Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC), Performance, The Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band

Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band Helps Bring L’Chaim 2019 To Life

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Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band performing at L’Chaim 2019  (Photo Credit: BHEC)

On August 19th, 2019, the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band was pleased to perform at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center’s (BHEC) annual L’Chaim ceremony.

The L’Chaim event honors Alabama’s Holocaust survivors and their families. These men and women survived the Holocaust and then made Alabama their home. BHEC states that “more than 150 Holocaust survivors have made Alabama their home and of those 77 of these lived in Birmingham. Today there are twelve in Birmingham, two in Huntsville, one in Northport, and one in Selma. Three others now live out of state.”

The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center states, “In honor of our survivors and the lives they lived before the horrors of the Holocaust, L’Chaim 2019 celebrates their memories of home.”

The Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band were thrilled to be included throughout the evening’s celebrations. They not only performed several songs at the start of the event but they also then returned at the end of the show to close the festivities.

At the opening, the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band performed two pieces, Der Heyser Bulgar and the Besarabisher Bulgar, and it was plain to see that that music brought smiles and looks of delight and remembrance to the faces of those being honored.

In between the two selections, Alan Goldspiel, musical director and guitarist for the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band, spoke to the audience about Klezmer music and its deep meaning and importance in the lives of the Jewish people by stating:

Thank you. We are the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band and Klezmer, as you well may know, is music of Yiddish speaking Eastern European Jews. The itinerant musicians who played this music were such an important part of festivals and life-cycle celebrations especially weddings. The Klezmorim made music for dancing and they made music to express a whole range of human emotions from ecstasy to profound sorrow. We like to think that just hearing the dance music, some of which we are playing today, with its joyful melodies and syncopated rhythms puts us in touch with all of those wonderful past celebrations…and just try not to move in your seats.”

Following the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band’s performance there was a touching welcome by Deborah Layman (L’Chaim producer) and Jeff Eliasoph (WVTM 13 news anchor) as well as a video of Holocaust survivors sharing their happy memories of their home and family.

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Alan Goldspiel and Cantor Jessica Roskin perform Three Lullabies (Photo credit: BHEC)

Goldspiel then returned to the stage to perform with Cantor Jessica Roskin. The duo performed an arrangement by Goldspiel called Three Lullabies which included pieces written by three famous Jewish musicians – Yankele by Mordechai Gebertig, Summertime by George Gershwin, and Oifn Pripetshok by Mark Warshawsky.

This performance was followed by many touching dedications from people like Robby Ballard of the Altamont School and several performances from the Red Mountain Performing Ensemble.

The Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band returned to perform the ever-popular Dobranotsh (Good Night) to close the evening’s celebration ‘to life’!

The members of the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band include Alan Goldspiel (Music Director and guitar), Ron Alexander (Bass), Grant Dalton (Drums), Robert Janssen (Clarinet), and Pei-Ju Wu (violin).

To watch the whole L’Chaim 2019 event, Click Here!

For more information about the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band, Click Here!

To learn more about the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC), Click Here!