Most of us know that songleaders make camp go round. We thought we would introduce to you our Head Songleader for the summer, Kyle Bernstein, and tell you a little bit about the songleading program. Kyle will tell you about how music is important at camp and why he is head songleader here-
Music has always been an important part of the Goldman Union Camp community. This was apparent to me when I first came through the front gate thirteen summers ago. I now have the opportunity to allow this magical aspect of camp to grow and foster as the Head Songleader.
Many campers and staff members always say after every summer that some of their fondest memories involve the people here singing and praying together as a community. I told this to my mother when I was a camper and as a past Head Songleader herself, I knew she would understand the feeling. It is our goal here to bring campers closer together through song and prayer. Through Jewish music, both older and newer, and even folk songs, the entire camp reaches a new level of Kehilah Kedoshah (Holy Community).
I am joined this summer by eight other Songleaders. Together, we have been leading G.U.C.I. in songsessions, T’fillah, and any other form of communal singing. We songlead in smaller groups, such as with the various units, and as an entire camp. Our goal is for camp to sound beautiful and to love the music that we have come to know and love throughout our years at camp. We have sung old camp favorites, such as Heiveinu Shalom Aleichem, resurrected songs from GUCI past, such as Debbie Friedman’s Dodi Li, and introduced brand new songs to the community, including Noam Katz’s Al Kein Nekaveh L’Cha and Dan Nichols’s Ki Eshmera. The G.U.C.I. community has embraced all the music we have shared and together, we have rocked the Chadar Ochel and sang beautifully in harmony.
Just coming out of Kallah Aleph, we believe as though the Songleading program has so far been a huge success. We were so proud of the energy from both campers and staff and of their overall love to sing. Although Kallah Bet has only just begun, we are already seeing much enthusiasm. There is no doubt in my mind that camp will sound as beautiful as ever in the coming weeks. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Songleading team when I say how excited we are to sing and pray together for the rest of the summer.