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A Golden Performance: Heschel Harmonizers Host a Concert and Game Show

Zeva Landa ’24

The Heschel Harmonizers’ final performance of the 2022-23 school year left audiences ringing the Golden Buzzer in deep appreciation. The concert, planned in large part by junior Zeva Landa, centered around a “Heschel’s Got Talent” theme, with Landa and her fellow Harmonizers Jed Cosgrove ‘23, Noam Medjuck-Bruckner ‘23, and Jayden Podchlebnik ‘24 assuming the personalities of America’s Got Talent (AGT) judges Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, Howie Mandell, and Scary Spice respectively. Freshman Eden Litt– a seemingly nervous AGT contestant– started the show by walking on stage and asking if she could bring the ensemble on stage.

A sea of navy sweater vests and crisp white collars flooded the stage as the Harmonizers massed around Litt for her solo on Ki Lishuatcha. In a typical AGT episode, judges can press a special Golden Buzzer to advance contestants immediately. The judges unveiled the buzzer in grand fashion as Litt earned the first of the night’s many accolades. Next came Podchlebnik, earning the approval of their fellow judges with a reprise of Hanan Ben-Ari’s Wikipedia

Students may remember the Harmonizers’ rendition of the piece from Arts Night earlier in the year. Additionally, Podchlebnik recently won the award for best performer at Kolot Hayam, a Jewish high school choir competition. Many of the Harmonizers were still recovering from losing their voices over the weekend prior to the concert at Kolot, but they rallied behind senior Esther Mellul for a special arrangement of Frances Forever’s Space Girl arranged by Cosgrove. 

After Mellul, first-time soloist senior Sydney Hankin performed, bringing infectious smiles with Stephen Paulus’ The Road Home. When Hankin was awarded the Golden Buzzer, guest judges Chasida Zilbiger, Edy Lucas, Julia Bernstein, and Heschel graduate Max Grozalsky-Wernick arrived in time for senior Livia Isaacson to lead Emily King’s The Switch. Lucas even showcased some of her spectacular dance moves as Isaacson performed. 

During his senior internship, senior Elijah Fraiman worked with the Heschel Half-Notes. His work came to fruition during the performance as he co-led the Half-Notes through two songs with Naomi Bloch-Schartz, while the Harmonizers took a well-deserved break before returning to perform the Shema and a medley of Ladino folk songs along with the Half-Notes. 

After a brief intermission, sophomore Aerin Levine took over as lead judge of the event just in time for her classmate Miriam Gross to earn the fastest Golden Buzzer of the night with her rendition of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie. Heschel’s invaluable theater tech team were integral to the success of this number, with freshman Charlie Cohen on lighting, freshman Dani Grinker on videography, current eighth-grader Liora Beer on sound, and Abe Hendin and freshman Simon Arenson managing the booth. 

Throughout the show, Medjuck-Bruckner was the subject of some gentle teasing. He took it all in stride until Zeva Landa’s snide remarks about his dearly departed golden payos went too far, and he snapped and challenged sophomore Max Alperstein to a beatbox battle.

Medjuck-Bruckner pulled out all of the stops, even calling back to his status as Heschel’s resident Jack Harlow look-alike with a segment of Harlow’s First Class. Yet the battle’s true winner will be debated for years to come.

 The Harmonizers performed the first of the program’s Yom Yerushalayim motivated pieces, Im Eschkachech, followed by senior Jared Levy’s arrival to the mic in a dapper duck mask, having mistaken the show for Fox’s The Masked Singer. After removing the mask, he wowed the audience with his final rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, a song he had performed multiple times earlier in the year. After a rendition of v’haer, there was a round of Jeopardy, in which sophomore Amia Kaplun, freshman Navah Luxenberg, and sophomore Miriam Gross successfully identified the class of 2023’s Harmonizers, who were then thanked for their contributions to the group. 

Among the other seniors who were participating in their final concert, Rose Buchdahl sang the solo lead in Coldplay’s Fix You, with solo support from freshman Eli Lebwohl and sophomore Aerin Levine. The concert ended with a final thanks to Landa and Adena Korn, the Harmonizers’ extraordinarily talented and dedicated faculty advisor.

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