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Here are 3 concerts planned for Thursday nights this summer at the Jewish Museum. They all look good to me!


July 1, 7:30 pm

This ensemble combines Appalachian and southern fiddle tunes with Eastern European klezmer melodies to create a soulful sound and a foot-stomping good time. Virtuoso clarinetist Margot Leverett adds depth and complexity to the raw and spirited energy of The Klezmer Mountain Boys.

The Klezmer Mountain Boys – bandleader and clarinetist Margot Leverett, bassist Marty Confurius, guitarist Joe Selly, fiddler Kenny Kosek, and mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff - create a danceable and beautiful blend that draws and delights audiences of all ages. Founded by Margot Leverett (an original member of the Klezmatics) and Barry Mitterhoff (Hot Tuna), the band has been featured at the Chicago World Music Festival and the Louisville Performing Arts Center.


July 8, 7:30 pm

With song styles ranging from the clarinet miroloi of northern Greece and the chocheci of the Serbian and Macedonian Roma (gypsies) to Turkish chalgi ensembles and Bulgarian wedding bands, Ansambl Mastika’s music draws from the myriad styles of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East.  Ansambl Mastika has enthralled audiences on the dance floor, in the concert hall, and at the festival stage.  The band blends spontaneity with a global sensibility, resulting in a joyous Balkan extravaganza.

Ansambl Mastika features bandleader composer and woodwind player Greg Squared, composer and trumpeter Ben Syversen, accordionist Matthew Fass, harmonica player Joey Weisenberg, bassist Reuben Radding, and percussionist Matt Moran.


July 15, 7:30 pm

Percussionist and composer Roberto Rodriguez leads talented Cuban-American and Israeli musicians in the creation of an unique sound that echoes Cuban roots dance music and traditional klezmer.

Roberto Rodriguez was born in Cuba, the son of veteran horn player Roberto Luis Rodriguez. The younger Rodriguez studied violin, piano, and trumpet and drums in Havana, and left Cuba for Miami with his family when he was nine. Rodriguez immersed himself in the culture of Miami’s large Jewish population, sensing historic similarities between Cuban expatriates and the Jewish diaspora. Moving to New York, he quickly established himself as a drummer of note, working with the likes of T-Bone Burnett, Phoebe Snow, Rubén Blades, Paul Simon and Joe Jackson, and became the drummer for Marc Ribot’s Los Cubanos Postizos band.  John Zorn approached Rodriguez about recording an album of Jewish music, resulting in El Danzon de Moises in 2002.  Later albums of Cuban-Jewish music include Baila! Gitano Baila! (2004), Oy Vey! Ole! (2006), and The First Basket and Timba Talmud (2009).

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Klez for Kids on December 25, 2009 at 11am

Concert, Events

This sounds like much more fun than the usual movies and Chinese food for Christmas! The Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street (in the Eldridge Street Synagogue), Between Canal & Division Streets is having this fun family concert. This is also a good opportunity to visit this restored, historic building, it is truly stunning.

Live Concert

Sing, dance, learn Yiddish and “get married” at our annual family concert. Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest lead the audience on a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture. The program ends with an audience-enacted shtetle wedding with children taking on the roles of bride, groom and wedding guests.

$12 adults; $8 students and seniors

RSVP to: hgriff(at) or call 212.219.0888 x 205

The Museum at Eldridge Street presents the culture, history and traditions of the great wave of Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side drawing parallels with the diverse cultural communities that have settled in America. The Museum at Eldridge Street is located within the Eldridge Street Synagogue, which opened its doors in 1887

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Comfort Ye – the Fifteenth Annual Concert to Benefit the Homeless

Concert, Events

GothamGirl received this invitation from the The Interfaith Assembly, the West -Side Campaign Against Hunger, New York Cares and Lauren Flanigan and Stars from the Metropolitan  Opera and the New York City Opera and we recommend that you attend and bring a donation as suggested.

Symphony Space Marque

Symphony Space Marque

Comfort Ye – the Fifteenth Annual Concert to Benefit the Homeless

Monday, December 21, 2009

7:30 PM

Peter J.  Sharp Theater

Symphony Space

95th Street & Broadway


5 or more cans of food items or 1 clean used overcoat or 1 clean blanket or

5 packages infant/toddler diapers or Cash Donation of $40

All funds raised will  benefit the Interfaith Assembly and their programs. If you have attended this concert in the past you know what a treat it is. If you have not, you owe it to yourself to come – You will not be disappointed.  And BE SURE TO INVITE YOUR FRIENDS – they will surely thank you!

