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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Music Makers

Absent+Minded+rehearses+before+performing+at+Kab+Shab.+
Ruby Kotok
“Absent Minded” rehearses before performing at Kab Shab.

At the last whole-school Kabbalat Shabbat of the 2022-23 school year, a boy band completely made up of eighth grade boys performed “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. Their energetic performance exceeded expectations and excited many about the incoming talent. The band was soon to become a crowd favorite. 

The band consists of freshmen Ryan Klepper, Micah Harkavy, Micah Blay, David Spieler and Jonah Mitre. They joined at the end of their seventh-grade year because they wanted to “Rickroll” the middle school for the final Kabbalat Shabbat of the year, a trend where you redirect someone to the song “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. This first performance sparked the formation of the band.

The band’s chemistry, Mitre said, is due to their friendship. 

“It only started because we were friends,” Mitre said. “Before, it was just an excuse for us to hang out. It is always super fun, but we are also lucky to be productive.” 

All of the band members are multi-instrumentalists, and their roles fluctuate depending on the song. This allows them to play more versatile music and challenge themselves with instrumentally complex pieces. 

When the band first formed, Upper School instrumental music teacher Gary Prince said that they were in the band room practicing every day. 

“Their consistency [is what makes them special],” Prince said. “The fact that they’re in, rehearsing together all the time, even when they have performances far in the future. They’re planning, they’re rehearsing together, way in advance.”

The band refers to themselves as “Absent Minded,” which Mitre says somewhat serves as a double meaning. The title sounds edgy and professional but also represents how, as high school boys, they don’t always think through everything they do.

However, in one of the band’s early performances, they gained the fan-favorite name of “Fedora Fridays.” This band name was created because the band used to perform while wearing fedora hats during Friday Kabbalat Shabbat. While they’ve tried to get people to refer to them as “Absent Minded” instead, the name “Fedora Fridays” has still managed to stick around. 

This year, the band has had two Kabbalat Shabbat performances. They hope to perform one to three more times this year.

“We didn’t name ourselves the Fedora Fridays,” Klepper said. “We wore fedoras once for a Michael Jackson performance  because [of] Fedora Five and Michael Jackson Five, so I thought it would just be funny.”

The band has also performed at the Renegade, a local bar that invites high school performers through events and competitions run by the music school Bach to Rock. The process of booking a gig includes emailing a local place, and upon response, the band records demos, and if the place likes it, they will send them more information for booking. 

The band is also working on their own original music. They’ve released one piece so far, which is called “Absent Minded.” It can be streamed on most platforms. 

“They have matured a lot in the time that I’ve known them. They’ve become really tight as a band,” Prince said. “I love their performances … I really admire how they will take the song and really polish it, and really give a good high-energy performance of it.”

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About the Contributors
Gila Safra
Gila Safra, Reporter
Ruby Kotok
Ruby Kotok, Features Editor

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