The Music Goes On and On

The Music Goes On and On


Dear Jonah,

We’re working on the 10th Jonah Maccabee Concert, and it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this now for a decade. After you died and we began thinking about how we wanted to honor and remember you, the concert was an easy choice. You loved music. You loved Jewish music. You loved your temple. You loved doing good for others. And despite how much you tormented Aiden through the years, you loved doing nice things for your family.

The concert – which brings contemporary Jewish music to Woodlands, and helps kids get to URJ summer programs whose families wouldn’t otherwise be able to send them – seemed like a perfect avenue for carrying your memory forward.

It was, and it still is. Ten years later, we continue making music and sending kids to camp – because of you. Not because you died, but because of what you loved while you lived.

Rick Recht (coming 3/9/19)

This year, we’re bringing in the inimitable Rick Recht, a fabulous Jewish singer-songwriter who always puts on a great show. He’ll be joined by Elana Arian, also immensely talented and who joins nearly everybody playing your concert. I don’t know what you have on her, JoJo, but keep it up.

I asked Rick if he’d ever met you. He responded, “Oh my gosh – totally! Jonah ran screen projections the last time I visited y’all at WCT. Such a sweetheart! And we shared a beautiful Shabbos dinner at your home that night. I also met Jonah a couple times before that at camp. Really sweet memories!”

Rick is an old friend of both Mom’s and mine who’s not only been making great music for many, many years, but he’s built up Jewish Rock Radio, a global online music fest, and Songleader Boot Camp, which trains the next generation of songleaders.

Rick is talented, kind, and generous. Yep, he reminds me of you.

So Is Life @ Jonah Concert 2018

Whenever the Jonah Maccabee Concert takes place, I think of how often I’d wanted to do something like this but could never figure out how. It simply blows my mind that you are the reason this happens, both the music and our ability to help so many kids get to camp. I once wrote to a friend that this was your “final and lasting gift to us all.” But I was wrong. You’ve never stopped sending gifts our way. We never know when one will show up, and it’s often a friend of yours who brings it to us, whose life you’d touched and they reach out to let us know that your friendship changed them forever. From wherever your gift comes, it is so incredibly precious when it arrives. And amazingly, they just keep on coming!

Noah Aronson @ Jonah Concert 2017 (and yep, Elana Arian on the right)

This concert, and the privilege of producing it each year, the people who surround us and carry us both in its planning and at the event itself — I marvel that you caused all of this, that you found such a clever, sneaky way to live on, to fill others with your heart and spirit, and to let us know that just because you’re no longer physically among us, your love will always find its way to us.

Making music @ UB (2008)

That’s a pretty grand thing you do, boy-o. Just when we think you’re nowhere to be found, you show up and you wrap us in all this love. You loved doing nice things for your family, and this one scores pretty high on that list.

Truth be told, Jonah Maccabee concerts were going on for a long time before we started doing them at Woodlands. You loved an audience, JoJo. You loved sharing what you had with others, especially your music. You loved giving whatever you could, sometimes while others watched and sometimes with others starring right alongside you.

In that sense, this will be more like the 1000th Jonah Maccabee concert, and I’ve delighted in watching every one of them.

Love you forever,

“Gifts Given and Received” is our December 2018 Campaign. Please help us help kids build whole, healthy lives. Send your contribution to today. Thank you!

BillyThe Music Goes On and On


Join the conversation
  • Rene Katersky - December 24, 2018 reply

    Always in awe of your inspiring words…and your meaningful good work in honor of Jonah.

    Guess it is time for me to restock my supply of “So Is Life” CDs which I love sharing with others.

    With appreciation…and best wishes for continued meaning and joyful living in 2019.

    xoxo to all the Dreskins

  • Barbara Barrett - December 13, 2018 reply

    So glad we reconnected on facebook. What a wonderful tribute to your son. He sounds like he was an incredible young man. Love to Ellen. Happy holidays.

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