"Lock the Doors!" : Klezmer Conservatory Band Reunion/Mini Jewish Music Festival, Mar 25, 2006, Newton, MA

by Nancy Metashvili

This piece originally sent as email to Nan's friends. Used here with permission.

Boston, Massachusetts

Ressler playing at the dance workshop'Allo, mes amis;

The trees in Massachusetts are still bare and a chill wind blows, but like banked embers in the heart waiting to be rekindled, Boston's 'mini Klezmer Festival' has warmed me through and through.

Ari Davidow, a true mentsh, (see www.klezmershack.com) had the brainstorm and a 10th anniversary to celebrate, and the legendary tromboniking Big Band—and I do mean Big!—the Klezmer Conservatory Band also had a 25th anniversary.


Word had reached me in India, and it sounded like fun.

Leaving India? Wild to the last!

Scarcely had the bass rumbling Core-of-the-Earth Buddhist chants faded, the indescribable experience of massed hundreds of monks bouncing their prayers off green Himalayan hills, harmonically repairing the world


I was in Delhi on Holi, that most entertaining of spring festivals. It was my final day and there was no avoiding the gangs of youth armed with spray guns filled with coloured water and little packets of orange! pink! green! powder to hurl on anyone who came within range. There were alot of smiles in Paharganj that day. There was more than one of us boarding the plane that night with tell tale stubborn blobs of pink still in their hair. My seat mate had a green ear.

Plane rides are usually uncomfortable and boring, as was this one til I espied the blue and fierce white snow covered angular peaks of Mt. Ararat rising from the flat Eastern Anatolian plains. Gar oo chegar a mountain, the spiritual centre of Armenia, long lost to the Turks. It is a landmark of enormous beauty. Long ago I had lain enchanted beneath it's summer majesty, a young vagabond hitch hiking to India. And now there it was beneath me!

And so my onward journey, a bit of a disaster, a comedy of errors mixed with hugs and visits with old friends, was blessed.

The York city walls had not yet, vagh, donned their frilly spring yellow daffodil garters. Severe cold had kept their blooms shyly hidden under winter coats.

I found out that the US border starts in Ireland.

Oh, yeah?

Landed in Boston, and ... confused over people driving on the wrong side of the road ... I keep rolling my eyes at the loud American accents, only to realize that it is everyone ... I felt silent admiration and envy at all the fabulous toilets ... I nearly had a panic attack at the size and oppulence of a 'normal' grocery store....

Then, whew

into a cozy Klezmer workshop with Hankus Netsky. He hops, he bubbles, his fingers crash, carress and flitter over the piano keys, and time flies, forgotten like yesterday's trivia. A knock on the door, a reminder that our time was up elicited his droll riposte "Lock the doors!"

Hugs and greetings with Michael Alpert, an update on his Hokey Pokey research ( London August '04)

And the Grande Finale

The KCB to start with is not a small kapelye—add in guests, friends and former members and it swells to a stage full. Nice full sounds, lively tunes, very lively, but they also varied the sound with lots of smaller ensembles. Stuff you never heard before, or dared to dream of, like three Klezmer Banjos? Funky! playing the old #6. There was a sublime bass duet—ah, low haunting and melodious on "Firn di Mekhutonim aheym". It was quite quite gorgious.

Drums percussed out another duet ... a flute doina, how could I not be rapt? a five strong fidl kapelye, but with Michael Alpert and Deborah Strauss up there jamming, sparks flying, grins radiant, music pouring like a flooding river from their bows it was far more than a quintet.

Michael dances, zhoks and cavorts around the stage, singing and joking with his fidl casually propped against his ribs as a boozy theme of repartee flows between him and Hankus; a glayzele wein hier un vodka there ... eyn jumping nakht in Newton. "Thanks to the former Czar of Russia for making tonights' concert possible"

There was Ilene Stahl as the most flamboyant dancingest clarinet around, and of course "Rumania, Rumania" had all the old Bubbies clapping and crying; a duo of teenagers kazkazetted their way on stage for a final flash....noch a bissel, noch a bissel

The dancing in the aisles stretched from wicked old pickpocketting Odessa to Boston's shtetls... tummling from yesterday til who knows when, as mini Klez '06 brought us beautiful music, "Firn di Neshamale Aheym."

Zay gesunt,
Ferenji Nan

Reviewed by Nancy Metashvili, 18 Dec 04

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