Ramazpazooma!: Closing out 2020 with a Bang

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Rebecca Silber ’23

  While 2020 was a dark year for us all, the year ended with a ray of light. Overcoming all obstacles in the midst of a pandemic, and thanks to the tireless work of the faculty-led music and dance participants, Ramjam, Ramaz’s annual winter festival performance, took place through a jam-packed, 28-minute video broadcasted over Zoom. “People felt a determination to keep things going as per tradition,” said Mr. Elisha, who directed the Ramjam performance and oversaw the video’s compilation. “It’s our responsibility to make this as much of a normal year as possible.”

   Ramjam consisted of performances by the band, dance team, and the choir, under the guidance of Mr. Oded Lev-Ari, Ms. Ruth Goodman, and Mr. Daniel Henkin respectively. Each student performed separately and safely in their own homes, and the faculty member in charge of each club edited his or her group’s videos individually. Gary Finkler of the communications office, Mr. Elisha, and Mr. Lev-Ari compiled the clips, so the performance was as in-sync as it would have been in-person. Mr. Elisha emphasized the careful, step-by-step process of “ensuring that the performance had an effective flow, an effective narrative.” Notable decisions included where to put the dance and emcee segments, as well as having John Lennon’s “Hey Jude” close out the performance.

  According to Mr. Elisha, there was a unique risk of the choir singing in-person. “Singing is such a major part of Ramaz’s history,” he said, yet the CDC has outlined the significant health risks that singing in particular poses when done in the same room. Mr. Elisha credits the Ramaz tech team for making “it sound like everyone was in the same room together!”

  The decision was made to have the performance on December 22, the final school day of the calendar year, in order to have it done before the holiday break and final exams. Yet it also symbolizes something greater: the hope and joy of a new year. The Ramaz community hopes that 2021 will be a year of vaccine distribution and a return to normalcy, and Ramapazooma leaves students with a sense of optimism. It also captures the immense creativity that faculty and students displayed after the shock of the pandemic. Students and teachers have made the best of a bad situation, both in terms of learning and carrying on with extracurricular activities and performances.

  Mr. Elisha lauded everyone’s creativity as one of the key takeaways from an otherwise challenging year. “We will have a capsule of this era…We’ll be able to look back on this period and say how cool it was that everyone was able to create this.”