Pops concert introduces Temple Israel's newest cantorial soloist
and his future wife — to the community.
A New Direction
Life has been a whirlwind for the Toronto-born Michaels
ever since he first met with Rabbi Loss last year.
At the time, he was seeking a rabbi to officiate at his
wedding to Garza, a Troy native. A new career was not
even on his radar screen.
"We were taken with Rabbi Loss' warmth, sincerity and
sense of humor," Michaels says. "Talking to him, we
found out they were looking for a male cantor. He asked
if I'd be interested in auditioning.
"We ended up coming for Kol Nidre services, and we
were really blown away. There was an amazing intimacy
and warmth, despite the number of people at the service."
Michaels, who earned degrees in opera performance
from Juilliard and Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music,
comes from a deeply involved Jewish family. Two cousins
from his father's generation had been cantors — one in St.
Louis and another in Toronto — and friends frequently
told him he should consider going to cantorial school.
eil Michaels and Stephanie Garza, who met at
New York's Juilliard School of Music, will be
married Aug. 24 by Temple Israel Rabbi Harold
But that won't be their first joint appearance at the West
Bloomfield Reform congregation. On May 8, they'll join
Temple Israel Cantor Lori Corrsin in performing a concert
of Broadway favorites, scheduled for two performances in
the congregation's main sanctuary.
Temple Israel members already know Michaels — the
Toronto native came on board as cantorial soloist in
December. He and Garza — who most recently starred as
Aldonza in the Ann Arbor Performance Network's produc-
tion of Man of La Mancha — have also worked together in
the highly acclaimed national tour of The Music of Andrew
"Neil is a delightful person and an excellent singer," says
Cantor Corrsin, who joined the Temple Israel staff in
1999. "This is going to be a really enjoyable concert."
LOVE AND HARMONY
on page 46
Clockwise from top left:
Neil Michaels, Stephanie Garza
and Cantor Lori Corrsin