Schedule / Program

A Biselle KlezKamp

We are pleased to announce the date for ABKK 2014: July 27, 2014.

All events will be held at Union South on the UW–Madison Campus (1308 W. Dayton St.).

ABKK 2013 class schedule

Our class schedule for 2014 isn’t set yet, but you can learn more about our programming by looking at the 2013 schedule below.


Opening: Welcome Henry Sapoznik


Slow tempo music performance 1 (workshop) Sherry Mayrent
Dance tempo music performance 1 (workshop) Faculty
Born to Kvetch: Yiddish language (lecture) Michael Wex
I.B. Singer and his illustrators (lecture-performance) Susan Leviton
Dance 1: Old-style wedding dances (workshop) Jill Gellerman


Slow tempo music performance 2 (workshop) Sherry Mayrent
Dance tempo music performance 2 (workshop) Faculty
Story, poem, song 1: Yiddish language (lecture) Miriam Isaacs
Yiddish radio: Wisconsin & beyond (lecture) Henry Sapoznik


Lunch on your own


Slow tempo music performance 3 (workshop) Sherry Mayrent
Instrumental sections (workshop) Faculty
Born to Kvetch: Yiddish language (lecture) Michael Wex
Jews and food (lecture-performance-singalong) Susan Leviton


Dance 2: Horas beyond Hava Nagila (workshop) Jill Gellerman
Story, poem, song 2: Yiddish language (lecture) Miriam Isaacs
European gems from the Mayrent Collection (lecture) Sherry Mayrent

9:00-1:00, 2:00-5:15

KlezKids Sarah Gordon


Concert and dance party Faculty


Music (workshop): Instrumental faculty

Our music workshops give students a hands-on opportunity to learn a variety of pieces and musical styles from our master instructors. This year’s program features a day-long exploration of tune types that would have accompanied traditional Eastern European Jewish weddings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Each session will cover different musical styles.

The dance tempo workshops assume some basic instrumental proficiency but do not require previous knowledge of Yiddish music. They will include learning by ear and from printed music, and will include on the spot arranging skills. (If you don’t have ear-learning experience but have ever wanted to try learning that way, this is your chance to give it a shot!)

The slow tempo workshops will cover some of the same repertoire that’s taught in the performance workshop, but will move at a more leisurely pace and assumes less instrumental proficiency.

Music workshop schedule:
Session 1: Slow & medium tempo tunes: Horas, Khusidles, Dobridens, Doinas
Session 2: Faster tempo tunes: Bulgars, Freylakhs, Co-territorial tunes (polkas, kolomeykes, terkishes)
Session 3: Students from earlier slow tempo sessions can gather to review material presented throughout the day. For those interested, instrumental sections will be a place to hone instrumental style and address elements like arrangement and accompaniment.
Session 4: Make them dance! Instead of a music workshop, musicians are encouraged to attend the second dance workshop to solidify the connection between music and dance. There may be an opportunity to play tunes learned during the music workshops.

Instrumental faculty: Kurt Bjorling (clarinet), Lauren Brody (accordion), Sherry Mayrent (clarinet), Henry Sapoznik (tenor banjo), Cookie Segelstein (fiddle), David Spies (tuba)

Born to Kvetch (lecture): Michael Wex

Why Jews complain, how Jews complain, when did they start and why don’t they stop. The role of indigestion will be considered. No knowledge of Yiddish required. Note: Both sections of this lecture will be the same.

I.B. Singer and his Illustrators (lecture-performance): Susan Leviton

Dozens of artists filtered Singer’s visions through their own sensibilities as his illustrators. Some were friends, and others, chosen by the publishers, had nothing in common with the writer. This presentation is a a collage of sound and image, as Susan speaks and sings her way through Singer’s stories and memoirs, accompanied by painted images from his books and Yiddish songs old and new which stitch the visual and literary together.

Dance—On the Move:  Simkhe Dancing Transported and Transformed (workshop): Jill Gellerman

Simkhe dancing, broadly conceived, is Jewish party dancing—the popular dance repertoire for joyous occasions, such as weddings and holidays, in the observant Jewish community. These classes contextualize Yiddish dance and music, exploring both the roots and routes of adaptation and novelty in the culture.

Dance 1, Heymish Khasene Tents (Classic Old-Style Wedding Dances): This session will include classic old-style wedding dances such as freylekhs suites and sher dance motifs. (These might include the following, as time allows: Freylekhs Suite; Kazatska/broyges tants in mit; R. Elimelekh’s tants (Iber un unter); Keytsad merokdim.)

Dance 2, Horas (Beyond Hava Nagila): This session will focus on horas that go far beyond the ubiquitous Hava Nagila. (These might include the following, as time allows: Zhok Bulgar; Hora Haktana; Meron Hora Medley; Klutz Hora Medley.)

Story, Poem, Song (lecture): Miriam Isaacs

These lectures will discuss the relationships between story, poem, and song in Yiddish culture. Miriam will discuss these as cultural expressions and performance forms, as well as the question of what the songbooks, catalogs, and archives that record these forms mean for the future of Yiddish studies.

Story, Poem, Song 1 will focus on women.
Story, Poem, Song 2 will focus on men.

Yiddish Radio: From Brooklyn, New York to Brooklyn, Wisconsin (lecture):  Sapoznik

Of the approximately 189 stations from coast to coast that carried Yiddish programs from 1922 to 1965, five broadcast from within the borders of Badgerland. Join Henry Sapoznik as he explores the sound and stories of Yiddish radio during its American peak in the untold story of the fortunes of Wisconsin’s own stations: WEMP, WFOX and WISN (Milwaukee), and WMAM in Marinette and Eau Claire’s WTAQ.

Jews and Food (lecture): Susan Leviton

Unless it’s been too long since you’ve participated in a Jewish celebration, you will know that we are not the punch and cookies folks! Here’s a culinary tour of each of the food groups as found in Yiddish song, from varnishkes to gefilte fish, and from homentaschen to chicken—a bit heavy on the starches, I admit!  There’s plenty of musical wine and whiskey to wash it all down, too! Lyrics and translations will be provided, so this will be a chance to raise your voices in song.

European Gems from the Mayrent Collection (lecture): Sherry Mayrent

Join Sherry Mayrent as she plays some of the most interesting and unusual European recordings from the Mayrent Collection, which is housed in the UW–Madison Mills Music Library and comprised of over 9,000 recordings of Yiddish music.


Under the direction of Sarah Gordon, longtime KlezKamp KlezKids co-director, your children (ages 5–12) will enjoy age-appropriate Yiddish programming. Parents are requested to share one period with their children in the KlezKids program.

Concert and Dance Party

Our whirlwind day of programming concludes with a fabulous concert and dance party. Instrumental faculty will play a few tunes for your listening enjoyment, and everybody will be invited to participate in the friendly, community-building group dances. Students from the dance tempo workshops may be invited to play a tune or two. This party is open to all, regardless of dance experience or participation in the daytime programming.


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