Mexican-Canadian singer Gustavo Herrera helped finish off the 2021/22 season of the Jewish Seniors Alliance Snider Foundation Empowerment Series. The classically trained operatic tenor, who has a powerful and melodic voice, entertained the audience with a mixture of classical and popular songs.
A Summer Afternoon of Music, the final event of this year’s Empowerment Series, was co-sponsored by JSA, the Kehila Society and Congregation Beth Tikvah. It took place in the synagogue’s sanctuary on June 27 and began with a catered BBQ lunch for the approximately 55 seniors who attended the event in-person. The program was also available via Zoom, making the total audience about 70 people. Herrera’s 94-year-old mother and his sister were among those who joined the concert virtually.
Toby Rubin, coordinator of the Kehila Society, welcomed everyone and introduced the guest. Herrera sang many songs, including “Somewhere,” “Could I Have This Dance,” “Granada,” “O Sole Mio,” “La Donna è Mobile,” “My Way” and “Only You.” He encouraged everyone to join in and to clap to some of the songs.
He pointed out that, although “My Way” is generally associated with Frank Sinatra, it was written by Canadian Paul Anka. A member of the audience requested “Hallelujah,” which Herrera sang in Spanish. Another request was “Boléro.” For the finale, Herrera asked everyone to join him in ending with “Hava Nagila.”
Gyda Chud, co-president of JSA, thanked Herrera, saying that the concert had been very uplifting and that his mother must be very proud.
Shanie Levin is program coordinator for Jewish Seniors Alliance and on the editorial board of Senior Linemagazine.