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Sunday, December 28, 2014

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Hamilton klezmer band celebrates 10th anniversary

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Touch of Klez will launch its second CD at its 10th anniversary show on April 28 at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Hamilton. [Wendy Schneider photo]

The members of Touch of Klez come from different backgrounds and appreciate various types of music, but what brings them together is klezmer.

“We are all from different walks of life, but this is what meshes us together,” said violinist Charlotte Price.

The band was formed 10 years ago when founder and original bassist Michael Glogauer announced the idea from the bimah during Rosh Hashanah services at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Hamilton. Glogauer has since moved to Toronto, and the original drummer, Murray Adelman, died in 2011.

Current band members include, together with Price, Alan Livingston on guitar; David Ludwin on bass clarinet; Michael Morritti on bass guitar; Ron Richter on keyboard; Dave Jones on drums; Rick Black on soprano sax, and musical director Jordan Abraham on accordion.

The band has played throughout the Golden Horseshoe, including at weddings and bar mitzvahs, as well as at a dental convention and a world bike race.

Touch of Klez has recorded one CD and will launch its second at its 10th anniversary show on April 28 at 2 p.m. at Beth Jacob. Actor and singer Michele Tredger will join the band that day.

Price is a classically trained violinist but stopped playing at age 19. When her children were young, she picked up the violin again and joined the Oakville Symphony Orchestra. She was a violin teacher for 23 years before retiring in 2000.

At age 69 and as the only woman in Touch of Klez, Price calls herself the matriarch of the band. Abraham, 42, who is the youngest band member, was in a children’s choir that Price directed.

Most of the band’s members had never played klezmer before they joined the band, and their tastes ran from rock to classical music.

Abraham told the Hamilton Jewish News that he sees a similar spirit between rock and klezmer.

“If you think of what was happening in music at that time, in Europe, it was Strauss waltzes, very subdued, very controlled. What klezmer was doing was like punk. The rhythms were heavy. It was pretty angry music.”

But Price said being part of the band has given her “much joy and happiness.”

“It is toe-tapping, as well as kind of mournful,” she said. “It is our Jewish history on display. We get through adversity with our music. And if you watch people listening to the music, you see them get involved emotionally and physically.”

For tickets ($20 and $15 for seniors and student) to Touch of Klez’s anniversary concert, call 905-522-1351 or send an email to office@bethjacobsynagogue.ca. Refreshments will be served.

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