By Katherine Mahoney
For MitzpehMezumenet poses for a picture after a performance at Hillel Parents’ Weekend (Photo courtesy of Mezumenet)
Mezumenet is a Jewish a cappella group that was founded at this university in 2008. The seven-member group sings a mix of Hebrew and English songs for events near campus at places like local synagogues, in addition to their semesterly show and national competitions.
The group performed their first in-person concert since 2019 on Tuesday, Dec. 7th in the Ulrich Recital Hall on campus. They sang seven songs, a mix of traditional Hebrew songs, Israeli pop music, English pop music and original parodies. The group had been preparing for the concert all semester.
“[The concert is] a way to recap what we’ve been doing this semester, and to allow our friends to come and watch and our families to come and watch and just anybody who is interested to come and see what we’ve been doing,” said Heather Rudick, a senior psychology major who is the music director and business manager for Mezumenet.
The group is one of ten a cappella groups on campus, three of which are specifically Jewish. It was founded by four women who came to UMD after studying and singing together in Israel and wanted to continue singing on campus. The group holds auditions each semester open to any student.
Interested students audition by doing scales, pitch matching — an exercise where singers have to recognize pitches played on a piano — and singing a snippet of a song. Then if they are called back they do the same three steps with an additional fourth step of singing one of Mezumenet’s songs.
Mezumenet was unable to perform their fall and spring semester concerts last year due to the pandemic. However, they were able to release an album in Aug. 2020 called Imperium with 10 songs that were recorded before the pandemic.
Next semester, the group will have its first spring show since 2019. The spring concert, like the fall one, will be a way to showcase what the group has been doing for the semester.
This year, Mezumenet is composed of students from many different grade levels. The group has two seniors, Rudick and Leora Barkai; one junior, Ceoli Jacoby; and four freshmen, Alyssa Levin, Danielle London, Esther Feron and Stephanie Fishkin.
While the group focuses on singing, they also make sure to see each other outside of rehearsal whether it’s eating Shabbat meals together, celebrating holidays together, or going to Hillel events together.
Jacoby, Mezumenet’s PR manager, summed up the group’s mission: “We basically focus on trying to bring people together around a love of vocal music and of Judaism and just finding a way to celebrate both of those things at once.”