"I think he never left a wedding without approaching the band to compliment the music and my singing"
Yigal’s concerts made an impression on me as a little kid. I remember his way of explaining the concepts behind the song in a little narration before it was sung. At home, we had a double cassette of the concert that he did in Russia, which I learned by heart.
I used to sing at home, and people told me to join Yigal’s choir, but I was too shy — I never actually had the guts to do it, and I wouldn’t let my mother call up to apply. One summer, in Camp Agudah UK, Avrumi Calek, Yigal’s son, was running color war, and he gave me my first solo on stage. I kept that tape, and it made the rounds, eventually helping to launch my career.
When I started out as a wedding singer, whenever I sang at a simchah in London, Yigal would come over. I think he never left a wedding without approaching the band to compliment the music and my singing. He’d tell me — and of course, my parents — that he could hear the neshamah in my voice, and his endorsement meant a lot to me.
I've gone to Yigal a few times to schmooze about music theory, and he likes to tell me about the importance of peirush hamilos. It’s always inspiring to visit Yigal and sing, and I am ever grateful for the friendship and the inspiration.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 870)
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