Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yeshiva Darchei Menachem Sparks Hakhel Concert

Here I am at the Darchei Menachem concert. Supposed to start at 8:30. I think. I got here at

9:05. Doors opened five minutes later. Rehearsal going on as I, and the rest of the world, walk in the door. No worries.

9:08: the cool Jew taking pics. We chat for thirty seconds. He recognizes me not. Nu nu.

9:20: are we starting? Could it be? Besides for the fact that I have to use the men's...but did you want to know that?

9:22: Sholom Mendelson emceeing. I didn't know he worked at Darchei Menachem. Maybe he doesn't. Regardless, I spent 11 great days with him this past summer on birthright, and he just had a baby girl. Mazel tov.

9:23: the sparks boys (international?) boys choir takes the stage. Mr. Mendelson announces that the show will begin in two minutes. Btw, he's wearing a nice tie. Oh, the sparks boys walked off and are now (presumably) backstage. I didn't see, I was typing. And no, I don't touch type on an iPod. Have you ever tried touch typing on an iPod? I didn't think so.

9:26: No smoking or fireworks in the concert hall. Dang.

9:28: the crowd is asked to take their seats. The show is about to begin.

9:29: Sholom is out of his mind. That's a good thing.

9:30: Rabbi choni tzucker. Who? But sing he does. Yossi green/MBD's anovim anovim. A great song. Mr. Tzucker, a little loud perhaps (undoubtedly the speakers' fault) does it proud.

9:35: the crowd is asked to sing along. Am I the only one who knows the words?

9:36: the guitarist (not piamenta person) has a MacBook in front of him. Nice. If anyone wants to sponsor one for me...

9:39: after another really cute mendelson speech we're ready for the sparks boys choir. And cute! (I use that word way too much-just ask my roommates) they're all holding sparks. Or something like that. It's a pity I have no idea what song they're singing. Some form of kadsheinu from shabbos. Very techno-ish. The band isn't behind them playing. That's right, the pipes are playing.

9:43: I might have had no idea what song that was, but they certainly have the dance moves down.

9:44: dani finkelman speaks. Ooh, he says the name of the next song-pitchu li kitzipuda shel machat. Or something like that.

9:45: some kid starts singing yedid nefesh. Am I the only one who notices that this song isn't about opening up small spaces? But that's ok. Anyway, it's a rock-ballad. I think. If I was chaim rubin I'd know what that meant. By me there's just two types of songs-fast and slow. There's a lot less dancing in this one. That's probably because it's a slow song. I'm good at figuring things like that out.

9:52: the piamentas! (sholom mendelson was born to address crowds). Ok, it's the kids. Three kids. What's their names? I have no idea. They begin with v'yichazkem. One wears a white hat and sings, one plays flute and gebearded, and the third plays guitar with a red shirt. I mean, he's wearing a red shirt. If anyone could actually play guitar with a red shirt-well, that would be super cool.
The song is played really well.

9:57: ooh, the flute player speaks too! About hakhel. His voice is cute (don't blame me if I think everything is cute). It's a mix of lubavitch and piamenta. As I said, cute.

9:58: yibane mikdash. I love this song. Excuse me while I enjoy it.

10:00: yehuda? Is that flute player piamenta's name? A flute solo. And then "lshanah hazot b'yerushalayim habnuyah". I couldn't agree more.

10:01: yehuda starts to tell a, in his words, "cute story" about the Baal Shem tov.
Ok, the Baal Shem tov goes off with his students on motzei shabbos and they all say lchaim. Then the Baal Shem tells them to pour the rest of the mashke into the ground. Huh? The Baal Shem tells a story. Once a Jewish innkeeper came on hard times and the local priest made friends and eventually convinced him to shmad. His wife leaves him, the priest gives him his own daughter, life is good.
Years later he's inspecting his vast holdings and comes upon a worker crying in a corner. Why? Turns out the guy is a descendant, on his mother's side, of Marranos and it bothers him greatly. Our hero realizes that he's a Jew too, and the next day he runs away. His wife (the priest's daughter) finds out about this and she's so inspired by her husband's return to Judaism that she also runs away and becomes a giyoress.
The old Jew in the field is old and he really has nowhere to go or anything, but he realizes that he's also a Jew, and he too begins to wander. But he has nowhere to go, and he passes away. His neshoma is in limbo until the Baal Shem tov comes and says lchaim with him.
(continues yehuda) I heard today from Mendel morozov a proof that there's mashke in gan Eden. How do we know? Because meir itkin passed away, and if there wasn't any mashke in gan Eden then he'd certainly be back by now.

