By Yossi Zweig
On February 23, at the Colden Center in Queens College, the National Council of Young Israel in conjunction with the Queens Jewish Community Council presented a pre-Purim celebration. The show had some of the biggest names in the business such as Avraham Fried, Lipa, Michoel Pruzansky, the New York Boys Choir, Nachas, and Choir by Zemiros. More than 1,300 people came to show their support for these amazing organizations and to hear their favorite artists. Every singer brought his “A” game. The show opened with Nachas singing his hit single “Ah Simcha!” which will be released soon as a remix music video.
Next on the docket was Yitzy Bald’s New York Boys Choir. Lipa was having such a good time watching them backstage that he couldn’t help but jump up and down. Yitzy and the choir performed two songs from their debut album, One Day by Matisyahu and a brand-new song entitled “Pump It Up,” which Yitzy said will be released in the near future.
Then came Lipa at his best. He did “Noideh” from his new album Dus Pintele, then “Abi Meleipt,” and finished his set with “Hentelech.” The crowd, band, and even performers backstage were buzzing with the energy of Lipa’s performance. No one could get enough. It was clear that the party had started.
Then it was Pruz time. Michoel Pruzansky made his way to the stage and opened up the Yitzy Bald hit song “Shteig.” Pruz was on top of his game, and the audience knew it. Next Michoel slowed things down with his well-known ballad “Piha Poscho” and closed his set with the megahit “Zeh Lozeh.” You could feel the electricity in the air. People kept asking when Pruz’s next album would be out. It seems that in the two years since the release of MP3 people want more Pruz.
Now it was time to kick things into gear. Yossi introduced my favorite performer of all time—Avraham Fried. What a class act. Avremel opened up with his hit song from the ’80s, “Forever One,” and the Zemiros Choir, led by Yoel Polatseck, did a phenomenal job backing him up. Next was the hit song “Hofachto” followed by a story and a berachah for all with “Bentch.” A young kid joined Avremel onstage to sing “Bentch,” and your heart couldn’t help but melt. Avremel closed his set with an oldie, “Im Yehudi Hashem Yodeah,” and the crowd went wild.
After intermission things got started up again by Michoel Pruzansky with the supersong “Tasseh Mitzvah,” and then slowed down with the gut-wrenching “You’re Watching Me.” However, one of the highlights of the evening was when Michoel debuted a new song from his upcoming album called “Rak Rega.” That was when everyone got out of their seats and danced in the aisles. After hearing that song, I cannot wait for his new album slated for a summertime release.
Lipa was back on the stage and we wanted more. Lipa performed “Ohev Shalom” from his new album, followed by “Hang Up the Phone.” Then the New York Boys Choir joined Lipa onstage to perform and dance Mizrach. It was something to see.
Now it was Avremel’s turn again, and the jacket was off. He started off with Beri Weber’s hit “Chabadsker Niggun,” which went into “Rak Tefilla” and ended with the English song he has yet to release as a recording, “Let the Fire Take You Higher.” The entire audience was clapping, stomping, and just smiling. We were all b’simcha. Then Avremel called Lipa and Pruz to join him onstage for “Heimo Heimo” and the three ended singing Lipa’s “Pintele Yid.” Before you knew it, it was time for the finale and Nachas and the New York Boys Choir joined everyone onstage for a Purim medley. v