KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 12, 2001 -- A series of three programs addressing various aspects of Judaic culture in contemporary America will be presented both at the University of Rhode Island and in Providence, as part of the Universitys Judaic Culture Series. The principal speaker and performer in all the programs is Cantor Riselle Bain, an acclaimed musician, performer, and composer.
Free and open to the public, the series runs Feb. 28 through March 2. It is funded through a grant from the Feinstein Foundation and is co-sponsored by the Rhode Island Memorial Holocaust Museum, the URI Hillel Foundation, The URI Chaplains and the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island.
The first program takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El in Providence. It is a Holocaust presentation structured around excerpts from a play called The Sweater, by David Cooper. The play is based upon the experiences of Dr. Klaus Hoppe, former UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of research for the famous Hacker Clinic of Beverly Hills. Set in the 1960s, the play deals with Hoppes group therapy session for Holocaust survivors. Bain plays the main character Ruth, which is based upon one of Hoppes real patients. Musical interludes composed by Bain will be performed throughout the play and a question and answer period will follow.
The second program, on Thursday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m. in URIs Multicultural Center, is a visiting scholars lecture on the topic of "The Jewish Influence on American Musical Theater." The lecture, given by Bain, will explore the Jewish roots of American popular music, emphasizing the Klezmer musical tradition. Bain will present, comment on, and provide educational anecdotes on some of the most influential songs in todays culture. Among the composers and performers she will discuss are Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hart and Al Jolson. The Multicultural Center is located on the Universitys Kingston Campus.
The third program takes place Friday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the URI Librarys Galanti Lounge. The program will focus on current Jewish liturgical music, emphasizing the music found in the reform tradition. Bain will perform ancient chants, discuss their evolution throughout the centuries, and perform prayers for which she has composed music. She will also discuss the developments in the reform movement of the 19th century, which called for new musical traditions. The URI Hillel Foundation will also offer a Kosher meal at 7:15 p.m. for $8.
Bain has acted in the motion picture industry, including in the role of Miriam in Cecil B. DeMilles The Ten Commandments. Her theatrical experience includes playing the title role of Evita Peron in the First National Company of Evita and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. She has written, directed, and performed in her own original revue, Tops from Flops, which had successful runs in both Philadelphia and Florida. Riselle has recorded music for Columbia and has composed original music for the play The Sweater.
Riselle currently serves as Cantor for Temple Beth-El, a Reform synagogue in Ormond Beach, Florida. She is a graduate of Stetson University and holds a bachelors degree in Music, Magna Cum Laude. She is an associate of the American Conference of Cantors.