10:11: azreinu kel chai. Or is this one called keli keli? Recall I can't.

10:14: Asher bora. In honor of yehuda's future brother and sister in law. A piamenta classic. This song is good enough to get banned.

10:17: I notice Shaya Lieberman (Isiah and the prophets) playing bass guitar. Or is that regular guitar? You would think I would know this after spending a year with yoni chanowitz, but I guess not.

10:18: yehuda piamenta (red shirt man) plays a riff behind his back. Even his relatives are impressed. The rest of us just have huge smiles on our faces. That's nuts.

10:23: ayal Bension (my sort of [don't tell CCL this] relative) principal of darchei menachem, takes the stage.

10:27: yeedle! singing ashrecha from his new album. I know it from lipa non-stop. I love this song. I guess I'll have to buy yeedle's new CD. All right, lipa sings it better. But lipa does everything better. You knew that already.

10:30: turns out we've been listening to the freilach orchestra. And yeedle sings gut voch from melave malka's Avraham fried. Or is that the other way round?

10:31: cab-driver in Acapulco heard listening to ananchu maaminim. Mexican guy. Why? Because this music comes from the heart. And it's gonna bring moshiach.

10:33: a fast ilan bama avarechecha. I expose my ignorance by revealing that I've never heard it before. Presumably from the new album.
So you want to know what he's wearing (cheerio I become)? A boring black bekishe, no cufflinks on a white shirt,, but a sparkly silver tie. And a nice watch. At least, I think the tie is silver. It can be hard to tell with all these lights flashing and everything.

10:38: a little moving around of mics.

10:39: emor meat. This song I know. The crowd starting to get into it. And why shouldn't they?

10:45: bizos ani boteach. Another classic from yeedle IV. Say what you want (not in my hearing) but that was a great cd. Got me through yeshivas kayitz Florida. That and slurpees from 7-11. Yum, I could do one of those right now.

10:50: intermission

11:18: a darchai menachem kid (fuchs?) begins to sing a song. What else would he sing? It's an English number. About darchai menachem. And another kid joins him on stage. Shloimy samuels maybe?

11:20: some issues with the mics.

11:21: a third kid onstage. I have no clue.

11:22: oh, the rabbi who just got onstage to sing is shloimy samuels. I think. So the second kid becomes a mystery.

11:23: and the darchai menachem kids go wild! I think my ears are going to fall off.
Oh, meislish was the second kid I think. Horowitz the third? This is really confusing.

11:25: ah, here's something I know. The sparks boys choir. Lead by dani finkelman. Singing kol habotchim bishimcha b'emes.
Another fastish song. A lot of parents are shepping nachas I'm sure. As well they should be.

11:29: ooh, back to the dancing. Mr. Finkelman is really into this part.

11:32: what yeedle concert would be complete without shiru lamelech?

11:39: holy smokes! Another song I love from non-stop lipa! Tzahala I think it's called. Or maybe not. Regardless, I obviously must get this new yeedle cd. Who knew it was so good? Ahh, all the kiddies in the audience, plus some adulties, up to dance. Now I can't see what's happening on stage. I mean, it's not that interesting. Presumably. Band playing, guy singing. At least I can hear.
Oh, cute, teachers dancing with their classes. I forgive my bad sight. I guess there are maalos and chisronos to everything, yeah? You get a great seat (row B, seat 205), you got to make some sacrifices.

11:44: ok, I think the world is going to end. The next song is another of the top three from non-stop lipa. Matamar. This is freaky. Wow. Don't worry, lipa, I still love you, but maybe next time you record songs like this on your own cd?

11:46: yeedle introduced this song by calling up some little (two feet tall?) to tell yeedle the kid's favorite song. Moti greenbaum his name? Kid, in between dancing cutely (what else?) look traumatized.

11:48: the worst niggun of all time. Vayehi bemei achashverosh.

11:49: oh good, we switch to a medley from Abraham fried's avinu malkeinu, with choni tzucker.

11:50: anachnu maaminim. Can moshiach be far off?

