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Film viewing, panel discussion of ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies’ Set Jan. 27 in conjunction with ISU Oboler Library Exhibit

Posted January 17, 2012

Temple Emanuel, the Pocatello Jewish Community Center, will hold a viewing of the lively documentary "Rodgers and Hammmerstein: The Sound of Movies" on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion and refreshments. All members of the community are invited. This is one of the featured events celebrating the Idaho State University Oboler Library's hosting of the touring exhibit "A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters 1910-1965," which runs through Feb. 24.

"The Sound of Movies" is a comprehensive and entertaining 97-minute documentary filmed in 1996 surveying the film career of the beloved songwriting team. The movies came alive with the sound of music when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II teamed up to pen a spectacular string of musical hits, including "Oklahoma!," "The King and I," "South Pacific" and, of course, "The Sound of Music." In this film, host Shirley Jones and leading ladies Julie Andrews, Rita Moreno, Nancy Kwan and Charmian Carr  lead the behind-the-scenes tour of their motion picture masterpieces, with film footage, and never-before-seen humorous outtakes, screen tests and home movie clips.

After the showing of "The Sound of Movies," there will be an interactive discussion featuring a panel of noted speakers, some who are of Jewish heritage and some who are not, a number of whom are also affiliated with ISU. The panelists will explore the film and the library exhibit from a variety of perspectives. The panel will look at questions such as: What is "Jewish" about the secular music authored by these Jewish-American songwriters, and what has their work contributed to the America we know today? Audience members will also be encouraged to participate.

Debra Shein, community and religious leader of Temple Emanuel and lecturer in English at ISU, will facilitate the discussion. The panel will include Brian Attebery, Carl Levenson, Robert Talbot, James Wolper, and Victor Raboy.

Shein, whose expertise is in American Literature and American Studies, has published on the fascinating topic of the construction of Jewish-American identity. Atteberry, an ISU English professor and also a member of the ISU symphony, has taught on the subject of popular song as a means of entry into mainstream culture for various ethnic groups. Levenson, former religious leader of Temple Emanuel, is also a professor of philosophy at ISU, and has taught a wide array of classes touching on the philosophy of religion.

Talbot, an investment consultant by profession, is  an expert on the evolution of Klezmer music and its relation to other strands of Jewish music, as well as an accomplished musician in his own right. Wolper, a professor of mathematics at ISU, is the vice president of Temple Emanuel and is interested in the connection between the dual Jewish interests in music and mathematics. Raboy is a geneticist with the USDA, as well as a member of the Temple Emanuel Board and also an affiliate faculty member in  biology with both the University of Idaho and ISU. Born and raised in New York, the fabric of mid-twentieth-century show tunes was a major influence on his coming of age as an intellectual and artist.

Temple Emanuel is located at 306 N. 18th Ave., just north of Clark. For additional information, email or phone 208-232-4758. No admission will be charged.

The "A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters 1910-1965" exhibit, created and sponsored by the American Library Association, will run until Feb. 24. Temple Emanuel has provided resources to sponsor the exhibit, along the ISU Cultural Affairs Council and the INL.