During these difficult times, the Assembly and their partners are working hard to help those who have been homeless to rebuild their lives, and establish more  equitable public policies for those in our city who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. See their webite for more details on the work they do and about this event.

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Handel’s Messiah at the NY Philharmonic

Concert, Events, Lily's notes

This is a performance of Handel’s Messiah, not a sing-along, and the soloists, chorus and musicians made it all truly worthwhile. The countertenor, Daniel Taylor was stunning, a clear beautiful voice with such clear diction that one could understand the words as they were sung. The Bass is a singer originally from China with just one name, Shenyang , and he was excellent as was the James Taylor (not THAT tenor named James Taylor, silly), the soprano, Annette Dasch was very fine. We all loved the trumpets featuring Philip Smith, one of our favorite NY Phil musicians. The chorus is the Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart and they were an excellent chorus, blending as one voice and forming clear sectional parts.  This runs through Saturday, December 19, 2009.

It is most interesting to examine the text of the oratorio, just like a cut and paste, a line from here and a line from there from Isaiah, the psalms, and the Christian bible, which has been interpreted and arranged  to “tell”  the story of  the nativity, suffering  and crucifixion.  How different these lines sound when they are sung or chanted in Hebrew with the traditional Jewish cantilation. There are no trumpets in my synagogue.

And then there is the question of whether the audience should stand, supposedly as did the King of England for reasons unknown, or should remain seated for the splendid Hallelujah chorus. I sat, my friend was the first in the audience to stand.

There are so many seasonal music events in New York City and last week we were at  another holiday concert: A Twisted Christmas at the Nokia theater on Times Square, by our favorite metal band, Twisted Sister. This was a lot, lot, lot of fun.  They performed old and new songs and their metal versions of Christmas songs, and the stage show was a riot. This is not at all the Radio City version of Christmas. They have done a Christmas show each year for the last four or five years. Look for it next year.

It is tremendous fun to take in a wide sample of musical styles, so break out of your rut and see something very different.

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2009 Gotham Girl’s Gift Giving Ideas

Concert, Lily's notes

Here are some simple, creative ideas for this strained financial time: go towards quality and enjoyment of life.

The most wonderful DVD we have seen and heard is by Jazz at Lincoln Center: Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis Play the Music of Ray Charles. Norah Jones appears and sings like a sweet angel. “Hit the Road Jack”, “Unchain My Heart”, Hallelujah I Love Her So”…mmmm…..just music magic…This was filmed excellently at the concert at the Rose Hall in Lincoln Center, it feels very intimate, and it is a pure pleasure.   I saw this on Blue Ray, it is luscious in sound and beautifully filmed. Give this to someone!

Give a gift membership to the MoMA, Jewish Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art or any other museum, usually about $75 for annual single membership.

Give a gift membership to Symphony Space, or the Film Society/Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

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Elie Wiesel at the Zamir Choral Festival 2009

Concert, Events, Lily's notes

As Elie Wiesel the novelist, journalist and Nobel Prize for Peace winner was honored at the final event of the Zamir Choral Festival 2009, and he did much more than merely accept  an award of recognition from the Zamir Choral - he stood on the stage and sang alone.

He sang a few niggunim from his hometown of Sighet to the 450 participants in the Festival.

The participants had learned these niggunim during the festival and then sang with him in four part harmony. It was very moving to hear him sing, and then to sing together…it was an emotional musical bridge from the Europe of the past to the Jewish community of the present  in America.

He stayed afterwards and very graciously shook people’s hands and accepted their good wishes and thanks. It felt like a visit from a respected, beloved, close relative.

Dr Ruth Westheimer had arrived at the Festival and was honored as well.

Dear tiny dynamo Dr Ruth, is now a film-maker and had her new film about Bedouin women with her; her ongoing creativity is an inspiration.

There are many so many ways to be a witness.

The Festival was an exciting and fulfilling experience: so many fine musically talented and knowledgeable people, such all-over good spirit, excellent workshops and classes, late night jam sessions,  schmoozing laughter-filled meals with new and old friends, and wonderful choral concerts!

