Friday, December 31, 2010

How to talk to the band

What a great week. And I can't wait until Summer Kamp in Madison, WI. What does Madison have that Kerhonksen doesn't? Frozen Custard!

As I was sadly saying goodbye to the klezkamp community, Joanne Borts shared with me the handout she used in her class, "Better With A Band". In this glossary, she gives non-musicians terms for basic "musician speak". She provides terms like, Major and Minor keys, Coda, Bridge, Tempo as well as Jewish music terms like Doina, Hora, Serba and even the mode names like Freygish, Mishebeyrakh and Mogon Ovos. What a great idea! As those of us who make our livelihood on the bandstand, an educated singer and dance leader makes our job easier.

But the best thing is the last section called "BWAB Secrets.....Shhh.." where she advises:
"Don't hook up with the drummer....it can turn out badly...."

Now she tells us.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Klezkamp photos on Facebook!!

Follow this link to see quite a few more pictures of this years fun!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

KlezKamp 2010

Di HooHA!

Tonight, KlezKamp's newest old tradition Di HooHA our fency-shmency dress up dance party takes off at 7:45 with Tantz Meister Steve Weintraub leading hundreds of dancers in a gaggle of high end ballroom dances.
The 20 piece orchestra under the batons of Cookie Segelstein and Pete Sokolow will lay down compelling dance rhythms while dressed as well as if they were actually getting paid for the gig. Add to that the intermission performance of Jenny Romaine's and Tine Kindermann's Youth Theater Workshop production of Di Balade fun dem Yid Vos Iz Gegansen frun Groy Biz Blo (The Jew Who Went from Gray to Blue) after Itzik Manger.
Tired yet? How about three (count 'em three) dance bands followed by a midnight Yiddish song kabaret and you have the end of another perfect KlezKamp day.

All the cool kids speak Yiddish...

For the last 90 minutes, there have been a two young co-eds, maybe 18-19 at most and cute like heck, flirting furiously entirely in Yiddish.

When's the last time you heard that?

BTW: all the cool kids speak Yiddish.


Man, it was kind of like a dream.

Clarinetist and producer Alex Kontorovich made the treacherous drive up from the city to lead a good chunk of the Klezkamp staff in a tribute concert (turned dance party) to the late clarinetist German Goldenshteyn. The occasion was the release of the latest Living Traditions CD "The Tradition Lives: Yiddish-Moldavian Music of German Goldenshteyn" by the Goldenshteyn Memorial Orchestra. Recorded at Klezkamp just last year, the release sees the reunion of all the players from German's first and only recording "German Goldenshteyn: A Living Tradition," (available on iTunes and CD Baby) playing material chosen by German and Alex for his second release, but sadly was unable to record after his untimely demise not long after the release of his first CD.

But it was with hearts filled with joy that the band hit the Hudson Valley stage last night, playing down German's repertoire as if that's the only music they had ever played. With no rehearsal and only a glass of vodka for preparation Kontorovich lead a band featuring Dan Blacksberg, Cookie Segelstein, Susan Hoffman-Lankin, Henry Sapoznik, Lauren Brody and yours truly through a solid 90 minutes of Moldavian tunes played in the Jewish style that German first introduced to us. (Accordionist Joshua Horowitz and drummer Aaron Alexander could not attend for family and weather issues, though they were with us in spirit.)

Links to purchase this CD, as well as the new Pete Sokolow CD, will be posted soon!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Under Full Sail
Day Two: classes are up and running smoothly as if we'd been doing this for years (oh, yes, for 26!) and all the new folks (nearly 70%) are acting like they're old hands at this (which after a day here is not that hard.)
Last night's staff concert was tremendous, starting with a wonderful short film by Jenny Romaine and ending with a (literally) show stopping turn by Michael Wex and co. with a real great diversity of talent in between.
Tonight we have a record release dance party as a roll out for the new German Goldenshteyn Memorial CD recorded at last year's KlezKamp and then, of course, followed by a bevy of our dance bands: ear, reading and Hasidic.
Okay, I'm exhausted already. But a good exhausted.

More to come....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Damn, what's all this white stuff??

Well, it's hard to even find time to sit down and write at all. And the first few days were filled with such bad weather and screwed up schedules, we were never sure who was going to get up here and when. Even now a few weary stragglers are stumbling into the resort to find a the toast warm folks inside already deep into yet another deep KLEZKAMP experience. Thanks to what we can only assume was the recent article in the NY Times, there's quite a few new faces, almost as many as folks we already know and that's mighty invigorating.

The first nights fun was watching the documentary "A Jumping Night in the Garden of Eden" with it's director in attendance. It was amazing to see all our heroes live in person (Dave Tarras, Leon Schwartz) and many of our staff (Henry, Frank, Lauren, and others) in their youth. The intervening 25 years were presented in sharp contrast to the current state of Yiddish Cultural affairs. Tonight is the staff concert where I'm pretty sure I will be playing a few tunes with Elaine and Susan Hoffman-Watts and the Youngers of Zion w/ Cookie and Hank which is always a selfish highlight for me.

Gotta run!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The calm before the storm....literally

Sunday morning at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa. The skeleton crew showed up last night and we're getting KlezKamp on its feet. It's the calm before the storm: literally. Weather predictions are anything from snow showers to blizzards today. 40 years in the desert did little to prepare us for this kind of weather.