Aly Halpert’s upcoming participatory concerts are a chance to be together in healing spirit and a celebration of our collective resilience.
The day after she turned 30, Aly Halpert received the best birthday gift ever. Joey Weisenberg called to tell her that he wanted to co-produce her album through his company, Rising Song Records, which specializes in original Jewish music.
“He called to tell me that he would love to make the project happen,” Halpert says of her mentor and teacher. “It was a dream to work with Joey at every stage of the process. He made it clear that my learning and growth was even more important than the final project. He helped me take my artistry to another level.”
Almost a year after that phone call, Halpert released Loosen, her first full-length studio album, on April 11. On April 30, Halpert, along with good friends Batya Levine, 31, and Arielle Rivera Korman, 27, will embark on a seven-state concert tour. Michigan stops will be at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor on May 2 and at Congregation T’chiyah in Ferndale on May 4 (which will also be livestreamed).
The three queer Jewish leaders and activists will perform original music, including from Halpert’s Loosen and Levine’s Karov debut albums.
“The songs were written to fuel community, movement and liberation,” says Halpert, who grew up in Ann Arbor and has roots at Beth Israel Congregation and Temple Beth Emeth. “These participatory concerts are a chance to be together in healing spirit and a celebration of our collective resilience.”
The tour takes place during the Counting of the Omer, the time period between Passover and receiving the Torah at Shavuot. Because of this, the trio will talk about, and honor, the tradition of refraining from engaging with instrumental music by performing a portion of the concert without accompaniment.
“This is a time of wandering where we are unsure of how we will get where we need to go. That certainly feels resonant with the way the world looks now. During this tour, we are literally and spiritually wandering toward those answers,” says Halpert, who rediscovered Judaism as a young adult while at Oberlin College. “I believe we have a better chance of figuring it out if we can do it together, in joy and grief and song.”
Support to Heal
Halpert and her family experienced unimaginable grief in 2017 when she lost her brother, Garrett, to suicide at age 23. In 2018, her parents, Julie and Scott Halpert, established Garrett’s Space. Their mission is to help prevent suicides and fill critical gaps in supportive care for young adults facing significant mental health challenges. Garrett’s Space currently offers an intensive wellness group that provides support and healing activities. Ultimately, they plan to create a holistically focused residential space in Washtenaw County. One month after Garrett’s death, Halpert wrote the song “Loosen,” which serves as the title track of her new album.
“My songs share a similar goal as Garrett’s Space, which is providing people with support to heal in an oppressive world. The music certainly comes from the same well of grief, seeking the same liberation. Loosen explores the ache of what it is to be alive right now,” Halpert says.
Her album is a collection of original music about healing, grounded in visions of social justice. Of the 10 songs on the album, which was safely recorded during COVID with seven of her talented musician friends, Halpert says that many of her songs have been sung all over the world, in prayer and in protest.
“My song, ‘Ashrei’ is part of the daily prayer liturgy, so it has been sung as part of many everyday services as well as part of a faith gathering at an abortion rally. I wrote ‘Beautiful People’ right after the Pittsburgh Tree of Life shooting to provide comfort to those in shock and mourning and to help us remember that our safety lies in solidarity,” says Halpert who now lives in Philadelphia and is a musical assistant and prayer leader at Kol Tzedek Synagogue.
Playing guitar, piano and mandolin on the album, Halpert wrote “Modah Ani’”and many other songs at Eden Village Camp in Putnam, New York, where she works in the summers, teaching and leading music and songwriting.
“My song ‘She Is On Her Way’ came out of watching us lose way too many Black lives in 2016. I wanted to see my Jewish community mobilize behind the Black Lives Matter movement,”
Halpert adds. “The album is deeply relevant in this time of war and upheaval. We invite everyone to come to our concerts and sing along to our three-part harmonies.”
Concert Dates for Aly Halpert, Batya Levine, And Arielle Rivera Korman
• Monday, May 2, 7 p.m., they will be playing an Outdoor Spring Campfire Concert at Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard St., Ann Arbor. This concert is free to attendees, made possible by Rabbi Josh Whinston’s Discretionary Fund. More info at https://tinyurl.com/2p9auw2d.
• Wednesday, May 4, 7 p.m., in-person and live-streamed at Congregation T’chiyah, 22331 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Ticket prices are $18-$54. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Info at https://tinyurl.com/aj9kzwx7.
To order the album Loosen, go to: https://alyhalpert.bandcamp.com/album/loosen. You can listen to Loosen anywhere you stream your music and purchase a digital copy for $10 online. CDs and merchandise will also be available to purchase at the concerts.