Kol Rinah, the Jewish Chorale of Westchester, was founded in April of 2001 by two singers who wanted to bring Jewish music to a community wider and more diverse than is typically reached by synagogue choirs. We are approximately 30 singers who enjoy performing Jewish music and sharing our cultural expression with others. Although we are often hired to sing at private events like religious school graduations, women’s group lunches, and senior programs, our favorite performances are the large concerts that draw audiences of 50 – 150 people from throughout the county, many of whom have never heard the diversity of Jewish music spanning many hundreds of years from all over the world. We find that audience members of every faith tradition are able to share the uplifting spirituality and entertainment our concerts provide.
Benjamin Gruder is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Kol Rinah, the Jewish Chorale of Westchester. He also directs both Nashir! The Rottenberg Chorale and the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ) choir in New York City. A trumpet player since the age of seven and bassist after that, he has performed in symphonic, jazz, ethnic, and punk rock ensembles. Ben studied conducting at the University of Memphis and song writing with Jeremy Wall, founding member of Spyrogyra and a Grammy nominee. In addition to arranging and composing choral and instrumental pieces, he created and produced Jonah! A Rock Musical which has been performed in New York and the surrounding metropolitan area.
Laura Ravotti, has been performing professionally since 1986, starting in Nashville, TN, where she was rehearsal accompanist for the Nashville Ballet, staff accompanist at Vanderbilt University (Blair School of Music), and a substitute french horn player with the Nashville Symphony. She then went on to perform in Branson, MO where she backed up such entertainers as Bob Hope, Wayne Newton, Andy Williams, Shari Lewis & Lambchop. In 2000, Laura moved to New York City where she played on Broadway, Off-Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall, and performed with the NJ Pops and Greenwich Symphony. She has been the Music Director at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Croton-on-Hudson, NY since 2005. Ms. Ravotti has a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University,PA , and an MM from Bowling Green State University, OH.