11:51: I guess not. Right now it's hu yigal osanu. You know what? Choni looks and acts exactly like shmuelie bortunk. The same looks, voice, mannerisms...scary.

11:52: Someday. Dina Storch's masterpiece.

11:54: Carlebach's "Return Again" for a sec.

11:55: and that's all folks!


Real and Wright said...

Question on 10:01 story. What is a priest doing with a daughter?

Just like a guy said...

Russian Orthodox priests have different rules.

Real and Wright said...

Good point.

Real and Wright said...

Maybe Baal Shemske ma'asos could be true afterall.

Just like a guy said...

It's a possibility.

Cheerio said...

sounds like fun... if i could stand jewish music. well, its usually better live, anyway.
and yuda piamenta is awesome. besides being my source of financial income, my friend's wedding is going to be insanely fun, because he is playing, and he is insanely awesome. he played my sister's wedding - best ever. not kidding.

Just like a guy said...

Oh really? You work for his wife? Cool. He seems like a really great guy.

Cheerio said...

he's a sweet tatty. and very polite.

Cheerio said...

but seriously - how do you stand recorded jewish music? live it's not so bad, because live music is fun, but otherwise... shudder.

Just like a guy said...

Different strokes for different folks. Listen, I don't think everything you like is so great, you don't think everything I like is so great. That's normal. My thing is, live and let live.

Cheerio said...

fine, i won't coopt your wonderful post about the concert to rant about the quality of jewish music.

Just like a guy said...

Coopt away. No one else seems to have anything else to say...

Cheerio said...

perhaps because it's 3:02 am... the dark hours before dawn...

Just like a guy said...

And that's different than 9:02 PM?

Cheerio said...

yes. things that were merely mildly irritating at 9:02 are intensely depressing at 3:02.

Just like a guy said...

Oh? Care to elaborate?

Cheerio said...

this is a theory posited in a book i read as a young girl. it has been etched in my brain for years. 3:00 am is a depressing, dark moon of the soul time.

Just like a guy said...

So nothing specific eating you up.

Cheerio said...

general blues....

Just like a guy said...

in adar you're supposed to be happy

Cheerio said...

don't remind me... knowing i have to make purim plans is one of the things getting me down right now.

Just like a guy said...

Yes, purim can be depressing.

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Anonymous said...

At three AM I was going to sleep after my stomach reminded me that iron-gutted-pseudo-lubavitch-drinker or not, a deep dish slice with an insane amount of bad tomato sauce is no way to treat your loyal innards that braved cholent for you on shabbos.

And I agree with you, Jewish music is an awful travesty, with some exceptions. Like nigunim (including vayehi bemei acashverosh) and some lipa but the fact remains that the yiddishe neshama cannot produce rock out of water no matter how overproduced and mutilated the posuk gets. Therefore I'm sticking to Nickleback and Iron Maiden.

Anonymous said...

TRS, I thought this post was very-to use your word-cute!

Cheerio- 3 am depressing?! How so? I think it's exciting and electrifying. It brings so much clarity... It's an hour that brings to light so many of the unfinished tasks on our to-do lists that inspire us for a productive day for the 'morrow!

Besides, it's the best time to call people in other places... ;)

Just like a guy said...

Modeh: as I always tell people, there's no accounting for taste.
Farby: glad you liked it.

Chana said...

Isaiah and the Prophets, not Jonah. Shaya... Isaiah... get it?

bonne said...

Hah, I almost went to that concert! After reading this I feel like I was.
3am I was up, but had just turned off my computer, convinced I was alone in the blogosphere. Ah, I should have been up til 4.

Anonymous said...

trs: there is a pic of you tapping at ur ipod on

Anonymous said...

trs: there is a pic of you tapping at ur ipod on

Anarchist Chossid said...

Everyone on that pic is just enthralled with the concert.

Anarchist Chossid said...

I am sorry for being a snag, but what was the point of the story?

Just like a guy said...

Chana: my bad.
Sara: coulda shoulda woulda
Joe=anon? Thanks for the tip. As you can see, I spent the entire evening pecking away.
CA: a reporter can't be enthralled. Unless they're covering Barack Obama of course.
It's just a cute baal shemske maaseh.

Anarchist Chossid said...

Yes, but what about the little boy?