eteran producer Dovid Nachman Golding hosts a walk down musical memory lane 

Every year around this time of the Three Weeks, I think back to all the Tishah B’Avs I spent at sleepaway camps. I was one of those kids who lived for camp. Every moment of camp was precious to me. In fact, if you were to ask me how I got the incentive to go into Jewish music, I would have to admit it was from my camp days. Obviously, the part of camp I enjoyed the most was color war, and the highlight of color war was always the grand sing. It was so intense and creative. To all those who say “It’s not about winning,” you obviously never attended my camp — it’s interesting that I can still recall the exact lyrics to my camp color war marching song from when I was only seven years old, while I find it difficult to remember where I parked my car this morning.

In 1977, the year I met Suki, we both went to Camp Agudah of Toronto. It was only a four-week camp, so the whole summer was jam-packed. One day, the head counselor approached us, telling us that Suki and I were to be opposing generals in color war. What really flipped us out was, that for the first time in camp history, color war would be during the Nine Days. Honestly, I didn’t really mind that, because Suki had the advantage of being a musical genius, and the fact that we could have no music would possibly tip the scales in my favor.

And so, color war began, the names of the teams appropriately called Galus and Geulah. I was the general of Geulah, which left Suki in Galus. Color war began, and my team was off to a good start. The night of the grand sing finally arrived, and I believed my team was winning and Geulah would finally be here. But then, as usual, Galus persisted. The Galus team had, very cleverly, forgone the regular color war costume and each member had worn shoes without leather, a white shirt, and sang the entire grand sing sitting on the floor, as though in mourning. It had quite the impact. Needless to say, all of Galus’s songs were composed by Suki. The Galus theme song — his “Keili Chish Goali,” which ended up on the first Amudai Shaish album — blew away the competition (me).

Because it was so close to Tishah B’Av, they canceled the comedy portion of the grand sing, and all that was left was to wait to hear who had won. Okay, so I lost that year.

The next night was Tishah B’Av, and everyone in camp was on the same team. Everyone agreed that the achdus that was brought out by the three days of color war made for a much more meaningful fast.

Looking forward to the day that Geulah wins — may it be sooner than we think!

 (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 718)