On the dangers of being a singer at weddings

I’m not sure if I could be insured for this type of situation, but it happens all to often. Maybe playing in a cage would be safer.

Hat tip to frusk

You can picture the scene. Benny Friedman was invited to do a guest spot by both Mechutonim/Chosson-Kalla. It’s not cheap. He starts, together with the existing singer, and all of a sudden an overweight “holy man” who can’t cope with the “modernishe” sound of the song, keeps approaching and eventually takes the microphones away.

מי שמך לראש?

Who gave him the right. No, he wasn’t a Mechutan. He was a guest from Israel who felt that, like many extremist Charedim he had the right to dictate what could or could not be played.

It is a very horrible situation to be in. In my case, it’s even worse, because my band are Nochrim and they see it as grossly unacceptable and unprofessional—read, חילול השם ברבים

I have had my share of these “situations”. The most infamous one was where I met with Chasan and Kallah and one Mechutan and went through what should/should not be played. I followed it to the letter. I have always done so. I proffer advice, but at the end of the day, it is the client who chooses. Suddenly, while playing a Shwekey Mizrachi style song, I was approached by a group of angry zealots, who turned out to be the Mechutan from overseas (a highly extreme and opinionated Rosh Yeshivah, and his Hefty holy sons). They tried to pull out the electrical chords. I asked them to confer with the other Mechutan and to come back, but he was having nothing of it.

I don’t know how I stayed cool, but I gracefully stopped the bracket, and tried to explain later that Shwekey was far from a Goy, but nothing helped.

Ah, for the old days. Holocaust survivors had another approach. They used to come up to the band stage waving $100 bills and asking whether we could play a particular song next. Suffice it to say that I never took the money, and always played within the rules provided to me. I told them to speak to the Mechutanim first.

Indeed, I played at a wedding last week, and someone wanted me to do something extra and brandished some $100 bills. I told him to give them to Tzedaka, but I’d do as I was professionally bound to do.

What should that Ferd (horse) who attacked Benny Friedman have done? If he was a mentch and didn’t like the song, he should have gone to the foyer, eaten a few more knishes and come back.

You might be giggling, but I can tell you, it’s a horrible scene. Everyone has an opinion. Only one opinion counts, however, and that is the Mechutanim in concert with Chosson Kallah.

One of my acquaintances in New York, has gone as far as specifying a contract which states that nobody is permitted to approach the band stage with their narishe requests except through the Mechutonim. I’m not sure if that helps, but it’s another approach.

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