Patrons walking into Dunkin’ Donuts in Squirrel Hill on Sunday afternoon might have thought they heard the Beatles performing inside.
With covers of tunes like “Yesterday,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Blackbird” playing for the customers, the Shul of Rock entertained visitors at the donut shop at the corner of Forbes and Shady avenues.
Shul of Rock, sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom, provided an open mic for performers of any kind. Musicians, singers and spoken word entertainers were invited to take the stage. About a dozen different performers displayed their talents on the acoustic guitar, keyboard, violin and oud — a Middle Eastern string instrument.
“The idea of this event was to have people of all ages all coming together and being in a safe environment and having a nice afternoon together,” said Joel Lindsey, a co-host of the event, member of Beth Shalom, and of the band Boulevard of the Allies.
Lindsey co-hosted the event with Beth Shalom Cantor Ben Rosner, who credited Lindsey for the event.
“[Lindsey] wanted an experience in Squirrel Hill that had a little bit of Judaism to it, but also could bring in people of all cultures and ages,” Rosner said. “But also particularly allow for the Jewish music community to thrive in Squirrel Hill.”
Lindsey, who came up with the idea for the Shul of Rock, sold copies of his band’s 2010 album, “Man in the Photograph,” with all of the money going to the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. The audience could also place donations for the Food Pantry in a tzedaka box.
Lindsey created Shul of Rock because he wanted to become more involved in the Jewish community.
“I think music events like the Shul of Rock are a great way for someone like myself and hopefully others to become part of the Jewish community through these events,” he said.
And while the show had a Jewish vibe, anyone wishing to take part was invited.
“While this is an event sponsored by Beth Shalom, we welcome all cultures to be a part of this event; we welcome to not only attend but perform as well,” Lindsey said. “That’s something I’d like to encourage in the future.”
Lindsey hopes to have a website created soon for the Shul of Rock with information about dates and times. More about his band can be found at boulevardoftheallies.com.
(Andrew Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)