At one late night jam, the terrifically talented singer, Magda Fishman, sang and played the trumpet(!) with 2 guitars, a piano and several flutes. Fun!

We returned home happily exhausted and would attend again next year.

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Hudson Valley Resort and Zamir Choral

Concert, Events, Lily's notes

We drove up the  NY State Thruway through the Hudson Valley to the Catskill Mountains on this glorious, sunny day…finally the month of rains has ended. We have arrived at the Hudson Valley Resort for the 20th annual Zamir Choral Festival, July 12-16.

The mountains are glorious, we drove past  the Mohonk Mountain Preserve with it’s rough ridge; it has a wall of stone like the Palisades. At the foot of the ridge, we stopped and watched rock climbers getting ready to ascend the cliffs.

But our destination is the Zamir Choral Festival and here the rooms, hallways and dining room are all filled with truly fine music, and nice company.

The entire atmosphere is lovely. If you are reading this because you are considering attending a future Zamir Choral Festival, I would encourage you to attend. See their site  for program specifics.

The resort is run by very helpful and pleasant staff, the pools are lovely, and the rooms are pleasant and very adequate.

We met participants who have come from, Australia, Toronto, Milwaukee, and from the greater New York City area. Nice mix of people, different ages and life-styles. I think that there are about 450 participants, not sure.

I attended a class given by Velvel Pasternak of  Tara Music on the history of Jewish music which was absolutely fun and excellent. He is a great authority on Jewish music and funny story-teller.

Tonight we will attened a choral concert.

More on the specifics later…I want to take another walk around the grounds and through the shuk of vendors with my doggie who has come along.

Yes, this resort is both pet-friendly and it is people friendly.

Very unusual.

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Alice Tully Hall and Julliard Composers

Concert, Lily's notes

We walked over to the spectacularly newly rebuilt Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center at Broadway and 65th St. The new construction is part of the extensive renovation of Lincoln Center and this part of the renovation has created:  a beautiful new facade of triangles of glass and metal, a just-below-street level cafe called at65 Cafe, an appealing and welcoming entryway for Alice Tully Hall, which previously did not have an entrance lobby to speak of, and additional space for the Julliard School. They did a splendid job in this renovation!

We slipped into the Starr Theatre at Alice Tully Hall and enjoyed a free concert of new music which was  composed and performed by Julliard students. Free student concerts happen often-check their schedule. This is a pleasant hall and has new lovely wood interior, and wood is always lovely for music. Impressive job of renovation.

Later, we sat in the new, at65Cafe, (which serves drinks and desserts and a few other items), and thoroughly enjoyed the view of the surrounding buildings and busy streets. As you look out onto the street, the bars sparkling colored liquor bottles are reflected in the glass which makes it appear  that there is a a glimmering bar on the sidewalk.

This new Alice Tully renovation is terrific addition to Lincoln Center and a stunning gift for us New Yorkers.


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New York Pops “26th Birthday Gala” with a GothamGirl Discount

Concert, Events

The New York Pops, which is the symphony orchestra that plays music from the Great American Songbook at the sweetest sounding of all places one can go to listen to music, perhaps anywhere, Carnegie Hall, is hosting their Annual Gala on Monday, April 27th. Proceeds support The New York Pops and its education programs and free Summermusic concerts throughout New York City.

In Carnegie Hall, each seat is a great seat for listening to music, never worry about where you are sitting. Just soak up the music! Idina Menzel will be among those performing and the new musical director Steven Reineke will be conducting.  

New York Pops “26th Birthday Gala”, Monday, April 27, 2009
7:00 PM at Carnegie Hall, Tickets available from $55 – $85

Contact the Carnegie Hall BoxOffice  and remember that GothamGirl readers will receive a 20% discount by entering the code PLAY7861


There is also a Black Tie Dinner/Dance to follow at The Pierre and an online Auction

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Resistance Through Art and Yom ha-Shoa on the Upper West Side

Concert, Events, Film, Lily's notes, Literary event

Each year there are many worthwhile events to mark Yom ha-Shoa, Holocaust Rememberance Day, this year on April 20-21, 2009. Here are some of those events:

“Sixty years ago we performed this opera [Brundibar] at Terezin.  Only a few of us survived.  But when we were performing Brundibar, we forgot where we were, we forgot all our troubles.  Music was part of our resistance against the Nazis.  Music, art, good teachers, and friends mean survival.”    –Ela Weissberger, member of the original cast

Congregation Ansche Chesed’s Yom Hashoah program will be dedicated to the incredible phenomenon of Resistance through Art and will feature music created and performed in Theresienstadt concentration camp. 

