Hanukkah is less than a month away, beginning this year on the evening of December 8, and the first original Hanukkah video of the season just premiered. Appropriately titled “Get Lit” and performed by Cleveland’s FC Band, it’s truly a special, well-timed holiday treat.
FC stands for Friendship Circle, a longtime Chabad initiative that creates meaningful connection for children with disabilities across the country through a myriad of programs. The FC Band, which features teens with and without disabilities, was started by one of our favorite Jewish musicians, Yosef Peysin of Rogers Park, which describes itself as the only Hasidic folk band. Peysin is a program director at Friendship Circle, and he worked on the song with his bandmate, Mordy Kurtz, who is also featured in the video.
“‘Get Lit’ is a change, you make a change and that’s what we’re doing,” Peysin says in the video.
Peysin started the band in 2021, and it’s filled with young talent — including Alan Vaytsman (piano and vocals), Josh Schoenbrun (percussion and drums), Kevin Teplitzki (bass) and Alex Waldbaum (vocals). You can see them talk about the music and what the band means to them in the video, but honestly, their song and talent absolutely speaks for itself.
“You haters may hate but I’m still here to stay,” Vaytsman sings while playing the piano. “There’s love in my heart and I’ve got lots to share.” The lyrics of the song feel especially timely right now, as we are dealing with the aftermath of the October 7 attack on Israel and the war in Gaza, a time full of isolation and darkness for so many of us. As the chorus says:
“When darkness surrounds you, no need to submit
Though it may seem heavy you need just a bit
Of light from your friends to make the darkness split
Guess what, (what?) guess what, (what?) it’s gonna get lit.”
“I never thought I would be in a band, but having these bandmates kind of makes me feel like I could do anything,” percussionist Josh Schoenbrun says in the video.
“You can turn a dark, depressing room into a senior prom,” Schoenbrun sweetly adds. “It’s great, powerful,” vocalist Alex Waldbaum concurs (and I do, too!). Watching these teens perform with Peysin and the other musicians, it’s clear that they find pure joy in the music that they’re making.
This incredibly catchy song is all about spreading light and dispersing the darkness — perfect for Hanukkah and for sharing our pride as Jews and individuals. I can’t wait to hear what the FC Band does next.