Who the Folk?! Tamar Rosenberg

Tamar Rosenberg is a senior studying anthropology at the University of Minnesota. She’s the president of the Minnesota Chai Notes A Cappella. See them perform this Friday at Maroon and Gold Shabbat at TCF Bank Stadium.

How did the Chai Notes come to be?
It started in 2014 when Shira Lavintman decided that she wanted to make a Jewish a cappella group on campus. She thought that it would be good to have not just a regular student group, but also a group that reaches out to the community. Our first performance was at the Sholom Home and it’s been nice to just reach out to the broader St. Paul and Minneapolis communities — that’s where we’ve done most of our events!

How did you get involved?
I’ve always loved singing. Shira and Briana Lavintman were talking about how they were starting this new a cappella group. I think I’d already missed auditions, but they told me to come to their first rehearsal and we clicked, so I got involved! Now we’re a bit more structured with auditions, but that was at the very beginning.

Do you have a best memory as a Chai Notes member?
My favorite thing we’ve done as the Chai Notes was this past year when we sang at the Israel rally on campus. We sang Shir l’Shalom, which is a call for peace. That was really meaningful to me. Music is something that can bring everyone together, no matter what your cultural background is or what your religion is. Singing Shir l’Shalom with all of the Chai Notes around me in front of this huge crowd of people that were all supporting this same cause for peace was really impactful, and I was happy the Chai Notes got to be part of that.

How do the Chai Notes work together?
Even though I’m the president, we make all our decisions together. If you come up with a song you want to do and if the group agrees on it, you teach it to the group and get to be the music director for the song. It’s nice, everyone has something to bring to the table other than just their voice and their presence. Before Chai Notes, I wasn’t so involved in the Jewish community, and this gave me immediate connections.

What are you working on now?
Right now, we’re prepping for Maroon and Gold Shabbat. We’re really excited! We’re giving classic Shabbat songs a cappella twists. We’re also preparing for Chai Lights, which is on April 30, and that’s going to be our big showcase event at Hillel. We’ll be breaking Passover, so it’ll be a fun event.

What makes the Chai Notes Jewish?
We’re an all-inclusive group, so you don’t need to be Jewish to be in it, but we do a lot of performances within the Jewish community. We’re based on the Jewish value that you should give back to the community. Whether it’s at a school or a nursing home, we’re lending our voices to make people happier and bring life to people.

The Maroon and Gold Shabbat is open to the community and free for students. Register to attend or sponsor a student here.

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