Yidinfo regrets to share with you the news of the petirah of R’ Sheya Mendlowitz, a music producer whose work had a significant impact on the genre of frum and bataamte music for forty years.
His age was 61. He created hundreds of music records, some of the greatest hits for Mordechai Ben David and Avraham Fried among them. He was a forerunner and visionary in the music business. He also oversaw the production of 15 of the renowned HASC shows, the first of which took place 35 years ago in January 1988 at the Lincoln Center and included Sheya, then only 25 years old.
Sheya attended Yeshiva Torah Temimah as a young child while growing up in Flatbush. His second-grade rebbi, Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum z”l, who oversaw the original Pirchei Choir, was his introduction to the world of music. Sheya became a member of the choir and sang on the fourth Pirchei Choir record as well as later Sdei Chemed albums.
He collaborated on the Amudei Sheish Boys Choir LP in 1979, and the following year, he produced the Amudei Sheish Wedding Album alone.
Sheya later produced Avraham Fried’s debut solo album, “No Jew Will Be Left Behind,” in 1981. Sheya worked on two of MBD’s albums that were released in the same year: “Mordechai Ben David Live,” which was his debut live album, and “Memories,” which was written in honor of his mother, A”H. Sheya and MBD worked together to produce a number of successful albums in the years that followed, such as his “MBD & Friends” (1987), “Mostly Horas” (1987), “Yisroel Lamm & The Philharmonic Experience” (1988), and “25 Years of Jewish Music” (1988). Sheya Mendlowitz later produced MBD’s “The Double Album” (1990) and “Simen Tov-Keitzad” (1989) albums.
In 1981, Sheya organized his inaugural concert, which featured Mordechai Ben David, at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum.
One of the most well-known “Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov” tunes ever created by him was originally performed by the chasunah of the Belzer Rebbe and is still played at Jewish weddings all over the world. Sheya persisted in making as much noise as she could about how much she loved real Jewish music.
“I have made an effort to preserve Jewish music, among other things. People try to add Jewish phrases to secular music’s rhythms because everything is influenced by its environment, but I wonder if it is indeed Jewish music, he said in an interview earlier this year.
“I have therefore worked to maintain the music’s Jewish essence. Real old, old tunes like those by Chasideshe, Carlebach, and Modzitzer have stood the test of time because, when all the arrangements and frills are stripped away, what’s left is a lovely, pure melody.
Sheya endured excruciating suffering over the previous few years from a variety of illnesses and medical issues. Amazingly, he never voiced a complaint. Since he hasn’t been able to walk in recent years, close friends built him a shul in his home, where minyanim are held every Shabbos and Yom Tov. He never failed to smile and say something kind to anyone.
He recently entered and left the hospital, and his condition worsened until early on Friday morning, when he passed away. Information on Levaya will soon be released.