You can find Sara Stock Mayo singing at Temple Sinai every weekend. Not so surprising really. After all, she is the music soloist.
But this weekend is different, Mayo, an accomplished singer, will be sharing the podium with her father, an accomplished composer.
David Stock will conduct his daughter and Temple Sinai choir in a specially commissioned piece by the Women of Temple Sinai, “Adonai
The piece will precede the second annual Cabaret night at the temple in which Mayo and the choir will perform show tunes in a program designed to raise money for the work of the WoTS.
For Mayo, working with her father, a professor of music at Duquesne University, is not an everyday occurrence. Only once before has she performed a piece he’s written, and rarely while he’s conducting.
“For me to do a work like this that he has been commissioned to write — I’ve never done a work like this so this is a first in a way,” she said.
“Adonai Mi Sinai”(God from Sinai) is a religiously themed piece, Stock said.
“The text is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy,” he said. “It’s for cantor and a choir and piano. It’s partially in Hebrew and partially in English. It’s the kind of thing that could be used in a service, even though it’s not a regular part of the liturgy,” he added.
Temple Sinai expects to use the piece at other functions in the future, Mayo said. And Stock hopes it will find an audience at other congregations and venues.
As for the rest of the evening, “It’s mostly show tunes,” Mayo said. “Some of the composers are Jewish certainly, like Sondheim, but there’s no specific focus on Jewish composers; it’s just and evening of cabaret music.”
She suggested the program could become an annual fundraiser for WoTS.
Founder and conductor laureate of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Stock is a former composer-in-residence for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. His compositions have been performed in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Australia and Korea. And he has conducted orchestras throughout United States, as well as in Australia, Mexico and Poland.
It’s not the first time that Stock, who is retiring this year from Duquesne and will devote himself to writing music full time, has written for his family, which includes several cantors and singers.
Years ago he set several of Mayo’s poems to music, but they were for a baritone. Mayo is a mezza soprano.
He also writes pieces for the family lifecycle events, such as weddings and baby namings.
The last time he collaborated with his daughter was while she was in
“For her senior song when she graduated from Syracuse University she wrote the words, and I wrote a pop tune,” Stock said.
Asked what kind of reaction he hopes his latest piece will receive, Stock chose not to speculate.
“That’s not my job,” he said.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)