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To Make A Difference: Say It with a Song

Riki Goldstein

Dina Storch, Lakewood, NJ // Nominated by Mrs. Weinstein

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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I

can’t forget our chant during those summers at Camp Bnos: “Di-na Kal-us-zyn-er, Di-na Kal-us-zyn-er.” We were so proud of our own musical director Dina, the composer of the world famous “Someday.” Dina was a hero, giving me — and thousands of girls over the years — the opportunity to learn the joy of song. Singing in her choir, learning harmonies and intricate medleys strung together by theme, was a journey into “singing heaven.”

The themes Dina chose for Cantata were so powerful that they remained with us for decades. There were themes like Mashiach, beautiful songs that touched us at the core. Since then, Dina has composed many more songs — “Daddy Dear,” “Bird of Hope,” “One Day When Mashiach Will Come,” and “Yerushalayim, I Dream of You.”

Dina was totally low-key. Hundreds of campers admired her, but she was always modest and real. Her influence gave me the confidence to run my own girls’ choir here in South Africa. I have personally seen girls come out of their shell when given the opportunity to sing in a choir. May Hashem give Dina the koach to continue reaching young girls and women through the beauty of song.

 

If I sing a song that I wrote last week and a song I wrote 40 years ago, you can’t really tell the difference. I have modernized the presentation and arrangements, but my musical style remains consistent.” Mrs. Dina Storch, nee Kaluszyner, is an unchanging musical voice in the ever-evolving Jewish music scene. Describing her style of composition as “visual music,” she explains, “My songs draw an image in the mind. The singer and listener are viewing concepts that are internal truths, yet intangible.”

Mrs. Storch comes from a musical family: her mother, Rebbetzin Rivka Kaluszyner, is a sister of the renowned chassidic composer and musician Reb Yom Tov Ehrlich.

“My father was a real baal mussar, a Novardoker,” she says. “He was more concerned with my developing good middos, and he was certain that if I became a musician I would go off the derech. But my mother understood my musical side, and she sent me to the Bais Yaakov Sunday program to learn music.

“At family gatherings, my uncle would sing a grammen or sometimes divrei Torah in song. My father would sit learning Orchos Tzaddikim, but occasionally, if the grammen was really funny, he actually did burst out laughing. My legacy from my father is that everything should have a purpose and a meaning — even if I’m singing with third graders, I always get them in touch with the meaning of the song. But the neginah and simchah come from my mother’s side.”

Dina began her songwriting career in 1973, as a high school freshie in Bais Yaakov of Boro Park, writing songs for school bands and color war themes. As a young adult and musical director of Camp Bnos, she directed the annual cantata choir, which became the gold standard in camp productions. “The age of Jewish novels was just beginning, and schools and camps were moving away from secular material,” she explains. Dina wrote the musical score for many books-turned-plays, such as Dovid Meyer, The Bamboo Cradle, Shefford, and They Came to America. She also authored some successful play scripts of her own, Heartstrings and All of a Kind Family. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 728)

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