Beth Schafer - Spiritual Tunesmith, Singer, Guitarist
Beth Schafer is re-defining Jewish music by combining masterful songwriting with sensitivity to liturgy and unique insight toward text. She specializes in music for Torah-minded adults looking for an extension to their Jewish lives through music. What makes her music special is her attention to the universal themes that not only define Judaism, but many other faiths as well. Beth Schafer won the 2006 American Idol Underground Faith Based competition and has used that win to create new music for interfaith communities. Schafer has degrees in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Miami School of Music and is a trained and much sought after guitarist in styles ranging from Classical to Blues, Folk to Jazz.
The worship experiences that Schafer creates both at home and on the road have been dubbed everything from “exhiliarating” to “incomparable.” She has an innate sense of the rhythm of worship and quickly connects to a congregation’s need to spiritually connect to one another and to God. When Beth leads a group in prayer, no one is a stranger.
Beth's infectious energy, well-crafted songs and intelligent lyrics coupled with a great band has made her a leading presence in the Jewish music world. Her audiences span many faiths who have found that her messages and music touch them. It is her universality that placed her at center-court for the half-time show at an Orlando Magic game. Because she is comfortable playing both her acoustic guitars and electric and her voice is silky and natural, she has been called on as the "guitarist-in-residence" for the Union for Reform Judaism's national conferences for the past 12 years. She is frequently a featured artist at folk festivals and conferences nationwide drawing a diverse and sophisticated fan-base. Her messages even brought her into the politcal arena when she was asked to play for President Barack Obama during his historic campaign.
Beth likes making music, loves bringing people together through the power of music, and feels God's presence when it all works right. She has no intention of forcing any beliefs on anyone, but to those who are searching for something greater than themselves, Beth seems to make a magical connection. She is creating modern-day musical midrash, the contemporary interpretations of ancient texts that help us deal with our day to day questions and struggles. She has been told on numerous occasions that she has scored the soundtrack to her fans' lives.
Beth has also been called on as an educator; most recently on faculty at the URJ Scheidt Leadership seminar for temple presidents, where she is an expert on worship transformation, technology integration and sound issues associated with contemporary music in worship.
The rest of Beth’s calendar is filled with appearances as an artist-in-residence in communities across North America. Her band consists of seasoned veterans who have played with many greats while her shows blend healthy doses of concert, theater and inspiration.
Her 7 CDs of original Jewish music have become favorites in synagogues as well as churches and spiritual radio stations of many denominations. The title song to her CD Build That Bridge, was written and recorded with “Still the One” singer, Larry Hoppen, and was released in 2007. In 2009 she released her first acoustic rock album, Raise It Up Bring It Down-a combination of her secular and spiritual writing which has already been met with critical acclaim.
In addition to enjoying making and listening to music, leading her congregation, Temple Shir Shalom in Oviedo, FL, Beth has been happily married for 19 years and has two yummy daughters.