Written by Sam Swire
Having been a past Songleader here at Camp Kalsman, there is a special place in my heart for musical programming. I find that through music you can easily engage others into topics that might be difficult to grasp in other aspects of camp and in life. I felt like this point was especially evident tonight at our concert with Alan Goodis.
There is something to be said about 200 voices joined together in song, and the joy that was emanating from our Chadar Ochel, Dining Hall, during this concert was easy to capture both by ear and eye (Check out the photos from tonight’s concert on our Bunk1 site over the next few days). The captivated campers jumped during Alan’s renditions of Oseh Shalom and Esah Enai and even during the Kings of Leon song “Use Somebody”. But the jumping and excitement wasn’t what stuck with me after we completed a camp-wide Siyum, closing circle, full of guitars played both by current and future Kalsman Songleaders.
What did stick? Alan chose a variety of secular songs including “Use Somebody” to illustrate Middot, or Jewish Values, to our campers and it was this effective integration that stuck with me as it is so similar to the program that we are starting this year at camp to further integrate Judiasm into our daily camp activities. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones was used to touch on cooperation and compromise as being key to creating a Kehillah Kedoshah, Holy Community, like we have at camp. Both “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” (Warren Zevon) and “Cats in the Cradle” (Harry Chapin) were used to touch on life cycle situations and the value of L’Dor V’Dor, passing down knowledge from generation to generation, and the camp favorite of “Song For the Divine Mother of the Universe” by Ben Lee brought up a discussion of the Shchechina, the female aspect of God.
While I will admit the high point of the concert for me was when Alan sang “Falling Slowly”, the Oscar winning song from one of my favorite films: “Once”, I hope it is the use of secular music to connect to Jewish concepts that will stick with the campers–since I doubt the moment when the almost 23 year old man was singing from behind his camera with tears welling up in his eyes will stick with them, but I digress–. The concert was amazing and I was moved by both the music and the effective integration of Judaic knowledge.