The Valley will be alive with the sound of music on May 22, when Pardes Jewish Day School showcases its students’ abilities in the Pardes Performing Arts Concert. The concert includes a rock band, violinists, dancers and the lower school choir, the Mazaltones.
The Mazaltones debuted in early March with a performance at a Smile On Seniors luncheon held at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, which was the first of the public and private performances instructor Tiffany Weiss has scheduled.
The Mazaltones is part of Weiss’s recently designed performing arts program. She is the general music, choir, dance and strings program director at Pardes.
“My goal for the programs is that it can be (performance) groups for the entire Jewish and secular communities to enjoy,” Weiss says. “A place where kids can find and grow their artistic creativity, hopefully Weiss’s musical and performing path started at age 4 with the Suzuki violin, dance lessons and supportive parents. She won her first violin competition by age 10 and has made the arts her life’s work and mission.
“A big goal for me in life has always been to start music programs somewhere it is needed most,” Weiss says, adding that her vision is to “eventually expand music programs for the Jewish community that can be not only for Pardes Jewish Day School students, but also a Jewish Children’s Choir and a Jewish Children’s Orchestra.”
Weiss herself favors jazz or Motown, but her “favorite songs to teach are definitely Jewish songs.”
“I like being able to discuss the history and tradition behind each song,” she says.
Weiss is accomplishing that.
“I love how Morah Tiffany is cementing the music of our history into the minds of the children,” says Pardes parent Amanda Walker. “The Jewish songs the children sing will live in their souls.”
Weiss began her Pardes teaching career in 2014 and says she “couldn’t wait to get an arts program started at Pardes.” The March 1 performance was the dawn of her vision, as her Mazaltones choir, dancers and violinists took to the stage. Weiss was proud of her students, noting “all three groups got ready in less than five rehearsals.”
Weiss holds a master’s degree of music in violin, is a private instructor and concert violinist.
“Violin is such a difficult instrument, especially in the early stages, that it is often common for children to be discouraged and quit early,” she says. “Not the Pardes students, though.”
She’s excited about her students’ advancement and performance.
“Most of my strings students have only started playing violin a month ago, or at the beginning of the school year,” she says. “They are already reading notes on one of the most difficult instruments to learn in the world, singing in tune and dancing to the beat on time!”
Weiss attributes this accomplishment not only to talent and tenacity, but also to the parents and environment the Pardes community provides.
“It reflects so positively on the children at Pardes and the values of academic and personal success the Pardes families and faculty encourage,” she says. “Parents are what keep their kids going with whatever their passion is.”
She is well aware of the crucial element that having support plays. She credits her fundamental accomplishments to her supportive parents.
“There was a time when I was younger for over a year, my mom drove me down to Phoenix from Prescott for lessons once a week,” Weiss remembers. “Both of my parents never missed a performance or competition! Parental support is so necessary, which I’m thankful both of mine are and continue to be.”
The Pardes community has a lot to say about the performing arts opportunity Weiss is instituting.
“I love that (Weiss) is giving the children an opportunity to explore music in a variety of ways and that she is weaving in information about composers, musical notes, rhythm, beat and harmony,” Pardes parent Kate Schwarz shares.
And Jaqueline Roalofs, another Pardes parent, adds, “I love that Morah Tiffany is exposing my daughter to harmony and the richness of music at such a young age.”
Weiss says a “senior home tour” is in the works for her students.
“That would be another great opportunity to showcase a performance.”
Pardes parent Robyn Lev says she feels “super blessed that our children have the opportunity of being part of a Jewish choir and sing in English and Hebrew alongside their friends and extended family. As they go out into the community and perform they will be sharing their love of Judaism one note at a time.”
Audrey Matalon is a freelance writer. The free performing arts showcase is at 6 p.m. Monday, May 22, at the school. 12753 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.