February 1, 2005 | Issue 18

Chazzan Caught Lip-Synching on SML

NEW YORK, NY — [TheKnish.com] Cantor Binyomin Tiller of Temple Bais Conservative has been quoted as saying his voice receives "help from above." Little did the congregation know that he meant it literally. During morning services, which the synagogue markets as "Saturday Morning Live", the congregants heard his voice - singing the wrong song - while he held a microphone at his waist.

The synagogue blamed a computer glitch and he blamed the choir for Saturday morning's incident, which cut off his planned performance of Nishmas.

Tiller had performed Oz Yoshir without incident earlier in the services. When he continued with the next paragrah, the band started playing and the first lines of his singing Oz Yoshir could be heard again.

He looked momentarily confused as the band plowed ahead with the song and the vocal was quickly silenced.

Tiller made some exaggerated hopping dance moves, then walked off the bimah after starting Nishmas.

"What can I say?" Rabbi Rachel Levin said with Tiller standing next to him at the end of services. "Live chazzonos!"

"Exactly," Tiller said. "I feel so bad. My band started playing the wrong song. I didn't know what to do so I thought I'd do a hoe-down."

The band, Mechallel Shabbos, said in a statement that there was a computer glitch. Instead of some pretaped electronic percussion, the recording of Oz Yoshir started performing.

Such vocal tricks have been used before on the synagogue, making Saturday Morning Live not entirely live, said a synagogue insider named Matan Beseser who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tiller's walk-off joins the lore of other unexpected moments on SML: The time some kiddush fish shipped from New Square began talking and the incident when a board member suggested separating men from women during services.


Pencil Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded TheKnish.com, and writes books from 5-9: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mbodekatgmaildotcom


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