Melbourne prepares for Yom Ha’atzmaut

April 24, 2012 by Elly Shalev
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Yom Ha’atzmaut in Melbourne is set to be the largest and most vibrant double-event on offer to the community. 

With 2 events over 2 days – the community Concert followed the next day by a festival celebration at Luna Park – you will not want to miss a minute of the fun for Israel’s 64th birthday….and tickets are selling quickly.

Spike Levy

On the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Wednesday 25 April, concert goers at St Kilda’s National Theatre will be treated to an all-encompassing musical experience from the moment they enter the venue.

“We are going back to a traditional format for this year’s Concert – more popular and new Israeli music, more fantastic local talent on stage. It’s the Yom Ha’atzmaut Concert we all know and love with some surprises along the way to keep everyone entertained” said first-time producer and Zionist Council of Victoria executive director Jane Rapke.

Vered Harel

Organisers, the ZCV, together with partners JNF & UIA Victoria are planning an outstanding musical event, featuring a range of the most talented musicians and vocalists currently in Melbourne, complemented by 35 choreographed dancers and inspiring visuals of the rhythm of Israeli life.

With expert musical direction by Starr and accompanied by the live Yom Ha’atzmaut band and vocal ensemble, performers Nissim Ben-Salamon, Jemma Cher, Haran Drori, Matan Franco, Vered Harel, Galit Klas, Spike Levy, Edward Lichtig, Emily Lubitz, Yarden Raz, Rita Satch and Marshall Voit will be sure to entertain and create a special Yom Ha’atzmaut atmosphere and buzz.

“An incredible range of talent will be performing on one stage on this one special night” said long-time musical director Adam Starr. Taylor (Galit) Klas who has worked extensively in performing arts, has just won Best Actress at the Short+Sweet Sydney 2012 festival gala awards. Singer/songwriter and violinist in the jazz scene Rita Satch who first performed on the Yom Ha’atzmaut stage as a teen; accomplished performer and pianist Matan Franco and soulful singer Nissim Ben-Salamon can be called veterans of the event. Others like, Tinpan Orange front woman Emily Lubitz; Israeli songstress Vered Harel; Haran Drori who has recently performed in New York, and Spike Levy, a member of Israel’s acclaimed performance group Mayumana, will be making their debut on Melbourne’s Yom Ha’atzmaut stage.

The Concert’s youngest performer is 8 year old Tess Wexler, in Grade 2 at Mount Scopus College. Through her submission of an original song to the “GhettoBlasterz – Kochav Nolad” song competition hosted by the Australian Jewish News, Tess came to the attention of event organizers and was chosen by Adam Starr to perform on the Yom Ha’atzmaut stage.

Rounding out the newcomers are: passionate singer/songwriter Yarden Raz who together with her sister Carmel won Best Vocals and the Most Popular performers at last year’s “Kochav Nolad” young talent competition; southern Californian native Marshall Voit who has been performing since the age of 10; 11 year old Jemma Cher who has a sincere love of all things musical and Edward Lichtig, the youngest vocals finalist at last year’s Kochav Nolad competition who wowed the audience with his guitar performance.

The following day on Thursday 26 April, Luna Park is the place to be between 4.00 and 7.00pm for the Yom Ha’atzmaut family festival.
After the positive feedback from last year’s event, the ZCV have set their sights on giving the event an even greater authentic Israeli feel.

Apart from the popular rides for tots, families and thrill seekers, the young and young at heart will be able to enjoy more food stalls including local favourite Falafel Omisi, authentic pita making, coffee (a must for parents in order to keep warm and up with kids’ excitement levels!) and more fun outdoor stalls, activities, music and dancing. New Jewish internet radio J-Air will add to the vibe, pumping out Israeli tunes.

Festival highlights are being planned for all ages: for pre-schoolers and primary children, a flag parade will be held around the Carousel at 5pm. For parents and grandparents, Luna Park’s indoor function space the Luna Palace will be transformed into a “Buy Israeli” market, where Israeli products available locally – including food, jewellery, fashion, beauty products, Judaica and gifts, will be available to browse and purchase.

Some stall space at the “Buy Israeli” market is still available and interested businesses should contact Elly Shalev at the ZCV office to secure a spot as soon as possible.

ZCV President Sam Tatarka said “This year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut Concert sees a return to a celebration of Israel through music and dance, light and sound that will both inspire and entertain.  The Luna Park festival on the next night will be an opportunity for all in the community to come together in a fun and informal atmosphere as we mark this year’s 64th birthday. These are 2 days of fun you won’t want to miss.”

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