Students flourish in annual winter concert


Abby Chesman, Dimensions Yearbook

Seniors from Harmoniah and Shir Madness sing “Don’t Forget Where you Belong” to conclude the winter concert.

Simon Albert, News Editor

The CESJDS community gathered last night, Jan. 12, in the theater to enjoy instrumental, choral and a capella performances during the annual winter concert. While the school hosts multiple celebrations of the arts throughout the year, such as Arts Chai Lights and spring concert, the winter concert is a special time for students to showcase their work from the first semester. 

“There were several hours of work each week and specific preparation we had to do for the concert. I also practiced a lot at home,” junior and cello player for the Semester Four high school band Celia Shimshi said.  

The concert featured performances from two middle school bands and two high school bands which are all led by instrumental music teacher Gary Prince. At the end of the concert, Prince expressed his pride and excitement for all the young instrumentalists and the hard work they put into each song. 

“All the arrangements were hard,” Prince said. “Both the middle school and high school bands did some really challenging music this semester and they played some stuff that when I was arranging it, I was thinking it was going to be too hard. They nailed each one and I am very proud of them.”

The concert also spotlighted multiple singing groups from both the middle and high school. While Prince teaches the musical ensembles and bands, voice and theater teacher Sherry Benedek oversees, arranges and accompanies the singers. 

“While there was a lot of work on my end, there was also a lot of work on the students’ end and I would not put that down,” Benedek said. “The students put a lot of hours of work and effort into this and it showed in their performances. Seeing everything come to fruition and seeing the students looking really happy at the end of a song is an amazing feeling and definitely makes all the hard work worth it.”

Eighth grader Avigayil Lerman especially enjoyed listening to Shir Madness, the high school a capella group, perform their set of three songs. 

“I like how music brings people together and expresses things that words not always can,” Lerman said. “The song ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ which was performed by Shir Madness was really fun and engaging to watch.” 

Towards the end of the concert, seniors from both Shir Madness and Harmoniah, the school’s choir groups, joined together to perform the song “Don’t Forget Where you Belong”  for the other members of their respective groups. The song was filled with bittersweet emotion as they said goodbye and sang together on stage one last time. 

“One of the best parts of being a teacher is watching your students grow and improve their skills and then perform with pride, but it’s always jarring to finish a concert and have it sink in that you’re not just saying ‘congrats,’ you’re also saying ‘goodbye’ in some ways,” Benedek said. “Still, JDS is such a beautiful family and community and I know they’ll be back to say hi. And I’m so excited to see what comes next for them! I know they’re going onto amazing adventures and experiences, and I wish them all the very best.”