Cantor Gary Paller wasn’t feeling 100 percent during his farewell performance, but he gave more than 100 percent as he sang for nearly 2 1/2 hours on Dec. 3.
Paller, who was battling a sinus infection and sipped on several cups of hot tea during the afternoon, entertained about 220 congregants, friends and fellow cantors at Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood as he wrapped up a 40-year career. He will become cantor emertius, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
“I sang a lot about dreams coming true and you made my dreams come true,” he told the crowd in closing remarks before heading over to cut a cake in his honor at “The Cantor’s Cabaret: A Lyrical L’Hitraot.”
Paller performed more than 36 songs, including a few as he strolled from the stage and into the audience a few times.
He dedicated the afternoon to his late mother, Joanne Paller, and also dedicated a song to the late Henry Marsh, who sang in the synagogue’s High Holy Days choir for 40 years and encouraged him to apply to become the synagogue’s first full-time cantor in 1999.
Paller began his career at Mayfield Hillcrest Synagogue, which became Shaarey Tikvah. He also was a part-time cantor at the former Temple Ner Tamid in Euclid and became its full time before the temple merged with Temple Israel in Mayfield Heights.
Cantor Kathryn Wolfe Sebo of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, who was a special guest singing a few numbers with Paller, said, “You’re a mensch.”