Musician Stefanie Posner’s favorite moment of 2017 was when she stood on stage singing Hanukkah songs at the Cascades Amphitheater with her band, Bagels and Biscuits. Looking out at a crowd bedazzled in Christmas hats and sweaters, she felt a sense of unity rippling outwards as the audience bobbed their heads and contributed their voices to the jubilee.
“That concept of people of all different faiths appreciating our music is amazing to me, and it’s what I really wanted most,” says Posner. “It’s to bring our culture out there so people can see we’re not so different. Music is the language for all of us. We all speak it and love it, and we’re all after a good time and good love.”
Posner says she loves the sound of her cello the most and credits teachers Eric Edburg and Amit Peled for her training. She listens to bluegrass, soul, and old southern rock, and in addition to playing cello, uses a guitar strap so that she can stand while playing with Bagels and Biscuits. The band will release their first album on Jan. 6.
Posner remembers when she first heard the instrument played when a friend asked her if she’d like to see their new musical toy.
“I thought she said Jello,” laughs Posner. “I remember seeing the shine off the varnish, the smell of the resin, and watching the strings vibrate and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.”
When it came time for her to pick an instrument in school, she convinced her mother that the cello was the only one for her. Posner soaked up all the knowledge she could until she surpassed her teacher’s abilities and sought out private lessons. She attended the Baltimore School of the Arts for high school, and earned a degree in music from Goucher College. Her career took her towards sales and marketing, however, and for a while she didn’t play.
“My life revolves around music,” says Posner. “I can tell you what year things happened just by listening to a song. It touches my soul in a way that I find extremely moving, and even when I wasn’t playing I felt like something was missing.”
In 2009, an unexpected layoff propelled her towards Tallahassee and allowed her to follow her passion for Jewish education at Temple Israel. Posner began working as a school administrator for the pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade program.
Eventually, the position expanded into the role of Education and Music Director as Posner stepped in to co-direct the adult and children’s choirs. For the past seven years, she has felt an enormous sense of pride in watching how invested the parents and community is in the children’s choirs and the music.
“Sometimes you’ll have students who are there that may not necessarily love it, so you have to try and find that moment for the child where they achieve something,” describes Posner. “You get excited with them even if it’s the smallest thing and talk to them about how it will lead to something even bigger and better.”
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