Celebration of the Arts

Celebration+of+the+Arts

Rebecca Kalimi ’23

With New York’s Covid guidelines getting more lenient and allowing life to take in an extra ounce of normalcy, Ramaz students have been hoping for the end-of-year Celebration of the Arts to partially resemble how it would normally play out. In past years, the entire Raamz Community would be welcomed into the auditorium on a Thursday night to watch a series of performances and be wowed by student artwork displayed all around the room.

Oded Levari is the head faculty music advisor for the celebration of the Arts program. He is an instrumental music specialist and he is involved in the various ensembles in school. He started thinking about Celebration of the Arts a little bit before Pesach started and began getting in touch with students right after Pesach break. He said that this part of the process, the auditions, is probably the most challenging. Sometimes students show him that they have room for improvement and other times their performances don’t need any work at all, but it can be hard to assess how much time and effort both he and the student will need to put into practice. He plans for the show to be a community event celebrating and showcasing various activities that take place in Ramaz. He says that in this sense, the program won’t be so different than normal since the goal is to share and celebrate the artistic work students do. 

A group of students will help run the event. Included in this group are Ita Newman-Getzler ‘21, Samantha Sinensky ’21, and Simeon Dicker ‘21. Oded added that although they are only a group of three students, they have been really helpful throughout the process thus far. Regarding last year’s show, Oded and the whole team that worked together received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from viewers, but he decided to change different aspects of the show from last year. “Overall it was a successful event, especially since this was one of the first online events Ramaz embarked on.” 

Another teacher who is heavily involved in Celebration of the Arts is Ms. Rabhan, the head of the art department. Ms. Rabhan said that Celebration of the Arts has been on her mind for the entire school year, and she even integrates different prompts in art classes to prepare for the show. The plans for the online art exhibition will be very similar to last year’s, except for the fact that last year’s show was pulled together in about two weeks, but this year they started gathering artwork to showcase in the middle of April. Ms. Rabhan put together a team of curators for each grade. Evie Rosenfeld, Adrian Rosenfeld, and Charlotte Kleeger are collecting work from the freshmen. Rebecca Kalimi, Charlotte Newhouse, and Daniela Woldenberg are collecting work from the sophomores. Anna Braun, Mia Dentil, and Rachel Freilich are collecting work from the juniors. The seniors don’t necessarily have curators, but the Senior Art Studio class will be submitting artwork they have been working on for the whole year. Thankfully, the plan is also to have an in-person art exhibition at the end of the last day of finals. The curators will be choosing what artwork will be showcased in person and online, as Ms. Rabhan wants to give them a higher level of independence than normal. Similar to Oded, Ms. Rabhan received amazing feedback after last year’s show. She emphasized that the show last year was in the middle of the pandemic and riots were going on in New York City, but many people in the Ramaz community told her that the show was an escape from the chaos in the world around them, which is something she hopes will carry over to this year’s show as well.

Dr. Honig has worked on Celebration of the Arts for many years. She mentioned that the show began as solely a showcase of art and poetry, and the performance aspect was added more recently. She is also involved in the auditioning stage of preparation. She doesn’t work with the performers as much as Oded and Mr. Elisha do since they coach them throughout the whole process, but she rehearses with the readers. She will be coaching the winner and runner-up of the Shakespeare Recital competition and will be involved in ordering the pieces and preparing the playbill. She also mentioned how unfortunate it is that we won’t be able to have an in-person performance aspect, but we should all look forward to the online show and the in-person art show.

As a part of the performances of the evening, the Ramaz Dance team will be performing. Arielle Butman ‘21 is one of the captains this year and shared some aspects of their part in the show, as well. She said that they have prepared and choreographed one dance altogether, which is similar to the format of RamJam. They started meeting more regularly right after Moadon Haatzmaut to prepare for the show, and their faculty advisor, Ruth, has been making sure things have been going smoothly. They are planning to wear matching sweatpants and some type of matching t-shirts. Her favorite part of the performance is when the team comes in from the side steps on the stage, because at that moment only the members of the dance team know what is about to happen. “Celebration of the Arts is an outlet for every student because anyone can participate and everyone comes together for a common goal, which is to celebrate each other’s talents.”

Simeon Dicker ’21 mostly helped during the auditions and assessing students’ abilities. He is working closely with Mr. Elisha and Oded to ensure the student’s success. He began thinking about 

Celebration a few weeks ago and is excited to see all of his work pay off in the form of a night shared by the whole Ramaz community. His favorite part of the show is watching students spend a night together just listening to their classmate’s talent and almost being surprised at their abilities. He is happy to leave high school knowing that he helped coordinate such an inspirational event for an entire community. 

Appointed by Ms. Rabhan, Anna Braun ‘22 is the head artistic curator for Celebration of the Arts. Her job is to oversee and coordinate the individual grade curators and help them organize their artwork collected from students in their grades. Her job is slightly different from the rest of the curators because she is also focusing on organizing the exhibition as a whole rather than focusing solely on individual artists. Since the beginning of April, she has been brainstorming with the other curators trying to figure out how to make Celebration this year uniquely big and different from other years. Her favorite part of the show is “the overall atmosphere celebration brings.” She is excited to watch this show serve as a “somewhat official public exhibition.” “We have so many artists with incredible volumes of work, and the fact that they have the opportunity to take part in this is thrilling.” To Braun, Celebration is about the art of the student body, both visual and performing arts. “I think it’s really cool that we have an event that allows students to display their talent with their peers.”

Overall, Celebration of the Arts this year has many aspects to it that are similar to last year’s online show, but everyone involved is working hard to make sure that this year’s show has an outstanding effect on the entire Ramaz community.