By Benjamin Weiner
For the Mitzpeh
This university’s premier Jewish a cappella group, Kol Sasson, rocked the Ulrich Concert Hall in Tawes Hall Saturday during its annual winter concert.
Consistently performing a variety of genres including American pop, Israeli pop and traditional Jewish melodies since it was founded in 1997, the group prides itself on having a diverse collection of students who share one major interest: a love and passion for music.
The show opened with Kol Sasson’s cover of The Andrew Sisters’ 1956 classical pop song “Bei Mir Bist Du Shein,” with solos from seniors Aliza Grant, Leah Schatz, and Leeza Malachevsky.
Kol Sasson’s current members include: Devin Cain, Tyler Chartash, Zoe Eisenberg, Grant, Sarah Hirsch, Matt Jacobson, Scott Kaplowitz, Malachevsky, Schatz, Chad Simon, Rachel Slobodien, Rachel Spronz and Sammy Turk Tolub.
Kol Sasson followed its initial act by premiering a new song of its own.
The group’s mash-up rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” and Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes,” with a solo by Hirsch, got audience members involved as they clapped to the beat.
The group followed with Eisenberg’s rendition of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, a song the group announced it will be retiring following this semester.
Kol Sasson has released seven albums since 2001, and its three latest albums are available for streaming and purchase on iTunes: Low Grade Fever (2015), Key Change (2013) and Dynamic (2011).
Another crowd favorite was “Ghost” by Ella Henderson, which the group performed before the intermission break with solos from Kaplowitz and Grant.
During the school year, the group spends their time singing and sharing music throughout the D.C.-Metro area.
Kol Sasson also performs at synagogues, bar and bat mitzvahs, building dedications, and other various simcha celebrations.
This upcoming spring break, the a cappella group is planning a performance during their trip to Chicago. Kol Sasson has currently raised 63 percent of its $6,000 goal.
The group set up a page on Generosity.com to help fundraise its trip and rewards donators with CDs, T-shirts, videos, and cards based on their contributions.
Following the intermission, Kol Sasson performed Zusha’s “Tzion” with a solo by Simon and a mash-up of two Jon Bellion songs, “All Time Low” and “2 Rocking Chairs,” with solos from Kaplowitz and Malachevsky.
Kol Sasson followed by singing a modern hit by Florence + the Machine. Grant lead this upbeat and soulful cover of “Shake It Out.”
Spronz and Kaplowitz then went back-and-forth with verses from Gaya’s “Yachad” and “Home” by Edward and the Magnetic Zeroes.
Eisenberg led “The Way We Touch” by We Are Twin before Kol Sasson announced they’d be performing a choral piece of the popular song “Latch” by Sam Smith featuring Disclosure for their final song.
But the crowd was not ready for the show to end. Fans chanted for one more song, and Kol Sasson delivered.
Grant led “Addicted To You” by Avicii before the show was finally over.
Sam Finkel, a freshman bio-engineering major, said, “they all meshed really well and you could see the difference compared to their last performance I saw at Parents Weekend.”
Some notable guests Kol Sasson has performed for in the past include President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, former Israeli President Ezer Weizman, Gov. Bob Ehrlich and the National Security Agency.
Chartash, a sophomore in Kol Sasson, thought “All Time Low/Two Rocking Chairs” went very well, as did “Bei Mir Bist Du Shein,” although he said he personally had a lot of trouble with it.
“We could’ve been better, but we have a lot of newbies so I think, overall, it went pretty well,” Chartash said.
Freshman letters and sciences student Mikey Pollack’s favorite song of the night was “Tzion,” covered by Chad Simon.
“We are just such a big family,” Chartash said. “I love coming to rehearse – and just being able to talk and hang out with our amazing group is really cool.”