2009-08-14 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Well, the rain held up for last night's concert but we didn't take any chances this week and we moved the concert into the Rockaway Theatre Company theater in Fort Tilden. Before doing so, we left signs at the parking field, on one of the lampposts and two signs on the Wenger Wagon in the event anyone came to Riis Park after we had left there at 6:00 p.m. And, of course, what do you know but it didn't rain, but better safe than sorry.

Considering the weather, we had a very good turnout at the theatre. The New York Klezmer Ensemble was fabulous and the acoustics in the theater were perfect for the music. The Ensemble played many old tunes that many people remembered and some newer ones written by the clarinetist for the group. In between, when presenting the different numbers, the leader described how much of klezmer music could be found in modern 20th century music. As an example he played some pieces by Benny Goodman, who had the famous Ziggy Elman as his clarinetist. The one very well known Goodman piece was "And the Angels Sing." Well, the audience was right there with the musicians clapping their hands and humming along and one couple even came dancing down the aisle. It was truly a fun evening and one of the best klezmer concerts we have ever presented.

For those who have been to a Jewish wedding they know that sooner or later some clarinetist is going to go into a klezmer number and one of the guests is going to go out on the dance floor and do a kazatsky (I'm not sure of the spelling). For those of you who don't know a kazatsky, it's when you get down on your haunches, fold your arms across your chest and kick out your legs in time to the music. Just try doing this and not falling on your a-. It's really a lot of fun especially after you've had a drink of two. Now, in our large extended family, my father was the one who got down in the middle of the floor along with some uncles and they had everyone in stitches, and then one of them fell down. Great memories of days gone by and I can just remember my dad being the life of the party - that is until my mother told him enough, Jack. We might not have had a lot of money, few people did in those days, but the family togetherness, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended relatives always managed to have a good time. Whether it was a picnic at Hempstead Lake State Park or some other park, a boat ride or just visiting one another, we always managed to have something to do. We didn't need iPods, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or whatever to keep us busy, we used our imaginations and always had fun. Kids, are you listening!!!

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