The Yavneh Academy choir had the honor and privilege of singing the national anthem on the field at Citi Field on Tuesday, September 13, to open the Mets game.
As one of the proud Yavneh choir parents who attended the event, it was amazing for me to watch the kids take their place on the field and deliver a beautiful performance with such poise—and beautiful harmonies—in front of the large crowd. The energy and thrill of the moment was felt throughout our entire section, where all the Yavneh families were sitting together.
Yavneh’s Musical Director Marsha Motzen worked hard to prepare the kids, and it showed: “We had a group of 29 [children] at Citi Field, who learned parts on their own all summer and came into school to practice two weeks before school began. We put in hours of practice for a minute and 10 seconds of glory. And it’s worth every second. The look on their faces when they walked us out to the field was priceless. Those kids will never forget this.”
The choir members felt the excitement and energy of the moment, and they let it feed their performance. Rebecca Antonenko shared what I’m sure many were feeling. “It was a little scary at first, but it was so much fun.”
Mia Vogel felt “so excited when we were walking through the halls. We felt so important and special—it was great.”
Robbie Heiss couldn’t believe his luck: “It was so surreal that my shoes touched Citi Field dirt, that I sang in front of a crowd of tens of thousands of people, including fan favorite Major League Baseball players. It was an experience of a lifetime that most people don’t get, so I’m very lucky to have done it.”
“It was almost unreal watching thousands of people while my friends and I were standing there singing,” shared Ayelet Liben.
Eli Siesser said: “The song started and I sang my heart out. When we finished, thunderous applause was heard throughout the stadium. And then it was over. So much preparation for only a minute or so—the best minute of my life.”
Eli’s father, Ron Siesser, was so moved by the “huge moment for Yavneh,” he wrote to Motzen: “Thank you for everything … From the basement of a French monastery dressed as a monk 80 years ago, Eli’s great-grandfather could have never imagined watching a group of Jewish children salute this great country on his phone as he did last night. We all recognized the enormity of the moment and the memory will stay with us forever.”
Indeed, it was an unforgettable night, and many thanks go out to Motzen and to Chaim Sussman for helping to organize all the details so the family and friends in attendance could cheer on the kids—and the Mets.
By Michal Rosenberg