Featuring live performances of chamber music by Gideon Klein, a Czech pianist and composer of classical music, teacher and organizer of cultural life in Terezin, as well as an excerpt from the children’s opera “Brundibar” by Hans Krasa, originally performed by the children in Terezin, and now sung by the children of Ansche Chesed. 

There will also be an opportunity to learn and sing songs of the ghetto and resistance together as a community.   While much of this music did not survive, the remaining pieces impress listeners to this day and make us long for more of what might have been written.

Monday Evening, April 20 at Congregation Ansche Chesed 100th St, West End and Broadway

Monday, April 20, 10pm – Tuesday, April 21, 6pm
During the the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration, the Reading of the Names, members of synagogues and the JCC, students and other groups on the Upper West Side take turns reading the names of victems of the Shoa. This begins at 10pm and continues through the night, and through the next day until late afternoon.

This year we are reading from Memorial to the Jews Deported from France 1942-1944 by Serge Klarsfeld. This extraordinary volume is organized by the date of the “convoys” which transported Jews from France to the camps in the east.  This year the all-night reading will take place at Congregation Shaare Zedek, 93rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.


honors Yom HaShoah with a special marathon of films remembering the righteous saviors of Jews during the Holocaust. Co-sponsored by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and The Simon Wiesenthal Center.


And my friend, Ernie Adams, has had his book published! You have the opportunity to meet him, hear his moving story and experience his warmth and humor.

From Ghetto to Ghetto: An African American Journey to Judaism
A Memoir by Ernest Adams
From Harlem to the south to the Upper West Side, Ernest Adams’ new book is a fascinating memoir that delves into race and religion in America today.
Thu, Apr 30  Meet the Author Talk: 6:30 pm; Reception and Book Signing: 7:30 pm FREE

 JCC of Manhattan. 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue

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Free Fine Concerts at the Mannes School of Music

Art, Concert, Events

We walked by the Mannes School of Music on West 85th Street, as the sky was darkening and glowing that beautiful electric blue, and were drawn right inside by the sound of lovely music. We skipped our dinner plans and instead enjoyed a concert by the students of Susan Woodruff Versage who were performing an Evening  of Opera Excerpts. Ms Versage accompanied them on piano.

These students have splendid voices, great talent and were lively performers with the beautiful grace of youth. Exerpts from 13 operas were performed. This was a true pleasure.

There is so much excellent free music available in New York, it would be  smart to check out all of the music schools performance schedules and select some free concerts in these difficult financial times.

Don’t let the financial downturn limit the pleasures of music and art. It is probably just what you need to better cope with the present times.

Here are some schools and others ideas to check out:
The Julliard School of Music, The Mannes School, The NY Philharmonic Open Rehearsals, The Manhattan School of Music. Remember, the Metropolitan Museum of Art still has a pay-what-you-wish entrance policy.

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Music in Desperate Times: Remembering the Women’s Orchestra of Birkenau

Concert, Events, Lily's notes

From  Ars Choralis:

In the darkest times, music provides solace and illustrates what is best in the human spirit.

During the depths of World War II, Jewish women musicians incarcerated at the Auschwitz/Birchenau concentration camp were required to play for their Nazi captors. This is a story about how music saved the lives of those women. It is also the story of a small-town chorus that has brought back the music, hope, grief and resilience of these women.

Over one million people, mostly Jewish, were murdered in Birkenau gas chambers.  In exchange for their survival, a women’s orchestra was formed by the S.S. at Birchenau.  During the year and a half it existed, 54 women participated in the orchestra.  All but the conductor survived.

Two years ago, Barbara Pickhardt, conductor of the Woodstock, NY chorus, Ars Choralis, researched survivor’s memoirs and created Music in Desperate Times: Remembering the Women’s Orchestra of Birkenau.  The concert interwove orchestral music of Schumann, Chopin, Puccini, Mendelssohn and others, with spoken memoirs and songs of hope, peace and resistance sung by the chorus.

