If you recall, Be'eri Moalem (of San Jose State University) was the sole returning contestant this year in the Jews Got Talent contest during Israel in the Gardens. And his return was triumphant. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this year's winner - Be'eri Moalem ! Just in case you missed the live gig, Moalem will gladly recall the experience for you:
- How did you feel on stage this year? Nervous or used to the feeling by now?
Last year I didn't fall asleep at all the night before. This year I slept a good six hours. I was still nervous (backstage, all of the contestants were commenting on how good the adrenaline tastes for lunch) but not nearly as much as last year.
Last year I brought a back-up band of my own with violin, cello, singer (Elana Jagoda, zumgali.com), and drummer. On two or three unpaid rehearsals we had a pretty good sound but my arrangement was too complicated. This year I simplified and played with the back-up band YaRock, who were awesome. They have very tight rhythm, contribute creative ideas, and are very energetic, and professional.
- How did the crowd react? Did you get any positive feedback from the audience or judges?
I loved it when the crowd started clapping in rhythm when I switched to the fast section of the arrangement. The judges called my intonation "impeccable" (though I didn't think it was THAT great), my sound "haunting" and "mighty" and overall "profound, melodic, soulful."
A lot of strangers congratulated and complimented me after the show. That's always nice.
- What did it feel like to win? When do you think you'll use your free Israel trip? Looking forward to anything in particular on that trip?
I was relieved. It was like a pressure lifted off of me rather than an explosion of joy. I am much happier to actually win the first place prize especially after coming so close but failing last year. It was an affirmation of confidence for me to be appreciated for my hard years of practice and study-- that I'm doing the right thing with my life as a musician. I (like most people in this world, I think) am only looking for approval from the world.
Don't get me wrong, the ticket to Israel (worth at least $1,500-$2,000 I figure if I were to buy it myself) is greatly also appreciated and I will definitely use it! I already have plans to go to Israel this summer as part of a tour to Turkey, Greece, and Cypress. I will probably use it next Summer or perhaps over winter break. I have a very big family in Israel (over 60 cousins) so I visit every other year or so.