Monday, May 23, 2005
The music changed and I recognized another voice above the crowd, loud and unseen, deep and booming, a serious male Sound of Religion. Unlike other cantors, this one neither wore a big hat nor stood up front with arms raised in melodramatic gestures. If you craned your neck you could find him way off to the left, the Wizard as voice of God but hidden behind a keyboard instead of a curtain. He rarely sang alone, instead coaxing and sheparding the congregation to the right melodies with a warm, direct style of delivery that reminded me of early music, except when it ceded to dramatic bursts of vibrato. It was beautiful and unnervingly intimate, even over a microphone to a thousand people. It was so different from anything I had ever heard that I really didn't know how to listen, didn't want to, was almost afraid to.