Wearing the simple lavender scarves and white blouses worn by the Birchenau musicians, the members of the reconstructed orchestra felt a shiver of connection to the original orchestra as they played arrangements of the same music played in the camps.

Ars Choralis performed Music in Desperate Times: Remembering the Women’s Orchestra of Birchenau to great acclaim in Hudson Valley churches, colleges and synagogues. The audience response was so powerful that repeat performances were demanded. Now Ars Choralis has been invited to perform this concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan and in Germany.

• The performance of Music in Desperate Times at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine will be on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 8 PM.  This landmark church is the largest Anglican Cathedral in North America.

If you have never visited this cathedral, or perhaps any other cathedral, it is quite a place to see and I would recommend setting aside some time to look through this vast and fascinating space.

• Survivors of the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Furstenberg, Germany have invited Ars Choralis to perform at their annual Liberation Day ceremonies on April 18 and 19, 2009 on the grounds of the camp.

• Heilig Kreuz Passion Church in Berlin has invited Ars Choralis to perform Music in Desperate Times on Friday, April 17, 2009.

The cost of producing the concerts and traveling to Germany is unprecedented for Ars Choralis.  We hope to gain support for this magnificent endeavor through ticket sales and donations.  

Tickets to the March 28th performance at the Cathedral are:

• $45.00 front section, reserved seats
• $35.00 front section, unreserved
• $25.00 general seating

Many  thanks to Rochelle Saidel of the Remember the Women Institute for bringing this concert to our attention.

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A Few Notes on the New Season

Art, Concert, Events, Lily's notes

Vacation is over and we are getting ready for the new season of arts in New York City; art exhibits, concerts, films, theatre, readings and other events. Shortly, I will be updating interesting and/or unique listings that might be easily overlooked among all of the events happening in New York City. Please send me information about an event you would like me to list.

The New York Philharmonic has it’s opening night concert tomorrow and tickets are still available. Also, there is a FREE open dress rehearsal in the morning.

Andy StatmanTrio (Andy on clarinet and mandolin, Jim Whitney on bass and Larry Eagle on drums and percussion) are back at the Charles Street Shul (Congregation Derech Amuno)  on Charles St at West 4th most Mondays and Thursdays at 8:30 PM. They play klezmer, of course, and very wicked bluegrass.

The MoMA will have a new exhibit of Vincent Van Gogh titled: Van Gogh and the Colors of Night opening September 21. Hmmmmmm. Paintings of in New York at night need  that soft red sky of summer…or the deep blue sky of October.

Museum of American DesignThe new Museum of Art and Design will September 27 to the public.  Att NYERS: This is the new museum in the former “lollipop” building on Columbus Circle that has had the very beautiful extreme makeover.  I can’t wait to go inside and see this museum and the new interior. Their old museum on 53rd is closed, and they will soon open with 3 new exhibits: Remixing the Old, a Jewelry exhibit and their permanent collection.

An indescribable friend sent me this note: “Hope you’re feeling and doing as close to optimally well (according to your self-definitions) as humanly possible. I expect that this event will be particularly enjoyable if you’re into this type of thing; and even if you’re not. I hope to see you there. ” Havdalah Kirtan this Saturday: Themes of Forgiveness and the High Holy Days with Rabbis Andrew Hahn and David Ingber combines yoga, chanting and Havdalah, which is the Jewish end of Shabbat.
Actually, it is not my cup of tea but I think that I will go once.  Sounds like fun.

High Holidays check list: make appologies, pay up debts, study something worthwhile, decide on which shul you will attend, get tickets, invite friends and family, reply to invitations, give some Tzedakah (Charity)….. try to think about something in addition to the presidential race and the financial markets.

That’s all for now.



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The Actor’s Temple

Concert, Dance, Lily's notes

The Actors Temple at night

The Actor’s Temple (339 West 47th Street in New York) is in an 90 year old, long narrow building on West 47th St in the Theatre District. This congregation was founded in 1917 by local business owners in what was then a very tough area of Hell’s Kitchen. The Rabbi and Cantor of that time, reached out to others working in the area-the theatre community of actors, comedians, writers working on Broadway,  in vaudeville, cabaret, nightclubs etc.  The membership also included singers, dancers etc.

