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Eli Herscovitch: Working on new project, "When Bialystock came to Montreal"

This sounds like a potentially interesting project. Anyone able to help Eli?

Hi Ari,

I just happened to come across your article about Finjan and it's never to late to say thank you for such a positive view. I was an original founding member of Finjan and played with them for 15 years!

I'm good friends with Sid Robinovitch, an accomplished composer who wrote "Suite for Klezmer Band and Orchestra", with Finjan in mind. Sid's five movement suite opened many doors for Finjan and lifted the band to new artistic heights.

These days I'm developing my own original project called, "When Bialystock Came To Montreal". I'm working with Danny Koulac (still a member of Finjan) and Jeff Preslaff.

Years ago when living in Montreal, I was fortunate to know Solomon Ary. At the age of 19, during the Great Depression he came to Canada from Bialystock. He was one of the lucky ones who "got out" shortly before the Nazi invasion.

In Montreal Ary was involved in literary and artistic groups and became personal friends with Bashevis Singer and Itzak Manger among others, but he didn't start writing until he was 65, at which point all his memories of Bialystock and his early days in Montreal came to life.

Although Ary started his literary career at an older age, he was immediately sought after for readings at cultural events.

A year ago I got an idea to create a performance that would blend story telling with music and in Ary's memory I named it "When Bialystock Came To Montreal".

I'm good friends with Ary's family and they sent me all his stories that were translated from Yiddish to English. Recently Ary's daughter translated two Yiddish stories at my request, with the plan that they will bearranged with music or join the others into a book of stories.

Recently I received a generous grant from the Manitoba Arts Council to develop my "Bialystock" project with the Trio and now I'm looking for venues to perform at. Can you suggest any ideas that might stear me in the right direction?

If you're interested to know more, I would be happy to 'get together and talk' or send you a sample of what I've been working on.

all the best,

p.s. By the way, the family also sent me tapes and cassette recordings that Ary made using just his voice, of about 50 "old" Jewish songs. I don't understand Yiddish well but I suspect there are some rare gems just waiting to see the light.