By: Yosef Rosenfield  | 

The Dorons: The YU Family Band

If you asked people to think of musical groups that emerged from Yeshiva University, most would probably come up with Y-Studs A Cappella, The Maccabeats and maybe even StandFour. But YU has produced yet another band — its very first rock group, in fact — as recently as within the last few years, in the form of a family band called the Dorons. This four-piece rock band consists of two brothers — Yosef (vocals, guitar) and Aryeh Rosenfield (vocals, electric bass) — and their parents, Norman Rosenfield (guitar, keyboard) and Janice Kaidan (vocals, drums).

The band’s founder, Aryeh, was a student at Yeshiva University between 2013 and 2017. He wasted little time choosing to major in music, declaring in just his second semester at Yeshiva College. “I assumed I’d major in history when I entered YU,” Aryeh reflects, but “taking a history class and music class first semester” changed his mind. He even hosted a music radio show between 2013 and 2015 on YU’s student-run radio station, WYUR, where he got the opportunity to share his comprehensive musical knowledge and eclectic taste. Aryeh also founded and played bass in the first-ever YU Rock Ensemble in 2014, which enjoyed a respectable nine-semester run. Although a rocker at heart, he also played bass for the YU Jazz Ensemble during his senior year. 

The Dorons unofficially came together as a band on May 14, 2017. Aryeh was close to graduating from YU at the time and needed to perform a senior recital in order to complete the music major, so he decided to recruit his family of musicians — not formally a band at the time — to play with him for the occasion. Mom and dad (Janice and Norman) had retired as performing musicians, previously vets of the ’80s and ’90s Boston alt-rock scene. Younger brother Yosef had only been playing guitar for three years. Nonetheless, the band hauled their musical instruments and equipment from their home in Providence, RI all the way to Schottenstein Theatre at 560 West 185th St. and played a daunting multi-album-themed set covering iconic releases by the Clash, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. “It took a lot of chutzpah to replicate those artists,” Norman quips.

When Aryeh finally graduated in May 2017 and his younger brother, Yosef, began his college career at Yeshiva University later that year, it seemed to Yosef as if he was picking up right where Aryeh had left off. “It felt like the passing of a baton,” Yosef remembers, with Aryeh handing off the YU Rock Ensemble to him as Yosef became the ensemble’s new rhythm guitarist and lead singer. Yosef played three concerts with the YU Rock Ensemble, after which in 2019 he became the only remaining member of the group. Rather than rebuild the ensemble from virtually nothing (something he had just done the previous year), Yosef opted to continue performing but as a solo act.

Yosef’s first solo YU performance was a Maroon 5 and Panic! At The Disco tribute concert, where he went through the artists’ discographies and played one song from each album. At his next concert, Yosef played his own songs — mostly originals, with a few parodies mixed into the setlist. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state of New York just two months later, forcing Yosef to play his last three YU concerts from home via Zoom. This included his 2020 senior recital, for which Yosef followed in his brother Aryeh’s footsteps and asked his family band — who had by this time named themselves the Dorons — to back him for the performance.

Instead of playing a full set of cover songs, however, Yosef had the idea to perform almost exclusively originals — including many songs that his mother, Janice, had written and/or released 30-40 years earlier when she was in various bands with her husband, Norman. It was this senior recital that prompted the Dorons to take a bunch of these songs that they had already rehearsed, record them professionally in a studio, and finally launch an album project — something Aryeh had been pushing the band to do for quite a while. “It seemed like a waste after all that preparation to not do more as a band,” Norman says.

Realizing they had some writing sessions to knock out, the Dorons got to work. Three new songs ended up making the final cut on the album: a scathing pop-rock song written by Yosef called “Spare Me,” a mournful ballad written by Aryeh named “Chimes of Innocence” (which Aryeh began writing back when he was a YU undergraduate) and a passionate hard rocker co-written by Janice and Yosef called “This New Poison.” At long last, after spending nearly two years working on new music, the Dorons have finally finished their debut album — titled “The Doronic Verses” — which was just released on Nov. 11.

Wondering where the name “Dorons” comes from? Well, the band’s evocative name is fascinatingly layered. It references the rock band the Doors as well as the bittersweet minor scale, the Dorian mode, plus it hilariously rhymes with “morons.” Additionally, the word “dor” in Hebrew means “generation,” which speaks to the multigenerational nature of the band.

Up next, the Dorons will be recording and performing more, if Norman has any say in the matter. “I know I won’t have to twist arms too hard to do some summer performances and go back in the studio,” he says with a good-natured laugh. Yosef, for one, won’t need too much convincing. “The studio for me was the most meaningful part of the experience. We were all in sync, and that element of communal flow just felt euphoric,” Yosef marvels. “I’m excited to do more!”

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Photo Caption: The Dorons

Photo Credit: Yosef Rosenfield