These individuals made an enormous contribution to show business and the  shul was truly an “Actor’s Temple” at that time. The stained glass windows in the little shulare dedicated in memory of many famous performers, such as Sophie Tucker, and signed photos of the former members who were stars line the walls in the synagogue building. Just imagine spending the High Holidays with the Three Stooges, Edward G. Robinson, Red Buttons, and Sandy Koufax.

Now, the front of the shul has the traditional ark holding the Torahs,  and the eternal light, and stained glass dedication windows, but the shul also has a stage light scaffolding for performances held by the congregation as part of their programming. There is also a  long wall of mirrors for the dancers who rent the space for rehearsals during the week. These mirrors are covered by curtains during services.

The shul was full this past Friday with over 100 people for an eclectic evening.  First an excellent  Shabbat buffet dinner open to all which also drew some local residents who were happy to have a meal offered. This was held in the worn social hall below the sanctuary level and was sponsored by friends celebrating their anniversary.  

These friends can celebrate anywhere they choose but selected this community and this authentic old space which does not have one true right angle, has that awful old time faux “wood paneling,” an ¨improvement¨of the 1950´s and the autographed photos of the stars. In a few more years these odd historic spaces of New York City will have been eliminated and all replaced by modern condos. We have to relish them while they are still here.

After dinner, we went to the sanctuary for the Shabbat service led by a Rabbi-Cantor with a longer resume in opera and voice than in Rabbinics and a personal warmth con molto dramatic flare.

After the service, the aisle was suddenly transformed into a long, very narrow stage and two modern dancers performed Luxxury Suite by Heidi Latsky,  with Meredith Fages. Surprising and nice.

An extended family donated a baby grand piano to the shul and were thanked and celebrated. Very warm and really nice.

A cantata, The Seven Golden Buttons, written by the Rabbi Ira and Judith Eisenstein, and based on a Hasidic story attributed to the Baal Shem Tov, conducted by Jeanne Krausman, was performed with excellent spirit and fun by about a dozen singers and the newly dedicated piano was used for this performance, as well. This is one of six cantata´s that the Eisensteins wrote. Judith Eisenstein was a musical prodigy and the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan the founder of the Reconstructionist movement. In 1923, she was the first woman to be Bat Mitzvah in America.

The Seven Golden Buttons is a story about true love and real value. Very nice and especially fitting for the anniversary celebrants.

This was not yet enough of an evening…after the cantata,  we all had kiddush (and more food) at the back of the sanctuary and some more time for schmoozing. Perfect.

The formal name of the congregation is Ezrath Israel, which means Helper of Israel.

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NY Philharmonic at Lincoln Center and in North Korea

Concert, Events

We spent primary night at Lincoln Center enjoying the NY Philharmonic. No matter how many times I have the great pleasure of attending a NY Phil concert, I am first always so moved by the beauty and variety of the hand-made string instruments, the glistening brass, the warm woodwinds and the amount of different objects the percussionist has at hand ready to play.

It reminds me of an animation I saw as a child about the history of the orchestra which claimed that violins ultimately derive from bows and arrows. Something like ..”swords into plowshares.”

The NY Philharmonic has tried it’s hand at making a bridge for diplomacy and cultural sharing in the past with it’s historic visit to China, and this week the orchestra will make another historic  trip and perform in North Korea. The concert in North Korea will be on February 26 and be broadcast on PBS. The program is (Brooklyn born) George Gershwin’s, An American in Paris, and Dvorak’s, From the New World, which was written mostly in New York.

We have friends and relatives who love High End sound equipment and tell us how much like a “real orchestra” their system sounds. Their systems are wildly expensive, and sound great. But with my subscription seat which is a teeny fraction of the cost of their systems, I sit up in the third tier of Avery Fisher Hall,  all the way to the front of the house, and I can hear and see everything so gloriously. Even the conductor’s score, and the musicians faces. Just my cup of tea.

The program that night was: Rossini Overture to La Scala Seta( The Silken Ladder), Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4 (Italian), and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6 the Pathetique, conducted by Lorin Maazal. Buy yourself a ticket and enjoy this great orchestra. The program notes for each concert and about the musicians are fascinating and available online.

