Rock Band


Discover what really makes a band rock. Under the guidance of a professional musician, you will experience the art of songwriting, performance techniques, and the changing world of music. Working with your Artist in Residence you will form bands and learn what makes a band successful. Finish off your week by performing live at the ArtsFest Showcase for your peers from JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Audition Requirements – Rock Band 2015

What are we looking for?

  • An intermediate level of instrumental proficiency on any of the following instruments:
    • Guitar (electric or acoustic), bass, keyboard/piano, drums & percussion, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, cello, or violin
  • Ability to read simple music notation, chords, chord charts, and rhythms and familiarity with simple popular music styles is desired
  • Instrumentalists who double as vocalists are especially welcome
  • An appreciation for various musical styles and genres and a willingness to try new musical experiences
  • Experience playing in a small group setting

In addition to answering the questions below, you must also submit a video sample of your work. Please prepare a piece of your choice and record a video of yourself demonstrating your proficiency by playing any of the above-mentioned instruments. Vocalists can feel free to sing with their instrumental accompaniment.

Once you have recorded the video, please upload it to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo and copy and paste the link into your audition form.

Please answer the following questions in the text boxes provided on the application.

  1. Tell us briefly about your experiences in music at school, home, and in workshops/classes.
  2. How do you wish to further your work/skills in music while at ArtsFest?
  3. Why do you want to participate in JCC Maccabi ArtsFest?
  4. Tell us about the piece you chose and why you chose it.
  5. Please list your top three musical influences.
  6. Please provide the link to your video audition.

* For basic instructions to upload a video to YouTube, please click here

2015 Artist in Residence

jnelsonJosh Nelson
Joining us for his ninth summer is Artist in Residence Josh Nelson. Josh is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose work is celebrated and integrated into the repertoire of congregations, camps, and communities around the world. Whether appearing solo or with an elite ensemble of world-class musicians, Josh’s presence and performance style is high-energy and captivating. His music builds community, lifting up congregations and concert audiences alike through experiences that are at once energizing and deeply moving. Classically trained and equally versed in rock, jazz and world music, Josh combines his broad range of influences into a breathtaking musical style that is accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Josh previously served as director of jazz programs and an adjunct professor at Boston University. He performs professionally on as many as 13 different instruments (though not at the same time) he is most widely considered an extraordinary guitarist, pianist, and vocalist.

Recently hailed by Time Magazine as a “star of the New Jewish Music,” Josh is the music director for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial Convention and faculty for the Hava Nashira Music. He also serves as a member of the URJ faculty of expert practitioners, is the recipient of a PresenTense NYC Fellowship, and is an active member of the Schusterman ROI Community. Josh leads High Holiday services at New York’s historic 92nd St. Y, and is the founder and creative director of THEWAREHOUSE, an alternative Shabbat experience for unaffiliated young Jews in major metropolitan areas.

Performance highlights include: International Symphony of Peace Prayers, Mt. Fuji, Japan; March of the Living, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland; South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin, Texas; Limmud Conferences, Warwick, U.K. and Istanbul, Turkey; international conventions for each of the major youth movements in the USA (NFTY, USY, BBYO, etc.); URJ Biennial Conventions; the USCJ Centennial Convention; JCCs of North America Biennial; CAJE conferences; and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Jewish music festivals, synagogues, concert halls, and JCCs across the country. Most recently, Josh entered into an artistic collaboration with Neshama Carlebach, daughter of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (z’’l). Their unprecedented partnership merges two very different Jewish journeys and traditions into a singularly meaningful and uplifting musical experience that brings newfound unity to the Jewish people, both in the Diaspora and Israel. Josh lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his two young sons.