Monday, September 15, 2003

In Which the Chevra Get Caught Out...

This post on the Yahoo Jewish Music Board describes yesterday’s concert by the Chevra in Chicago.

The interesting part:

Then, after intermission the Chevra came on stage with Yehay, followed
by Lev Tahor, then Ki Malachov, Mi Bon Siach, Then they claimed to do "something they’ve never done in concert, special just for Chicago..." and did an acapella Shema Hashem, But they did the same thing at the Silver Spring concert I was at!!! Then they did a Carlebach Medley, same thing as the Silver Spring concert!!!!(Text slightly edited for ease of reading.)

This reminds me of the camp concerts I regularly play with various “stars” in the music business who invariably announce at some point during the concert that this is the most “ruach” filled camp they’ve performed at all summer. They make the same announcement at every single concert. This announcement is part of the de rigueur stage patter they use; the statement’s truth –or lack thereof-- doesn’t really appear to matter.

(I could go on about the stage patter in general, but I’ll leave that for another post.)
I think that too many Jewish Music artists have a very condescending, cynical view of the audiences they perform for. They feel as though they can spout bromides and platitudes, both in their advertisements (sorry, exclusive interviews;)) and at public appearances without being held to account.

I think that this dishonest behavior is wrong and wish that they would cut it out.
There’s no reason why they can’t tell a camp that they have a lot of energy without lying and saying that it was the liveliest crowd ever, especially, when the group at last night’s show had more energy.

Here too, there’s no reason for the Chevra to be introducing an acapella version of Shema Hashem as “something they’ve never done before in concert, special for Chicago” when they’ve done the same thing elsewhere in the past. A simple intro saying here’s something new we’d like to perform for you would have given the same info and feeling to the audience – that they’re going to hear something they haven’t heard before – without being dishonest.