Submission #381 by Olam Tikvah Men's Club - Fairfax, VA (1147)

Submission information
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified)
Sun, 2013-05-05 14:11
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Olam Tikvah Men's Club - Fairfax, VA (1147)
Invasion of the Singing Terps
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Club Administration

Page 1

Invasion of the Singing Terps was an evening of Jewish a cappella on November 19, 2011 featuring two well-known student groups from the University of Maryland, the highly acclaimed all women group Mezumenet and the award winning Kol Sasson. As the most elaborate production by the Men’s Club at the synagogue to date, the highly lauded event was a new challenge for club administration and attracted younger members who have since taken on club leadership roles.
The then Immediate past President Bruce Gordon had produced two musical talent shows that attracted 300 hundred patrons each and raised $12,000. The year after his tenure, he produced an evening karaoke and entertainment event that netted $2000. To provide a showcase event for the 2011-2012 program year, he identified a program that would not require labor intensive writing, recruiting talent, rehearsal,etc. and had the inspiration of getting two great singing groups to perform that would enable the club to focus on logistics, ticket sales, and related fundraising (silent auction, raffle sales, journal).

Bruce heard these groups at nearby Adas Israel’s collegiate Jewish a cappella singing competition. Kol Sasson of the U. of Maryland placed second in the competition featuring groups from the East Coast and Midwest. Bruce hit on the idea of getting Kol Sasson and another quality women’s a cappella group from the U. of Maryland, Mezumenet, to provide a full evening event that could attract hundreds and take advantage of Olam Tikvah’s new social hall. The concert would raise the stature of the club, and provide a fresh new program featuring and aimed at younger Jewish people. The congregation’s senior rabbi kvelled and was a huge proponent of the show.

The Men’s Club worked hard on publicity, distributing flyers to area organizations, putting up posters, and creating a page on the synagogue website to distribute in e-mails. The club also secured a centerpiece “Worth the Schlep” feature in the Washington Jewish Week. Boy Scout Troop 1818, chartered by the OT Men’s Club, assisted with ushering and coat check.

The show riffed on the fact that while in the same metro area, people from Maryland and Virginia (separated by the Potomac) see each other as living in different worlds. The event opened with the club president doing shtick with the MC. Sirens sounded. What could that be? Why it’s an invasion. What kind of invasion? Terps. Singing Terps from the University of Maryland. They are here to entertain us. Mezumenet regaled the audience with a mixture of Hebrew and American songs. Songs such as “The Rabbi’s Son” and “One Fine Day” amused and entertained. The club served soft drinks, beer and wine, and snacks at intermission.

Kol Sasson, which performed at the White House for Presidents Bush and Obama, wowed the crowd with a focus on Hebrew melodies, and lively choreography. It was an elevating and entertaining evening, and patrons greatly enjoyed the show. “Seeing young Jewish people like this will help my son see that it can be cool to be Jewish. This will help encourage him to find a Jewish girl,” two parents exclaimed.

Invasion of the Singing Terps attracted 193 people. Due to other synagogue fund raising priorities and the logistical work required to put on the concert, the club was unable to conduct a silent auction or raffle, or obtain sponsors, and therefore the concert netted only a few hundred dollars.

Nevertheless, the club put on a professional show, reaped many benefits for the future, and learned how to conducting a major event. The club saved a couple of thousand dollars by using the talents of its members for organization, hospitality, communications and technology, and future concerts will be much easier to manage.
The club VP in charge of Communications put together flyers and posters, and rigged a top quality sound system with equipment borrowed from various members and his own supplies. In order to attract younger people he created an on-line payment system (with PayPal), the first time ticket sales for any synagogue event were available through the web. (A side effect of this was that the synagogue administration was inspired to begin using PayPal much more for events and fundraising).

Page 2

Self Assessment
The event was a major success in building the club’s image, providing a night of ruach, and attracting younger men. The co-producer, a former collegiate Jewish a cappella performer himself in his mid-30’s, joined the club in order to participate. He is now club 2nd VP in charge of membership. The shift in focus also helped attract the current club President (in his mid-40’s) to take the job, and helped the club recruit its 40-year-old, highly skilled Secretary to the board. Men’s Club was no longer a bunch of old men eating lox and bagels at a brunch. It had become a venue for innovation, and a place for generations of men and their families to interact, become friends and to learn from each other. To be sure, it enriched our community in many ways and brought many people together.

Invasion of the Singing Terps helped focus the club on being more cohesive to realize its goals. As a result of the modest financial results, club board members are more open to accepting the leadership of others within the club and from the larger FJMC. Fundraising in the following year has improved dramatically.

Impact on the Club:The show led to the increase in younger club members. It increase the club’s stature within the community.
Effects on the FJMC and Leadership, Innovation and Community: By bringing younger men into the club, they are now exposed to other elements of the region and the FJMC. Younger men are attending our Blue Yarmulke Man of the Year events, regional retreat, and convention. This event can be considered the pivotal point when the club became more attractive to more younger men. Since then, the leadership of younger men has changed the tone of programming to make the club more relevant. Over time, we will see these younger men succeed current leaders in the FJMC.
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