About a week ago, I had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall with Hazamir; the International Jewish High School Choir. We performed a repertoire, consisting of Jewish traditional songs, like Vehi Sheamda and Halleluyah. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
This year was the first that Hazamir made a chapter in Florida. All of the participants rehearsed once a week, from the beginning of the year until the end. Once in New York, we rehearsed only two and a half days with all the participants from the different states (including Israel), and still did an incredible job.
On stage at Carnegie Hall, I felt a sense of unity with all Bnei Yisroel. I never felt such a strong Ahavat Yisroel. I felt gratitude towards my parents, grandma, music professor, chapter, the founders, and G-d for giving me this wonderful opportunity. When we sang Tefilah L’Tzahal for the Israeli participants who were leaving to the army, it was very emotional.
Performing at Carnegie Hall is a dream that many work their whole lives to achieve. So, how did I end up there? Ever since I was little, I have had a passion for singing, especially Opera and musicals. I sang on small stages before, like Temple Beth Shalom and Steinway & Sons showroom, but I never sang on a stage as big as Carnegie Hall. My grandma has been taking me to see Operas for years. Every time I went to one, I dreamed of performing on a big stage.
One day, in the beginning of the year, my grandma told me about a flyer she saw. I really wanted to do it, and it said that there was an interview and audition required. I told my grandmother, “what if I don’t get in?” She replied, “ If you don’t try, you will never know what you missed.” I listened, knowing my grandma is right. A few days after my audition, I received a welcoming email from the founders and my music professor congratulating me on getting in. I realized that you will never know what you miss if you do not make an effort to get there.
While in New York, I learned team building skills, patience, and met inspiring people. Overall, I learned that you have to pursue your dreams. It might be hard, but in the end it will be worth it.
By: Sarah Rosenthal