Sacred music seeks Kickstarter success


The project of Evanston resident Billy Kaplan to record original music has received more than half of the backing it needs on Kickstarter to be funded. 

“I so appreciate how far we’ve gotten on Kickstarter,” Kaplan said. “Of course, Kickstarter requires that 100 percent of the goal is reached before the project gets any funding.  I’m thinking a lot about the May 31 deadline.”

The project is a recording of new sacred music, called Shabbat Sweet. It is a collection of lively, soulful melodies and music for the Friday night Sabbath Service that is completely original, yet seems familiar to many.

Kaplan has shared the service for the last two years at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation.  “I think there are many reasons why we feel an attachment to Shabbat Sweet,” JRC Rabbi Brant Rosen said. “Part of it is just that the melodies are beautiful. They speak to our hearts quickly and we can sing along. And there’s a deep spiritual aspect to it as well.”

Kaplan will play Shabbat Sweet live on May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation.

Lori Lippitz, the founder of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, suggested Shabbat Sweet connects people emotionally “to the prayers they’re trying to pray from their hearts.” Members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band have played the service with Kaplan at JRC, and they will be playing on the recording.

A trio of teen singers called the “Sweet Sisters” has provided back-up harmonies. The singers include Kaplan’s daughter, Hannah, Evanston resident Emma Chanen, and Skokie resident Rena Newman, all students at Evanston Township High School.

Shabbat Sweet will be produced at Woodside Avenue Music Productions, the Evanston-based recording studio of Emmy-award winning Steve Rashid. 

To learn more about the project, visit Kickerstarter.com and search for Shabbat Sweet.

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