Lester W. Osband
(Note: The following short biography was contributed by Mrs. Laya Hochberg, daugher of Mr. Osband, who contributed his record collection to the Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive.)
A large record collection was donated to the Dartmouth Jewish Music Archives by the family of the late Lester W. Osband (1913-2009) and the late Helen April Goldberg Osband (1918-1994). These records were a prized possession of Mr. Osband, who strongly valued Judaism, music, education and family. Mr. Osband spent his lifetime pursuing his dreams.
As a young boy, Mr. Osband sang in a synagogue choir with some of the great chazzanim of that era. He was a religious, Orthodox Jew who served as a Chasson, himself, for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. He was a lover of the Yiddish language and the Yiddish theater and from his youth on, he participated in and directed many Yiddish performances in his hometown of Rochester, New York.
Mr. Osband was gifted in music and composed many musical pieces including, Rhapsody Judaica, a symphony for twenty three instruments, which was performed in California. When asked how he knew what each instrument should play and how he was able to coordinate their sounds, he responded that he hears the music in his head. Another outstanding musical composition was Mr. Osband’s Family Suite with unique parts for all the members of his family, including his beloved children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and those yet to come. He was able to play any song by ear on the piano. Having studied violin and viola as a youngster, Mr. Osband continued to play these instruments throughout his life, even joining the Rochester Symphony Orchestra in his later years.
While raising his family, in the days before personal tape recorders, Lester W. Osband created and ran Lifetime Recordings, a recording studio, at which he recorded lectures, performances and music on tape and then created records of the events. He produced his own record of twelve original musical compositions using words from the Jewish prayers. This record, titled Reb Lazer and Yehoshualle, features Mr. Osband and a young man beautifully singing and harmonizing the melodies. Some of these songs were even played in Israel on radio programs. Mr. Osband loved Eretz Yisroel and visited there numerous times, especially delighting in its holy sites and lively, meaningful music.
Mr. Osband was blessed with high intelligence and he was an avid reader. He even read the dictionary to learn new words which he would then use. He always desired a college education and in his late fifties and early sixties earned a BA and an MA degree in education and went on to successfully teach drama and English writing and literature in a local high school for twelve years.
Upon his retirement, Mr. Osband contracted to host a radio program entitled Jewish Echoes. The program was heard in Rochester, New York and surrounding areas, every Sunday for years. He would spend hours preparing the program each week, carefully selecting various musical pieces from his beloved record collection to play on his program.
Lester W. Osband would be happy knowing his record collection was donated to the Dartmouth Jewish Music Archives and that other people would continue to hear and appreciate the music that he so dearly loved.