Eastern Mennonite University

Lara Steinel is the Cantorial Soloist and Music Director for Congregation Kol Ami (Voice of my People), a non-affiliated, progressive Jewish congregation in Kansas City, MO. A member of the congregation since its start in 2003, she not only leads the music for worship at weekly Shabbat (Sabbath) services but often leads the service in the rabbi’s absence.

Lara’s path to worship has always been through music, beginning as a teenage song leader for her St. Louis synagogue’s religious school. As a singer, she has worked to build bridges of understanding and respect between people of all faiths through music. Most recently, she served as soloist and section leader for a Congregational church and sang for seven years with the Kansas City Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception’s professional choir in addition to participating in a number of interfaith services and concerts.

Lara has practiced Transcendental Meditation since 1999 and has joined with others in Kansas City to facilitate Jewish meditation sessions and special meditation services during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

This is her sixth trip to the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, having sung on a noon recital program and with the Festival Choir and Chamber Choir in previous years.