Schmooze-a-Palooza is an annual music festival held by University of Colorado Boulder’s Hebrew program. The epic bash utilizes talent from students, faculty and alumni to create a masterpiece that makes us all want to dance. The festival’s director, Professor Eyal Rivlin, utilizes the show as an alternative teaching tool sharing, “music is the best way to learn a new language”. Routinely the performance incorporates a modern twist on classic Hebrew music with creative and humorous names such as “Heavy Shtetel” and “Jew-grass”.
The festival kicked off eight years ago with the intended purpose of supporting language acquisition while having fun. After all there is no better way to get words stuck in your head than singing a catchy song. Eyal explains “Students in 20 years from now may not remember how to conjugate Hebrew verbs, but they’ll remember what they sang and performed together. The Schmooze-a-Palooza has also been an incredible way to build community.” The festival did more for students than an exam or project ever could, which led to its continuing reoccurrence.
The past few years and this year’s performance were complicated, however, due to the pandemic. Alas the show must go on and organizers were forced to get creative with showcasing, limited by a virtual stage. Eyal shares one of the biggest obstacles, “30 some videos you need to edit…a whole logistical piece, it was very complex!” However, a silver lining to the transition arises from the permanence and availability of the performance online. The stark difference allowed students “an opportunity to share their hard work with friends and family around the world.”
This year the Hebrew program decided to perform a hip hop rendition of Hayeladim Koftsim by popular Israeli musicians, Roi Levy and Avraham Tal of Shotei Hanevuah. Nothing short of a success, the performance beautifully showcased the song with students, staff and alumni tasked with being the choir and Eyal Riviln shredding the chords on electric guitar. Eyal shares the success of this performance was because “everyone showed up in their hip hop persona”.
Schmooze-a-palooza has gracefully overcome the obstacle of COVID-19 and continues to offer students and audiences a performance they will never forget. Above all else the show’s value lies within what it offers students, giving them a ‘“life long memory” and “building community” outside of the classroom walls.
Link to this years performance.