CD Cantor Susan Wehle OB"M Songs of Healing & Hope
The Temple Beth Am family expresses its sympathy to the family members of all those who lost their lives in the crash of Continental Airlines flight 3407. Susan Wehle, Cantor at Temple Beth Am, was on board and one of the 50 who lost their lives.
Five years ago, Cantor Susan Wehle found herself at the bedside of a seriously ill friend, praying and chanting for healing, yet aware that domestic and professional obligations would soon tear her away. That night she recorded a tape of prayers and songs at her kitchen table, which she gave her friend in the hospital. Over the years, she recorded other tapes until chaplains at local hospitals started asking her to produce a commercially available CD that they could use in their practices.
She turned to a member in her congregation, Dr. Gunilla Theander Kester, a talented classical guitarist and asked her to join the project.
Susan Wehle, who served as Cantor to the Temple Beth Am community in Williamsville, NY, says she was inspired by her hospital visits and wanted a CD with the feeling that she was sitting right next to an ill or dying person singing and praying just for him or her. The intimate and soothing sound of voice and guitar blending in what Susan's voice teacher of many years, Marilyn Barber, describes as "a duet" fulfills her vision. A teacher of the guitar at The Amherst School of Music, Dr. Kester also serves as Vice President of the Buffalo Guitar Society. She says that she was happy to be able to work with Susan. "Many people have never heard classical guitar and yet it has such a beautiful tone and resonance. The sweet mixture of voice and guitar is hard to resist."
Cantor Susan Wehle had been serving Temple Beth Am of Williamsville, NY since November of 2002. Prior to that she was the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Sinai (Reconstructionist) of Amherst, NY for 9½ years.
Susan Wehle served as Cantor to the Temple Beth Am community of Buffalo, New York. She was ordained by Aleph: the Movement for Jewish Renewal, and is a member of Aleph as well as the Union for Reform Judaism.
Susan studied voice with Marilyn Barber of Williamsville, New York, and is very grateful to her for her insightful teaching and unwavering support through all the soap opera episodes of Susan's life. She is also grateful to Gunilla Kester for her talent, sensitivity and patience. Susan would like to thank her siblings, her sons and her friends, who have supported her and loved her, the Temple Beth Am community, who has trusted her to lead it, and the Aleph community, who has illuminated the path to God's presence in her life. This CD is dedicated to Susan's parents, Hana and Kurt Wehle, of blessed memory.
In 2004, Susan received Cantorial Smicha from Aleph – the Movement for Jewish Renewal. Additionally she has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and in Judaic Studies, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting. She has performed with theatre companies in Buffalo, Chicago and New York City.
Susan has taught musical and spiritual workshops, has conducted youth and adult choirs, and has performed in concerts in the United States, Canada and Israel.
She is the mother of two sons, one who is currently producing a photographic essay in Israel, and the other who is attending the University of Vermont – Burlington.
A guitarist and writer, Gunilla Theander Kester teaches classical guitar at the Amherst School of Music. She wishes to thank Rabbi Irwin Tanenbaum, Cantor Susan Wehle, guitarist MirAli, luthiers Holtier and Holler, photographer Diane Bianchi, piano pedagogue Steven Bianchi, organist Paul Staley, and always her family, Daniel, Anya, and Shiri. Dr. Kester serves as Vice-President of the Buffalo Guitar Society and The Rantucci International Guitar Festival and Competition. In loving memory of Katrin Ahlstrom Koch 1961-2005. Dr. Kester can be reached at: music (at) theKesters.net.
1. B'ruchot HaBa-ot
2. B'shem HaShem
3. Gesher Tzar M'od
4. L’chi Lach
5. Kol Han'shama
6. Adon Olam
9. The Healing Circle
10. Pitchu Li
11. Achat Sha-alt
12. The Angel Song
13. Mi Shebeirach
14. Modeh Ani
15. Petach Libi/Guard My Tongue
16. Oseh Shalom
17. Circle Chant
Vocals: Cantor Susan Wehle
Guitar: Dr. Gunilla Theander Kester
Classical Guitar Arrangements: MirAli and Gunilla Theander Kester
Recording Engineer & Angel: Robert J. Besant
Song Sequencing: Marilyn Barber