MANCHESTER DIARY
Chazan finally finds his voice to OK release

WHEN Chazan Avraham Hillman first heard his voice on a potential album, he was far too modest for it to be released.

However, 35 years later, daughter Micky has helped to restore the original recordings. And the digitally remastered 12-track CD is now available to buy.

Chazan Hillman, who now lives in Netanya with wife Yocheved, was chazan at the Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Hebrew Congregation for 48 years, from 1966.

Leeds-based Micky said: "Dad is quite modest and also wasn't happy with the way it sounded at the time, so the tracks were never released.

"Copies could have been made, but he would not allow it.

"However, around five years ago, he listened to it again and realised it was him singing in his prime.

"On the tracks he is accompanied by the shul choir and its choirmaster Adrian Isaacs.

"He said he would let me - and only me - work on it."

The original recordings were made on a reel-to-reel tape.

"By the time my father relented, the reel-to-reel had degraded somewhat," Micky explained.

"I spent time cleaning it up as, over the years, the tapes had stretched.

"I edited it and had it remastered by a company in London.

"It is the only official recording of my father and the Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton choir in existence."

Chazan Hillman, who is now 87, was born in Frankfurt, Germany. He fled Nazi persecution to then-Palestine and, by the age of nine, was already the soloist of the Great Synagogue choir in Haifa.

Chazan Hillman later joined the Jewish freedom fighters Hagana, Palmach and Tzahal in the years surrounding Israel's 1948 War of Independence.

Awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, he then accepted the position of chazan at Higher Crumpsall.

Chazan Hillman also volunteered as chaplain at North Manchester General Hospital, where he visited patients almost daily for 33 years.

Micky, who is one of five children, continued: "It was so wonderful to listen to because we can hear his voice at a time when it was at its finest.

"It was emotional listening to it for the first time, as well.

"It is a lovely legacy for him to leave and it means a lot to the family."

www.cantoravrahamhillman.com


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