ISRAELI WHIPPED CREAM ("KATZEFET") IN HUNGARY, TOO By Danny Noiman
(KATZEFET joined the virtual "Choir Hall of Fame" as it closed its doors in summer 2011 - see below)
The "Katzefet" choir has been rehearsing in "Beit HaAm" in Sde Warburg since it was established by Jeanne Rabin in 2004. Under her "baton", this group of amateur singers became a wonderful vocal ensemble with substantial achievements to its credit.
At the "Sulam Mila" competition in 2006, they received a gold medal (placing twelfth out of the 59 choirs which competed).
The summer of 2008 brought an invitation to participate in the prestigious "Vivace" competition/festival in Veszprem, Hungary along with seven other choirs from Taiwan, Turkey, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia,Macedonia and Finland. The festival opening in the community center brought all the choirs together to sing (what the Hungarians called) the "common pieces"; songs all had prepared at home in advance. "Katzefet's" confidence was a bit shaky after hearing the voices surrounding them. "We felt as if those young singers were all sight-reading professionals, way out of our league", says one "Katzefet" member. "But Jeanne took us in hand, and with no pity on us or on herself, polished our performance in the two days we had left till the competition. She kept stressing the fact that though the other choirs may perhaps have an edge on us vocally, we have something special of our own to offer: we can give the audience a show they won't forget!" And she was right. "Katzefet" rose to the occasion and gave its best performance to date.
Back home in Israel: During Succoth 2008, "Katzefet" continued the momentum with first place (out of 21 choirs from all over the country) in the "Kol Rishon" choir competition (in Rishon LeZion) sponsored by "Mila". Naturally, these achievements whet our appetites and reinforced our motivation to continue improving our work. Many performances have come and gone since then, and the joy continues.
In January, 2011, "Katzefet" initiated a visit to the Gilad Shalit Tent in Jerusalem, the purpose of which was simply to give the family some comforting moments of music. A number of songs were chosen especially for the occassion and the visit was warmly received.
Comments about "Katzefet" from the esteemed judges of the "Kol Rishon Competition, 2008":
Dr. Aharon Charlap:
"Very musical. Excellent arrangements. Good dynamic changes, phrases and rhythmic intensity."
Dr. Michael Wolpe:
"Humor-filled staging … Brilliant arrangements … The French chanson impeccably performed – wow!"
Dr. Moshe Zorman:
"Stylized, good singing. Good sound! Full of vitality! Clean!!! A wide dynamic range. Very musical."
In April 2011, "Katzefet" and "Rosh Tov" joined forces to become "Tov U Matok" (a combination of their titles) for a "Journey of Love" sponsored by our special friends at the Leverkusen Music School (director: Juergen Ohrem) in Germany who had arranged a concert tour for us. This tour included performances with various German youth and adult choirs in Leverkusen, Kerpen-Horrem, Frechen and Dusseldorf, in churches, schools and concert halls. Following in the footsteps of previous visits by "Jeanne Rabin's Ensemble" (2000) and "Jean's" (2004), this combined group made an amazing impression on the German audiences as well as personal connections with the scores of choir members whom they met.
The results of this trip were manifold and significant:
After months of hard work and preparation as well as the week in Germany of daily singing and shows, our performance level was significantly improved.
The amazing success of our shows (standing ovations everywhere!), in conjunction with spirit and warmth of this joint choir, certainly made an impact on our German audiences. We consider it own personal contribution to Israeli relations abroad.
And finally, the musical and interpersonal "chemistry" that developed between "Katzefet" and "Rosh Tov" became the major catalyst for a permanent merging of the two groups – officially adopting the name "ROSH TOV"!