HISTORY OF KOL HALAYLA
Where the Vocal Journey Began
The Voice of the Knight began its inaugural year in 1995 originally under the name Koleinu. Koleinu was Rutgers University's first co-ed a cappella group. However, the next year the group changed its name to Kol Halayla. Led by music director, Ari Yares, the group began arranging a repertoire that was both fun to listen to and a joy to perform.
Some sources for our songs come from the Siddur (the Jewish prayer book) and the Torah (bible). Some other arrangements come from traditional and popular music, both in Hebrew and in English. The first ever song learned by KH was Yah Ribon.
During the 96-97 school year, the group performed in a number of concerts. Besides performing for Rutgers Hillel, Kol Halayla sang at the State Capitol Building in Trenton for a Kristalnacht Commemoration and at the State Theater in New Brunswick for the Safam concert.
In 2001, Kol Halayla took a step in a new direction, becoming directed by professional Anna West Ott. During her tenure, the group grew in member numbers greatly, having 24 members. Up until the 98-99 school year, Kol Halayla was a Hillel affiliated group. However, in this year we decided to become a student-directed Rutgers group.
Throughout the years, Kol Halayla has performed in many exciting venues including the Jewish Collegiate Festival of Performing Arts, Beatachon, Seeds of Son, many Rutgers University events, events for local synagogues, the Jewish A Cappella Festival, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and with many a cappella groups from the Rutgers community and from around the world! Since 1997, Kol Halayla has run the annual Jewish A Cappella retreat, Shabbat A Cappella. In 2003, Shabbat A Cappella became an international event, when we welcomed "Varsity Jews" from the University of Toronto!
Now in our 24th year, Kol Halayla has already released five CD's: "All Day, All Night" (1999), "Ma Nishtana Kol Halayla Hazeh" (2001), "Fiddling Wthout a Fiddle" (2005), "The Scarlet Knight Rises" (2013), and "Sleepless Knights" (2018). Our song Zodiac, which is featured on "Fiddling Without a Fiddle," can be heard on the Best of Jewish Collegiate A Cappella (BOJAC) vol. 1 in 2006 and "Million Kochavim" is featured on BOJAC vol. 3 in 2012. Our songs "Joongle" and "One Waving Flag Day" are featured on BOJAC vol. 4 (2015).
We are currently working on our sixth CD (!); to make a donation or purchase any of our CDs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!