Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Ukrainian Choir

Last Sat evening we went to a special performance in Netanya of a Ukranian choir from Moscow, together with a Russian choir.  They were in Israel for a choral festival called "Shalom Israel" held in Jerusalem, and this was their only other performance in Israel.
They had contacted Rabbi Birnbaum of the Conservative Congregation here, Beth Israel, and he had arranged for them to perform in the shool hall, that was big enough to accomodate them, there were about 30 people in the Ukrainian choir, but only 6 in the Russian choir and several other solo acts.  A young girl (maybe 8 yrs old) sang counterpoint with a woman with a deeper voice, and they sang typical Ukrainian folk music.  Then the Ukrainian choir sang similar music, and they were very friendly and smiling.  The women were all dressed in red folk costumes and looked very authentic.  They sang many songs, including one in Hebrew. The Russian choir was smaller but very good and they all ended with the old favorite "Kalinka."   I must admit that I could not help thinking that not so long ago, 1-2 generations, their parents or grandparents were probably busy murdering Jews.  Now we are all friends.
Next week we have a visit at our synagogue, McDonald's, of the English Shabbaton Choir, that I am told is a men's choir.  Quite a varied set of programs.  In our Shearim weekly concerts at noon on Monday we have had a series of different insturments, each accompanied by piano, including soprano, oboe, cello, violin, clarinet and next week trumpet, quite a choice. Some of these instrumentalists were excellent. In addition we have the Kibbutz Orchestra, that plays at the Netanya Cultural Center, 5 mins by car from our house and we have monthly concerts there, last month a selection of American music (Ives and Copland) and in the second half a woman singing Brazilian Bossa Nova, very unusual, and last night a harp concerto by Rodrigo and Beethoven's Second Symphony (on the basis of that I don't think he'll make it past his third, unless he goes stone deaf, ha, ha,ha!).
One thing we are not starved for here in Netanya is musical performances, and at a bargain price compared to most American cities and most importantly parking is free.


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