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November 15, 1985 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-15

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52

Friday, November 15, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

The Chairman
Is Also A Lady

As her 80th birthday approaches,
Emma Lazaroff Schaver looks back
on her many accomplishments
in helping other Jews.

BY HEIDI PRESS
Local News Editor

1:3

erhaps the "Chairman of
the Board" nameplate af-
fixed to the door of her
Southfield condo office
should read "Chairman of
the Community," since Emma
Lazaroff Schaver's activities spread
far beyond any one discipline.
And it is her community which
will pay tribute to her Wednesday
night at a dinner and concert at the
Masonic Temple Theater on the oc-
casion of her 80th birthday.
What makes the event special is
that it highlights two particular
areas of interest in her life, music
and Chabad Lubavitch.
It is appropriate, therefore, that
the guest entertainer will be the
world renowned violinist Isaac
Stern, with whom Mrs. Schaver has
had a 21-year friendship.
The two met when Stern created
the American Israel Cultural Foun-
dation. Owing to her longtime inter-
est in music, Mrs. Schaver became a -
founder.
Music was a major part of her
family life as she was growing up,
she recalled. At age 3, her parents
stood her on a chair to perform for
guests. Later, she pursued it as a
dream. "I've loved singing, that's
all," she said.
Philip
Slomovitz,
editor
emeritus of The Jewish News and a
friend of Mrs. Schaver since her ar-
rival in Detroit from Russia, recalls
how he helped- her get a start in
local music circles. When she was
about 12 or 13, he invited her to
sing for a Young Judaea meeting at
the former Cong. Ahavas Achim on
Westminster and Delmar in Detroit.
She studied at the Detroit Con-
servatory of Music and later at the

Juilliard School. Her concert debut
was in 1921 when she sang at an in-
augural performance of the Detroit
Civic Opera Company. She since has
performed with the San Carlo Opera
Company, Cincinnati Opera Com-
pany, Mexico City Opera Company
and as a guest soloist with the De-
troit Symphony Orchestra, Israel
Symphony Orchestra, Kol Zion
L'Gola Symphony Orchestra and the
Haifa Symphony Orchestra.
Jason Tickton, Temple Beth El
music direct& for the past 52 years
and retired professor of music at
Wayne State University where he
taught for 47 years, fondly remem-
bered how Mrs. Schaver promoted
musical programs.
Prof. Tickton recalled how the
Schavers had set up a stage in their
former Outer Drive home in Detroit
where singers and others were in-
vited to entertain at soirees.
He said her musical activities in
Detroit included a recital at the
McGregor Library in Highland Park
and frequent recitals and operatic
performances. Being at the Masonic
Temple on Wednesday will be a
homecoming of sorts for the com-
munal leader, since it was there
many years ago that performed
on stage in an opera.
As a singer, Tickton, assessed
Mrs. Schaver as outstanding. "Her
warmth and personality stood out
from other vocalists."
Besides performing, she also is a
music patron, and according to
Tickton, makes quiet contributions.
"She was very generous and very
modest about it," he recalled. He
cited an instance when she brought
to Temple Beth El an Israeli corn-
poser, Marc Lavry, to appear with

Emma Schaver has life-long ties
to Chabad.

her in concert. When the programs
for the evening were printed, she
asked that her role be played down,
and that her name appear in smaller
type.
Rebecca Frohman, her friend for
65 years and her accompanist,
echoed Tickton's sentiments. Mrs.
Frohman has traveled widely with
Mrs. Schaver, and agrees that de-
spite the recognition she has
achieved in musical and charitable
circles, she does not aim for public-
ity. "She doesn't want to be put on a
pedestal," she said.
Although she no longer performs
— she sang the anthems at Detroit's
Israel Independence Day celebration
in 1984, and she has record albums
to her credit — Mrs. Schaver keeps
an active hand in the music world.
Recently, she made a $300,000 con-
tribution to the WSU music depart-
ment for singing scholarships. Dr.
Peter Schoenbach, chairman of the
music department, was grateful for
the gift. "We're particularly pleased
because Mrs. Schaver has been a
generous giver to Jewish charities.
Because she chose the department of
music, it's flattering."
In Israel on Wednesday and
Thursday, radio stations Reshet
Aleph and Reshet Bet will play her
recordings.
What stands out about her mus-
ical attachments is a trip she made
after World War II to Germany. As
part of a World Jewish Congress cul-
tural delegation, Mrs. Schaver vis-
ited the Holocaust victims living in
the displaced persons camps. She
sang to them, and figured herself to
be the first American to bring the
songs of the ghetto to U.S. audi-

Continued on Page 64

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