"Song brings great joy into people's lives. It brings people together and creates a community of sound which is an incredible thing." So says Aaren Alpert, Ramah'nik and moomchit extraordinaire, as well as the
creative director to camps new "Live... from the Giva" CD project, a musical recording produced to help campers stay connected to Ramah and Judaism throughout the year.
The Live from the Giva CD represents the very best of Ramah talent, passion and teamwork. Originally funded by a Spitzer Family Ikar grant and currently made possible through generous support by Julie and Marc Platt, Susan Jacoby Stern and Joel Stern and Lesley and Jeffrey Wolman, it is the result of the hard work of many musically inclined Ramah'niks. Campers participating in the project are either a part of camp's new Shabbat a cappella group, Ramacapella, or are in a rock band that would periodically play for the entire Ramah community. Whether performing for the crowd or enthusiastically singing in the audience, campers truly got into the musical experience and made this endeavor their own.
Ramah 9th and 10th graders participating in the band found a rewarding way to have fun, learn and express themselves in a uniquely Jewish setting. Under the direction of Ramah staff members Shira Cohen Shani & Yoel Bibas, band members rehearsed five days a week in order to master an eclectic mix of Israeli songs. In addition to playing for the entire camp, they had to be recording-ready within three short weeks.
A cappella choir members ranged in age from 12 year old campers to members of the senior staff. The campers and staff interested in participating auditioned at the beginning of each session, and those chosen went on to perform a song during Kabbalat Shabbat every week. "I wanted to create the tradition that every Friday during t'fillot, the whole camp would know that there was about to be a beautiful song sung for them," says Aaren, who directed the choir. Like the band, the 40 choir members rehearsed five days a week so that they could master a selection of Shabbat songs and prayers that would all-too-soon need to be recorded for the CD.
The result of everyone's hard work? A Ramah music CD that exceeded everyone's expectations, professionally produced and designed by Reason Media Group, a company started by David Navama and Jesse Kouffman, in partnership with long time friend, producer and Ramah alumnus Dov Kogen. Because of its high quality, every camp family received a CD to enjoy throughout the year. The CD was created to give campers a lasting memento of the music that made their summer at camp so special. While Ramah'niks connect back to the fun they had at camp, they are also enjoying Israeli music and learning Shabbat songs and t'fillot that they will remember for many years to come.