Eli Gerstner, a man of many hats and talents, is accustomed to being stopped by people he does not know, but who recognize him through his music.
But, when the Flatbush resident spent this past Shabbos in the Five Towns of Long Island, he was practically swamped by curious music fans.
“Throughout the whole Shabbos people were asking me about the competition,” says Gerstner, the new judge on Season Two of “A Jewish Star” singing talent contest.
“Everyone is asking what I think about this or that, what exactly are the prizes, how will the show work and on and on,” related the producer of Yeshiva Boys Choir (YBC), the Chevra and Menucha groups, the Yosis Orchestra and more.
Asked by COLlive.com for his impression of the auditions in the junior competition, Gerstner said: “I haven’t watched any.”
“I’m trying to stay away from even knowing who is auditioning, because I want to be surprised and have a clear mind when I actually see the finalists that the public has chosen.”
In addition to joining YBC, the winner of the junior contest will be receiving 2 flight tickets to Israel with hotel accommodations covered by VIP Israel, $1,000 from Tribul credit-card processing services and a commitment from Aderet / MostlyMusic.com to promote him.
To date, 26 junior contestants have already auditioned from locations such as Australia, Ontario in Canada, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Florida and California and even Washington, DC.
When asked what qualities he looks for when he auditions choir members, Gerstner said: “Good voice, stage presence and the most important factor – aidelkeit.”
What do you mean by that?
“A child who performs must be a Baal Midos. It won’t work any other way. People don’t want to see a boy with an ego. The ego comes through in the voice.”
So a good voice is not all?
“Exactly. We turn down so many kids who try out for YBC who have amazing voices but lack in Aidelkeit. Take Avrohom Fried, for example, he has an amazing stage presence without the ego. And look where he is…”
To view the junior contestants go to AJewishStar.com. Voting will begins on December 29, 2010.
UPDATE: A Jewish Star judge Eli Gerstner will be a guest on the Zev Brenner radio show today at 5:30pm EST. Tune in at TalklineCommunications.com