The JCC Maccabi ArtsFest Showcase will feature young musicians from all across the country and world performing in Rock Band.

Photography by Jessie Cohen

In the basement of the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit in West Bloomfield, young musicians from all over the country and the world will be practicing for their performances at the JCC Maccabi and ArtsFest Showcase on Thursday, Aug. 8.

In the far corner of the basement is the Rock Band portion of the competition. Fifteen musicians are participating and have been split up into two smaller groups. The groups will select and practice two or three songs to perfect for their performance.

Among these musicians is Ian Kraft, 14, of Farmington Hills. It’s his first year participating in Maccabi’s ArtsFest, but Kraft knows what to expect thanks to his older brother who participated in years past.

“Maccabi just seemed like such a fun experience and I wanted to try it out,” Kraft said.

In the competition, Kraft will be playing electric guitar, but he also plays acoustic guitar, piano, drums, clarinet and saxophone.

Maccabi ArtsFest Showcase participants Jessie Cohen

Josh Nelson is the Artist in Residence for the Rock Bands and has been involved with Maccabi for 11 years. As a touring musician from Brooklyn, Nelson always takes the week of the games out of his busy schedule to mentor aspiring musicians.

“Seeing kids choose this as a career or an important extracurricular is so rewarding. A lot of these kids do go on to become professional musicians,” Nelson said.

Nelson often keeps in contact with the musicians he meets at Maccabi and loves to see them grow up, go into music and have families.

The Rock Bands will be performing at the Berman Theater between 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8. You must have Maccabi credentials to see the showcase.

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