspired by this legacy.  It’s a thought, right?

Auf vider zehen, Wien… until we meet again!

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…the Bronx & Staten Island, too…

Another Sunday ~ Another Anthem!

The Staten Island Half Marathon!

The Lady in the Harbor from the SI Ferry

And what a GORGEOUS day for it!!

Indian Summer in New York is heavenly, which made waking up at 5AM to get to the Staten Island Ferry and the starting line by 8:30am well worth the effort.  So many runners crowding onto the Ferry, I thought the commuters would go a little insane… but the image of Lady Liberty and the great NYC skyline floating by is enough to calm even the antsiest of passengers.  I never understood the power of our national anthem until I started singing it before crowds of anxious athletes;  those words “by the dawn’s early light” as the sun rises over New York Harbor?  I get goose bumps just thinking of it!

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Try to remember…

Shana Tova!  Happy New Year!!

September brought many holidays…

…and the promise of a wonderful new year, 5771

For the past decade, I have had the privilege to lead Rosh Hashone and Yom Kippur observances at the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring.  As always, the services brought people from many different places together, including my own family who was visiting from Beit Zeit, Israel.  Workmen’s Circle President, Robert Kaplan spoke about getting involved in our progressive Jewish community, and Elliot Weinstein, a 16 year old graduate of the WC/AR Midtown Shule shared his unique and insightful perspectives on growing up influenced by an ancient tradition in the 21st Century.   About 95 people attended each service, and together we shared the laughter and tears of the past year – and our prayers for a prosperous and peaceful new year.

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O Say, can you see…?

Bronx National Anthem

Singing the Anthem at the Bronx Half-Marathon

Oh, what a beautiful morning…!!

I woke up at the crack of dawn today (4am… gevalt!) and scooted myself up to The Bronx to sing the US National Anthem for the NY Road Runners Bronx Half Marathon!   Really…!  With a 7AM start, I was chirping and warming up the whole trip!

But it was definitely worth losing a lil’ bit of sleep.  What a privilege to sing for literally thousands of runners about to embark on their 13 mile journey around the borough of my forbears… my ancestral home, da Bronix!  So, pitch pipe in hand, I did my best to inspire.  I even met a couple of Bronx City Council Politicos…  Apparently, this event is touted as the only NYRR event on the Mainland.  Go figure!!

Click here to see a video of my Anthem performance, courtesy of Salmini Films.  (1000 thanks,  Ambrose!)  And if you can’t get enough, here’s a little home video as well… Special thanks to Corey Witmer of NYRR for inviting me to sing, and to Ed Kalegi for recommending me!

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave…

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Local Girl makes good…

Gimme an "S"!!! (photo by Jesse Ritz)

I have arrived!!

I’ve hit the Big Time!!

Yes, after years of obscurity, I’ve finally reached hometown hero status!  Idina Menzel, Natalie Portman and… ME!!

Ursula Moore, a journalist from the Syosset Patch discovered me right here on www.JoanneBorts.com!!  Who knew?  I’m getting farklemt…

Check out this article:

Borts Has More Than a Song in Her Heart

I’m totally tickled!

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Fare thee well, Fiddler…

Arrivederci Anatevka!

My dear Fellow Fiddler Voyagers…

How do I sum up what has taken 18 months, 40 different cities and 463 performances to experience? We’ve been explorers together, shared hundreds of Sabbaths, and had so many surprising and excellent adventures…

I can’t thank you enough…  I never thought I’d tour again, but it was worth it to have had the chance to work with each of you.  You came into my life at a fascinating time, and we all dove into this journey head-first ~ And when we meet again in NY or Vegas or wherever our paths lead us, we’ll know that we all shared something unique and remarkable.

Now that our wild ride has faced its final curtain, I hope that we will have the opportunity to tell more stories together… perhaps we’ll meet in Glocca Morra?  Or Ancient Greece… or Oz…?  No matter where and when, I’m grateful for this time, and I will miss each and every one of you ~ and this life ~and our little village of Anatevka.

Mazel Tov!  Good luck in all your future endeavors and may we meet only on Happy Occasions!!


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“It’s a Major Award!!”

With the "Leg Lamp" in Cleveland!

Can you name that movie?  It was filmed here in Cleveland, Ohio!!

Wow… Fiddler on the Roof is coming in for a landing — One more week here in Cleveland at the Palace Theatre,  then we’re all on to greener pastures… We’ve covered the country back and forth several times, and now we’re here in the mid-west for our last hurrah!!  Huzzah!!!

Our Nachum, the Begger – Rick Passagno – asked a favor of the company.  He’s teaching a Theatre Class for college students, and he asked us to contribute our 2 cents about our experiences on tour.  This produced a little something I’m excited to share.

Click here to read Life-Lessons from the Road!  What started out as a quick reply email turned into a valuable exercise for me… and I hope others might enjoy it as well…

Just a little food for thought!  Buon Appetito!!

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