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Why Should I Participate in the Festival?

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Musicians

Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to study with master klezmer musicians and teachers from around the world. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced performer, no matter what instrument you play, you’ll improve your playing at hands-on workshops on klezmer style, composing & improvising, performing, theory, and playing for dancers. Come and meet other local klezmer musicians so that you can continue the jamming after the Festival.

Families

Here’s a wonderful, fun, opportunity for your children to learn about the language, traditions, culture and music of our European ancestors. Gerry Tenney, director and music teacher of the East Bay Kindershul, has organized a wonderful Youth Program for ages 6-12 that includes Yiddish songs, dance, stories and language, a Kids' Klezmer Ensemble for those who play an instrument, arts & crafts and outdoor activities (weather permitting). Children who have the musical skills can also take adult workshops.

Choruses/Singers

Where else could you spend four joyous days singing and learning new Yiddish songs, some from the private collection of local artist (and khazn) Sharon Bernstein? Where else could you take a master class from renowned Broadway  and Yiddish singer, Eleanor Reissa. At KlezCalifornia’s Yiddish Culture Festival you’ll experience all the above and still find time to explore the world of Yiddish love songs (on Valentine’s Day!) and songs of the Jewish labor movement.

Folk Dancers

Klezmer music is made for dancing and when world renowned Yiddish dance master Steve Weintraub leads a dance, you will feel the music and the joy deep inside. Under Steve’s skillful guidance, you’ll learn the figures, steps, and flavors of wedding dances, freylekhs, and shtetl horas. You’ll dance to live music played by some of the best klezmer musicians in the world.

Yiddish Language and Culture at all Levels

Live, eat, breathe, and talk Yiddish for four days. What could be better? Take an acting workshop with Tony nominated singer/actress Eleanor Reissa, study Yiddish literature in translation, learn about Yiddish in the contemporary Hasidic world, brush up on Yiddish phrases, or just have a good time speaking Yiddish over a meal with new friends.

Synagogue-Goers

Deepen your connection to our tradition, our culture, and our people by studying, dancing, singing, and eating with new friends and community. Spend an evening expanding your perspective on prayer by attending the South Bay premiere of The Klezmer Shul. This new instrumental composition, written by Stuart Brotman in collaboration with his Veretski Pass colleagues and funded by the Creative Work Fund, was written to capture the emotional power of traditional synagogue singing without using words. Language is not the medium here, feelings and emotions are. A discussion about the piece and a more ‘traditional’ klezmer dance party will follow the premiere.

Cultures Interacting

One of the beauties of klezmer music is that it’s a product of its environment, of the different European communities that interacted with neighboring Jews. There are tastes of Greek, Roma, Balkan, Ukrainian and other musical styles in klezmer. These relationships will be explored in workshops such as Klezmer/Balkan/Roma Connections taught by local klezmer and Balkan clarinetist Peter Jaques together with Christian Dawid, (one of the best klezmer clarinetists in the world) who is currently participating in a fascinating European project exploring the connections between these cultures and their music.