By Yosef Rosenfield, Features Editor
On Sunday, February 28, I will be livestreaming a solo concert, titled “Road to Recovery,” via Zoom. It will be my seventh musical performance as a music major at Yeshiva College, featuring an opening set of mostly original songs followed by a closing set with original-lyric covers of songs by contemporary artists. The “double concert” is meant to make up for the in-person performances that I was unable to have during the Spring and Fall 2020 semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as I have already earned one “Performance: Chamber Music” credit for each of those two terms. Like at my previous solo concerts (at Schottenstein Theatre on the Wilf Campus), I will be performing my setlist on vocals, guitar and piano. The show will be open to the public, as always, and has been scheduled for 4 p.m. EST to accommodate viewers in distant time zones and make it easier for them to virtually attend.
During the first half of the concert, I will be playing eight original songs that tell the story of my emotional journey — from anxiety to ecstacy — between November 2018 and May 2019. The lyrics of “I Wanna Do Better” convey a sense of tremendous spiritual guilt and a longing to improve religiously (“…escaped the truth and chased the lies / I am a sinner in disguise / But I wanna do better”). The concert’s title track, “Road to Recovery,” discusses repeated failure to correct those internal issues, while simultaneously recognizing that “when you’ve hit rock bottom, there ain’t nowhere else to fall.” The song also confronts personal struggles with alcohol abuse (“Beer cans and empty bottles / Couldn’t stay out of trouble”), lingering feelings of remorse (“Teardrops on guilty blankets / I said I couldn’t take it”) and suicidality (“It’s way too early to end this journey / That I don’t understand”). The emotionally charged narrative concludes triumphantly with “Prove Myself Wrong,” where I acknowledge through my own homiletic interpretation of Psalms 145:16 that God has provided the tools that each of us needs to overcome our individualized life challenges. Between the first and second set, there will be a brief intermission during which the audience can ask questions, submit song requests or simply get up and stretch for a few minutes.
The second half of the concert will be dedicated to archived songs that I wrote back in high school — melodies written by other artists that I used for my own lyrical compositions. For example, I wrote a song called “Web of Lies” to the tune of “Why Try” by Ariana Grande about being exposed to the apparent disloyalty among even the closest of my high school friends. I also covered Sabrina Carpenter’s “On Purpose” and wrote new words addressing the cryptic approach I often take to songwriting, naming my version “None of Your Business.” My song “Socially Handicapped” is a cover of “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes; it comments on the common generational and cultural gap that sometimes prevents high school teachers from fully connecting with their students. The final song on the setlist, “Just the Same” (cover of “Hold On for Dear Love” by Bridgit Mendler), expresses my profound gratitude to my parents and Father in Heaven (God) for their unconditional love, and vows to pass on that same unconditional love to my own children.
Audience members will have multiple opportunities to send in special requests for me to sing and play on guitar/piano. The official date for my eighth and final YU concert will be announced toward the end of the show, and I will stay on the Zoom meeting afterward to answer any questions related to the setlist and/or YU’s music department. I look forward to seeing you virtually on February 28 at 4 p.m. EST.