|Yale University’s Jewish a cappella group to perform|
|By Nancy Kirsch|
|Friday, 25 November 2011 15:11|
| Concert on Dec. 3 includes Rhode Islander Daniel Olson |
PROVIDENCE – Magevet, Yale University’s Jewish a cappella group, will perform at a concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Temple Emanu-El in Providence. Cantor Brian Mayer, who considers Magevet “one of the finest collegiate a cappella groups in the nation,” eagerly anticipates the group’s performance, as the first Arts Emanu-El presentation.
Daniel Olson, a senior at Yale University and the son of Kevin and Amy Olson of Cranston, joined Magevet as a freshman. Although he hadn’t been a member of Kol Kesem, the synagogue’s choir, he knew that Cantor Mayer was a “big proponent of Jewish chorale music,” he said. “I thought it’d be a fun opportunity to bring Magevet to Emanu-El.”
Although weekend performances at synagogues and other Jewish venues are nothing new for the group, their recently-released newest CD will be available to buy at the concert.
“Magevet,” (Hebrew for “towel”), comes from a story the group tells, one which may or may not be accurate, said Atid Kimelman, a Yale junior who is Magevat’s musical director this year. According to “legend,” four Jewish men enjoyed singing in a sauna beneath one of Yale’s residential colleges in 1993; the sauna’s wood paneling improved the acoustics and the group’s voices. So they chose the Hebrew word for “towel” to remember their days in the sauna, Kimelman said.
Yale has, said Olson, “an incredibly dynamic singing culture, with some 20 undergraduate singing groups [that range] from an 80-person mixed choir to jazz, pop or Christian…”
As for Jewish a cappella groups in particular, Olson said they are “having a good moment.” Magevet, however, differs from other such groups, he said, with its stronger choral style (and less focus on solo performances) and diverse repertoire of songs.
The group is excited to sing during the Friday evening children’s service and at Shabbat services on Saturday morning. Three of this year’s current Magevet members, Olson said, sang with HaZamir during their high school years and are eager to see – and perform with – Cantor Mayer.
As for Rhode Island native Olson, he’s looking forward to singing with a Jewish youth choir, especially on his “home turf. I’m excited to share something that’s meant so much to me in college with my home community.”
“Arts Emanu-El,” said Cantor Mayer, “is a new construct in our shul [and] not associated with any particular benefactor. It’s designed to broaden synagogue members’ horizons about all aspects of Jewish art forms.”
The group, Olson said, travels throughout the U.S. to give concerts; every other year, it tours internationally. A 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, it receives no funding from Yale or Yale Hillel, though the latter provides moral support, practice and performance space and refreshments, Olson said.
Tickets for the Dec. 3 concert are $18 in advance/$20 at the door for adults; $10 for seniors and students. For more information, contact Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., Providence, at 331-1616. Advance reservations are required, and free babysitting is available with ticket purchase. CDs will be available for purchase at the concert.
To learn more about the group, visit http://www.yale.edu/magevet/