from the Camp Harlam Chai-lites June, 2007...

Alumni Spotlight: Family Junction

Five Questions with Camp Harlam alumni: Alan Cohen, Seth Kroll, Dan Levine, Ryan Pressman and Matt Ross, who in the Spring of 2002 formed the experimental rock band, Family Junction. Since their formation, Family Junction has successfully toured the Northeast (selling out venues in New York City and Boston), and is set to release their second album, Running Trains (we're huge in Japan), a double disc CD/DVD combo at the end April. They even find time to make it back to camp every summer to play K'farahpaloozah.

Michelle: When was your first summer at camp?
Alan: The New Jersey half (Seth and I) started in 1993 in Sharon.
Ryan: Us New Yorkers (Dan, Matt, and I) started in Galil in 1997.
Seth: We all wworked as staff in various combinations from 2001-2004.

Michelle: How did you all meet?
Dan: Matt and I lived up the street from one another, and have been friends since nursery school. We knew Ryan from Hebrew school, but did not become friends until he and I shared a bunk-bed in Galil.
Alan: Seth and I also grew up together as neighbors in Princeton Junction, and continued as bunkmates at Harlam.
Dan: The joining of the two families began during Maccabiah '98, second session. The combination of my lack of knowing hot to play most sports and Seth's competitiveness cumulated with us butting heads and shoving each other during a game of softball, which continued the next day during a vicious game of ultimate frisbee. The disc was down, we exchanged pushes and luckily counselors quickly intervened. Two weeks later at my first NFTY-GER event, a mutual friend (and Harlam alumna, Jill Finklestein), not knowing our previous encounter, introduced us. She said she thought we would be good friends, so we shrugged our shoulders and shook hands. This friendship begat the foundations of the Family Junction, and soon Seth and Matt met, and Alan wooed Ryan (they were GER songleaders together)...
Ryan: ...and we all lived happily ever after.

Michelle: What is your favorite camp memory?
Seth: The summer of 2002, when we were all working on staff together, Jake Klensin (who does the commentary track on our upcoming DVD) and I were charged with producing "The Voices of Harlam 2002." We had lots of campers, staff and guests record songs for it, but some of the most fun recording sessions were when Alan, Dan and Ryan were in the studio arranging pieces for other artists and recording their own songs. Camp creates such a unique environment for campers and staff to be creative, and this was our first collective adventure into recording music.

Michelle: How has camp influenced your taste in music?
Dan: Camp is like a constant listening party, and the counselors are the DJs. It was Dan Medwin playing Phish, Jon Frankle blasting Prince, and various campers and counselors jamming on the steps of the bunks or during talent shows. To this day, we have played shows with fellow alumni who were our counselors - and some who were our campers.

Michelle: How are you still involved with camp?
Ryan: Even though we eventually got older and stopped attending camp, we still remain extremely close with friends made over the years at Harlam. In fact, many of them are in the DVD of our soon-to-be-released album.
Alan: Like you, Michelle, and your cousin Jill, and Rachel Medwin, Beth Kanofsky, Avi Wisnia, Brad Cohen, Caroline Kallman, Shira Rosenwald...
Matt: ...and Randy Pressman and Mike Levine from that younger generation.

To download some free songs, and watch previews from Family Junction's upcoming album, Running Trains (we're huge in Japan), go to www.familyjunction.org.