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 and your peers will form a band and learn what it takes to make it successful. Finish off your week by rocking out and performing live at the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest® Final Showcase for your peers from JCC Maccabi® – the grand finale of  ArtsFest.

Introducing our 2019 Rock Band AIR – Josh Nelson (Returning)

One of the most popular performers and composers in modern Jewish music, Josh Nelson brings his extraordinary message of hope, unity and spirituality to concert stages and worship services across the globe. 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.

A classically trained musician who is 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, where he is currently completing a doctoral degree in music. While he performs professionally on as many as thirteen 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, faculty for the Hava Nashira Music Institute, and a musical artist in residence for the JCC Maccabi Artsfest. He also serves as a member of the URJ Faculty of Expert Practitioners, is the recipient of a PresentenseNYC 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. In 2014, Josh was cast in the starring role of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach for the NYC off-Broadway revival of Soul Doctor.

Performance highlights include: International Symphony of Peace Prayers, Mt. Fuji, Japan; March of the Living, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland; South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin, TX; Limmud Conferences, Warwick, UK 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; JCCA National Conventions; JCC Maccabi Games; CAJE Conferences; and Jewish music festivals, synagogues, concert halls, and JCCs across the country.

Josh lives in Brooklyn, NY with his two young sons and a goldfish named Dorothy.

Audition Requirements – Rock Band 2019

What are we looking for?

  • An intermediate level of instrumental proficiency on any of the following instruments (as an example):
    •  Guitar (electric or steel string), bass, keyboard/piano, drums/percussion
  • Ability to read simple music notation, chords, chord charts, and rhythms
  • Familiarity with simple popular music styles
  • 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 should sing with their instrumental accompaniment. Preference will be given to vocalists who also play an instrument.

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