The singer sways at the mic, gliding into one last song for the night. Behind her, the band looks on, ready to pack up. An accordionist approaches, still playing. The singer caresses the mic, spots the musician. Her hands, gloved, flutter like tiny birds. Her arms reach out to their full wingspan. As the accordionist sits, she touches them lightly on the shoulder.
The singer is Cynthia Astmann, a member of the Nu Haven Kapelye who has helped make a pandemic-era music video into a reality. Thursday night, the group dropped a cover of the 1938 song “Mazel” just in time for the final night of Hanukkah. It is the brainchild of band member and teacher Jay Miles, with cameos, production help and sound mixing from fellow bandmates and musician Steve Rodgers. As a final Hanukkah gift to New Haven, jazz soloist Frank London appears on trumpet.
"It all kind of came together, and I'm just really delighted,” Miles said in a recent phone call. “For me, it was incredibly needed. This is what I do. I do things with people. With Covid, you’re usually in a different room, and the cables are the only thing you're interacting with. It was really invigorating, and really special, to see these people. I feel really lucky.”