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The Blind Boys of Alabama, “Down in New Orleans”


The Blind Boys of Alabama, the four- time Grammy-winning Gospel group, stopped by the Upper West Side this week and sang for a packed house in a book store’s performance space. It was jam-packed and all possible standing room was filled.

Jimmy Carter, the lead singer, said that they were up since 4 am and exhausted but they had plenty of energy and electricity.  He apologized for not being  “in uniform”, that is, in matching outfits.

Many in the crowd were clearly listening to the spritual message of the music, others just seemed to like the rhythm and danced as they sang.

They were promoting their new album, “Down In New Orleans,” which combines Gospel and New Orleans style. On the album they are accompanied by music giants: Allen Toussaint, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Hot 8 Brass Band, and pianist David Torkanowsky, bassist Roland Guerin and drummer Shannon Powell. The links have sound clips too.

I love Gospel, New Orleans Jazz, Preservation Hall Jazz Band etc, etc, so I happily own this new CD and I plan to walk around town with them singing in my ears.

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Andy Statman on Charles Street, The Charles Street Shul

Concert, Events

Brilliant Klezmer musician Andy Statman, along with other musicians, play regularly at the Charles Street Shul, aka Derech Emunah (Path of Faith) in the Village. Last night we experienced concert number 431 at the shul. The shul has been hosting Andy’s concerts since 1998.

The Charles Street SynagogueThis is truly an experience, it is not just a simple matter of attending a concert.

Concert time was 8:30, we arrived at 8:30, so of course we were 45 minutes early and we helped set up the chairs in the long, narrow library/meeting room a flight below the sanctuary.  We were also treated like family: greeted by Director, Herman Lowenharr and his  3 year old grand-daughter– so cute, so smart, so sweet, she showed us the lovely party dress that was being hand-sewn for her, and let us play silly games with her, and home-made brownies were pulled from the oven before burning and offered to us.  Nice. 

The concert had a full house, and the music was glorious. Andy Statman on clarinet with a drummer played Chasidic niggunim in Andy’s unique style. Andy takes you on an emotional trek through each piece. Then after a short break, Andy switched instruments and genres, and played his mandolin in Bluegrass style along with a visiting Singer/Guitarist, and the drummer. It was excellent music and pure fun. He has a long history in a Bluegrass style.

Check out their schedule and go. There are Jazz nights as well. All too good to miss.

This link will take you to Jon Kalish’s excellent interview with Andy Statman which includes his trio playing at the shul, and Andy on mandolin.

The photo of the shul was taken by Hubert J Steed.

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Twisted Sister at the FillmoreNY

Concert, Events

Twisted at FillmoreNYLast night’s appearance of Twisted Sister at the FillmoreNY was a fantastic party for their fans and for the band. Twisted heavy metal waves of love went from the band to the audience and the audience did the same back. The audience was a spectrum of ages and types. The moshers moshed to Twisted’s Christmas songs like their heavy metal Come All Ye Faithful. Really hilarious and wonderful!

They were called back for more, of course and gave their fans several more songs, the most fun was My Heavy Metal Christmas to the melody of the Twelve days of Christmas. They held up hand-made signs with the new heavy metal lyrics and the fans sang along in complete enjoyment. It was really fun.

Dee said at the beginning of the set, that unlike certain bands that only complain about life they were into having a  a good time and enjoying life. They completely proved that. They played their Christmas  songs and also did many old favorites like, The Price , We’re Not Gonna Take It, and You can’t Stop Rock and Roll. They wished everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka and even a Happy Kwanza…and ended O Come Let Us with the line “Jesus was a Jew”. Outside of NYC that can be controvertial. It was a sick MF Christmas show.

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Twisted Sister in NY Concert and The Big Apple Circus

Concert, Events

We have decided to stay in town for the holiday week and go many places, I will write about each event afterwards. So to begin our week:

Tonight we will be at The Fillmore NY for Twisted Sister’s “holiday concert”.  I need to buy better ear plugs so that I can emerge without  my head banging on its own. I’ve done this before, I am a fan. You can still hear everything perfectly well with the plugs in, just no ringing ears for days afterwards.

And Saturday afternoon we will visit one of those precious  jewels of NYC, The Big Apple Circus which is located in a tent on a plaza in Lincoln Center. We will go in a large group of 18 family and friends including 6 children under 10 years old.

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