Idelsohn Society Hosts 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE HANUKKAH CD Release Party in San Francisco Today

Idelsohn Society Hosts 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE HANUKKAH CD Release Party in San Francisco Today

The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation ( announced today, a San Francisco record release party at Bricks and Mortar today, December 15 in celebration of 'Twas The Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights, a 2xCD and digital release exploring the evolving musical role of both Hanukkah and Christmas music in the 20th Century. The publishing entity Boing Boing is the evening's media sponsor.

Recently featured in the New York Times Arts section, the 2xCD 'Twas The Night Before Hanukkah tells a uniquely American story of the rise of Hanukkah contrasted with the popularity of Christmas. To help tell this tale in a live setting, the Idelsohn Society has curated a one night-only lineup including Sway Machinery Featuring Jeremiah Lockwood, Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars, Black Crowes), Thao, Rebecca Bortman, Ethan Miller (Howlin' Rain, Comets on Fire), Lyn Burton (of the Burton Sisters), Zach Rogue, Ceci Bastida, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and members of Antibalas. The show will feature an ensemble cast performing songs from the CD as well as their holiday themed choices including a song composed and to be performed specifically for this event by Thao.

Just last year, the Idelsohn Society arranged for a month-long event in San Francisco's Mission District with the first-ever Jewish pop-up store Tikva Records in support of Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set. The store was part performance space, part gallery, and served as a mecca for Jewish vinyl collectors in celebration of the independent record label, Tikva Records. For more than three decades beginning in 1947, Tikva Records (aka The Jewish Motown), released an eclectic range of Jewish-American songs including klezmer pop, cantorial singing Catskills medley and Israeli folk tunes.

This year, the Idelsohn Society has compiled a stunning collection of both Hanukkah songs as well as Christmas music sung (and in many cases written) by Jews, furthering its mission to educate, edify and promote Jewish musical history. Each disc in the 2 CD set features 17 tracks, compiled from a wide array of performers, musical styles and genres, from the 1930s to present. Disc One (Happy Hanukkah) highlights both well-known and somewhat lost Hanukkah classics from the past. Disc two (Merry Christmas) features Christmas songs - sung by and in some cases written by Jewish performers - both secular and holy.

The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation is a critically acclaimed all-volunteer non-profit organization. They are a small but dedicated team from the music industry and academia who passionately believe Jewish history is best told by the music we have loved and lost. In order to incite a new conversation about the present, we must begin by listening anew to the past. They do this in a number of ways:

• Re-releasing lost classics like Mazeltov, Mis Amigos, and compilations like Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations and Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973

• Opening Tikva Records, the first 1950s Jewish Pop-Up Record Store in San Francisco for December 2011, which had over 25,000 visitors and featured 30 days of sold-out musical performances, film, and comedy

• Filming the story of every veteran Jewish musician they can find across the country to build a digitally-based archive of the music and the artists who created it in order to preserve their legacy for future generations

• Curating innovative museum exhibits that showcase the stories behind the music, like "Jews on Vinyl," which is currently travelling the nation, and "Black Sabbath," at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

• Creating concert showcases like "Mazeltov Mis Amigos" at Lincoln Center

All of this work is driven by the passion and energies of volunteer supporters and donors across the country who share the belief that music creates conversations otherwise impossible in daily life. Their work has lifted the past into the present, from the pages of the New York Times, to the NPR airwaves, to the stage of Lincoln Center. You can join the Idelsohn Society in their mission by visiting them at and @idelsohnsociety.