You might recall that last year was my first foray into hazanut when I did neilah. This year, I added mussaf to the repertoire. Not as good as I would have hoped, but not bad considering I have no formal training. Even knowing about this CD didn’t help because the library’s audio desk was closed for the month and isn’t opening until Monday.
The timing was a little better this year. We started at 8:30, mussaf was finished at around 2:00, minha was at 5:00, neilah at 6:15 and we were finished with some time left over. This might seem a little quick compared to your typical shul. The major difference is that we cut out most of the silly hazzanut – the superfluous ay nay nay’s. It also helped that we didn’t have to wait for an absurdly long time for a rabbi to finish davening.1 There was still plenty of singing, but almost no draying or wasted time. People davened with kavvanah, said every word,2 and we still had a lot of time for reflection. Actually, I’d like to see more shuls adopt a model like this and cut down on the silliness which can actually get in the way of a meaningful service.
1. One year at YU, during the waiting for hazarat hashatz and other down time on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur I started and finished Mishnayot Sanhedrin.
2. Minus of course, several