The Wholesale Klezmer Band is coming to Tamworth!

by Arts Council of Tamworth on October 16, 2014

2014.wholesale.webArts Council of Tamworth is excited to present The Wholesale Klezmer Band, live at The Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth, NH at 7:30 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014, and in residency in Tamworth from November 12-14. If you’re not familiar with this rousing traditional music of Eastern Europe, with old roots in Romanian music and newer connections to American jazz, you are in for a treat. If you are, you won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to see Klezmer in the North Country. For over 30 years, from Carnegie Hall to Tamworth, Wholesale Klezmer has been entertaining and educating lucky listeners. They’ve been called “Wonderfully entertaining and moving,” and “A New England Treasure.” The Saratogo County Arts Council called one of their performances “An unforgettable evening of comedy and drama and joy and sorrow.” “Their upbeat, danceable, festive music made it hard for me to sit still,” said an audience member at another concert.

The band members of Wholesale Klezmer have musical roots as deep and wide as Klezmer itself. Band leader Yosl Kurland took up violin in the second grade in the Bronx, and played only classical music for years. Then he discovered Pete Seeger and the guitar, Eastern European music and folk dancing, and more. At 40 he learned to speak and then teach Yiddish. Multi-instrumentalist David Tasgal played in everything from string quartets and symphony orchestras to jazz ensembles and rock groups before joining Wholesale Klezmer. In addition to Klezmer music, trombonist Brian Bender plays jazz and reggae, rhythm and blues, Latin, Celtic and Brazilian music. Christina Crowder, the band’s newest member, trained in classical piano before taking up the accordion. She is a founding member of the Budapest-based Yiddish music ensemble Di Naye Kapelye, and has worked intensively in Romania researching Jewish music there. She also plays old-time music on banjo and fiddle, and finds a strong connection between the Appalachian and Klezmer traditions. Flautist and vocalist Peggy Davis’s first encounter with native singers of Yiddish music was when she worked with Russian immigrants in Italy. She also has a background in Balkan and Russian folk music. Bassist Michael Suter has also played with diverse ensembles—funk/rock, African, Middle Eastern, a Sun Ra tribute band… “Klezmer deeply touches my roots…,” he says, echoing other band members’ sentiments, “and gives me a real sense of positive connection to my European heritage — something which is valuable and healing.”

Tickets for the Friday evening performance are on sale now. Choose Your Own Ticket Price, $5 to $30+ for adults, $0 to $5+ for youth to 18. Ticket revenues help support ACT’s Art Connects Us artist residencies in school and community—please invite your friends!

The public has several other opportunities to play and dance with and learn from Wholesale Klezmer band members. You’re invited to the Tamworth Lyceum in Tamworth on Wednesday evening, November 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM for a workshop in traditional Yiddish song with Yosl Kurland. The workshop is free and open to all ages; no experience necessary. Donations are always welcome in support of our work in school and community. On Thursday, November 13, from 4:30-5:30 PM, bring your instrument the Brett School to learn about Instrumental Klezmer music with Christina Crowder. Then stay and put your learning to use: ACT is collaborating with the K. A. Brett Health and Wellness Committee for their 8th Annual Harvest Dinner & Dance. Wholesale Klezmer band members will join the members of the CaravanBand, Tom Chiappisi, Anne Krom, Siena Kaplan & Allie Thompson for an evening of traditional contra dances AND traditional Yiddish dances. Dinner begins at 5:30—beans, stews, apple crisp and bread are provided, potluck salads and sides are welcome—and dancing at 6:30. This event is also free; donations are welcome. Singers and musicians who would also like to be involved in one or two numbers during the Friday evening performance can contact for details.

NEFA_black_RGB_small_0The Wholesale Klezmer residency is sponsored by generous business sponsors The Other Store and  BEAM Construction Associates, Inc. The Wholesale Klezmer Band artist residency is funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies, with support from the K. A. Brett School, the Tamworth PTA, the Tamworth Foundation, and from media sponsors The Conway Daily Sun, 93.5 WMWV and Magic 104FM.


House of Wishes & Gift Beads with master teaching artist Mark Ragonese

by Arts Council of Tamworth on September 1, 2014

ragonese.flagsArts Council of Tamworth in partnership with the K. A. Brett School in Tamworth, NH invites the public to participate in the upcoming Art Connects Us artist residency with sculptor, master woodworker and multi-media teaching artist Mark Ragonese. Mark will guide the community in creating a House of Wishes, a sculptural “house” of native wood hung with hand-dyed flags decorated with our wishes and dreams. He will also facilitate a gift-bead project, and tell stories about the importance of wishes and the significance of handmade objects. Mark will be in residence at the Brett School from September 17-19 and 24-26. Homeschoolers are welcome to participate; call 603-323-7271 for the schedule. Area teachers are invited to a hands-on professional development workshop with Mark on Wednesday, September 17 at 3:30 at Brett, “Gift Beads & Wishing Flags: Building Community Through the Works of Our Hands.” Ragonese will share the story he uses in his wishing flag workshops with kids, and speak about the significance of gift beads and the uses of story to flesh out and deepen a creative project. On Wednesday, September 24, the public is invited to come help create the communal house of wishes at a free evening workshop, “Gift Beads & Wishing Flags,” at the Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth, from 6:30-8:30 PM (check out our teaser if you’re in the library soon). Anyone interested in pit-firing, a traditional method of clay-firing, can stop by the school on the afternoon of the 24th at 2:00 for a demonstration. The public is then invited to join us at Brett on Friday, September 26 at 2:00 PM for the culminating event of the residency, a ceremonial first viewing of the House of Wishes.

055 (1024x848)Mark Ragonese stresses the importance of individuality, membership in a community, and the significance of a handmade object. His work in schools is fun and energetic and designed to give individual attention to every student while illustrating the power and importance of group effort and the handmade object. When he’s not leading exciting, inspiring workshops for people of all ages, Mark Ragonese designs and builds one-of-a-kind fine furniture and sculpture and outdoor site and event specific installations, and is an experienced teacher of mastery level woodworking and design. He received the Yamagata International Visual Arts Fellowship for his work with the disabled and disadvantaged.

060 (1024x768)Brett & ACT are able to bring this experienced, dedicated and joyful teacher to Carroll County with help from many: Big thank yous to Residency Sponsor The Yankee Smokehouse. Thank you also to new ACT sponsors The Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm, White Mountain Survey & Engineering, and Winnipesaukee Driving School. Thank you to sponsor Paul L. King Surveying & Engineering, and media sponsors The Conway Daily Sun, 93.5 WMWV and Magic 104FM, and to the Tamworth PTA and the Tamworth Foundation. Brett and Arts Council of Tamworth are supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Donate below in support of school and community-wide artist residencies.