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Since the prophetic days of Moses and Abraham, the Jewish community has known that nothing of value is ever acquired with ease. So those participating in this Saturday's awesomely named LollapaJewza Festival should brace themselves for an exercise in brutality. With six bands competing for a chance at a "really good but not yet confirmed" prize as well as bragging rights around the synagogue, becoming the "Chosen Ones" will prove a hard-fought victory.
"The kids came up with it," Jamie Sisto, the Jewish Teen Initiative Program coordinator, explains while giggling about the name. First, the teen promoters sent out e-mail blasts to more than 1,200 other Jewish teens in the area, hyping up the auditions. When they got enough bands together, "five of the kids formed a panel, complete with judging sheets, and wrote their comments down." Their word became law, and of the seven auditioning bands, four contenders where selected to advance while the other three were sent home, reportedly with no dessert.
J.B. Corey is the lead singer and lone Jewish member of the Palm Beach Gardens band Good Night Moon. LollapaJewza aside, the five-piece has already wrangled a sizable local fan base, including nearly 1,200 friends on its MySpace page and an opening slot at last year's Buzz Bake Sale, and it's helped raise more than $50,000 for charities since its formation. "All of us put our band on our college applications; actually, as one of our prime credentials," Corey says about trying to balance everyday adolescent stuff with a possible music career. As the token Hebrew, it was Corey's job to sell the battle to the rest of the band. Although some of the gentiles objected at first, what they quickly discovered is that this melee is going down at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, not just at some gymnasium, and that the organizers' goal is to help promote all of the local acts involved. "We thought, what a great chance to play for people who usually don't go to shows and/or haven't seen us before," Corey says. And that kind of exposure is ideal for a group that, in addition to gearing up for prom and college, is also releasing and shopping around its first CD, The Hollow Citadel. But don't think it's going to be a cake walk for Good Night Moon. It's going to need a lot more than chutzpah to challenge reggae/rock artist Brandon Sollins, underdog group Fens-Less, and the show's true dark-horse candidate: Dark Horse Ca didate. Jamie Laughlin
LollapaJewza gets started at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 24, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-640-0700, or visit www.jewishpalmbeach.org/lolla.