About Mak’hela

Mak’hela, whose name means “chorus” in Hebrew, is a Jewish choral group dedicated to performing works from all facets of the Jewish world. Founded in 2003, the 40-voice chorus has performed in many New England venues, and in 2010 participated in the Zimriya international choral festival in Israel. An integral part of Mak’hela’s mandate is to break down the artificial barriers among the Jewish and secular communities, and differences within Jewish communities. The chorus plays an educational role in promoting Jewish music of all types and eras, as well as Jewish values, building sacred bridges to understanding and respect, using the most universal of languages: music. The group is led by Music Director Elaine Broad Ginsberg, and is accompanied on piano by Jamie Goodnow.

About our Musical Director

Lainee headshot

Dr. Elaine Ginsberg holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (Music and Judaic Studies), Ball State University (Composition), and a Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Composition). Dr. Ginsberg has been teaching at Keene State College since 2004; she has also served as the Choral Director at Hampshire College in Massachusetts since 2000. Previously, she taught at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan for eight years, where she conducted the Academy’s Chamber Singers and ran the Theory and Composition program. She spent her senior year in college living on Kibbutz Tzora, as well as studying at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.

Dr. Ginsberg is a published composer of choral music, her most well-known work being the arrangement of the Hebrew song “Oseh Shalom”. She has received numerous honors for her compositions, including awards from the Guild of Synagogue Musicians and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She has also written many commissioned to write many pieces for synagogue and community choirs, including several works performed at the Five College Choral Festival in Northampton Mass.

About our Accompanist

Jamie Goodnow works throughout the Pioneer Valley as a professional accompanist/concert performer. In addition to working with Mak’hela, Jamie is the Music Director at both St. Stanislaus and St. James Churches in South Deerfield. His yearly solo and chamber music concert tour takes him all over New England and into New York. Jamie currently studies under Raphael Atlas, Professor of Music Theory at Smith College. While spending most of his time as a musician, he also shares his time working as a painter and sculptor at the Stillwater Art and Design Studio in Shelburne Falls.

Board of Directors

Joni Beck Brewer, President
Judy Gutlerner, Vice President
Lisa Kessler, Secretary
Gordon Freed, Treasurer
Bruce Brewer, Fundraising
Steve Levine, Sponsorship
Bonnie Mikesh, Member Representative and Coordinator
Miriam Grunfeld
Robyn Newhouse
Ed Radding

Elaine Broad Ginsberg, ex-officio

Members should feel free to contact their member representatives with ideas or concerns about the chorus.

About our Founding Musical Director

Kayla Werlin is a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, who received her musical training at the University of Michigan and the University of Massachusetts. After teaching public school music in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey, Kayla moved to the Pioneer Valley in 1995 and joined the music faculty of the Longmeadow Public Schools, where she is currently the director of vocal music. Kayla has been President of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Choral Directors’ Association and Choral Coordinator for the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Western District. She is a member of ‘Cantabile’, the Pioneer Valley’s professional vocal chamber ensemble, and appears as a mezzo-soprano soloist in area concert halls. Step- mother of six, grandmother of fourteen and great-grandmother of three, Kayla lives, cooks, and gardens in Hadley, Massachusetts with her husband, E. Wayne Abercrombie.