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 2014 class schedule


Opening: Welcome Henry Sapoznik


Slow tempo music performance 1 (workshop) Sherry Mayrent
Dance tempo music performance 1 (workshop) Faculty
Pigs, poultry, & pampers: Yiddish language (lecture) Michael Wex
The human hand in history (lecture-performance) Susan Leviton
Dance 1 (workshop) Jill Gellerman


Slow tempo music performance 2 (workshop) Sherry Mayrent
Dance tempo music performance 2 (workshop) Faculty
Jewish legends (lecture) Miriam Isaacs
Viskonsin! Yiddish radio: The story continues… Henry Sapoznik


Lunch on your own


Slow tempo music performance 3 (workshop) Sherry Mayrent
Instrumental sections (workshop) Faculty
Rhapsody in schmaltz (lecture) Michael Wex
Sing yourself into Yiddishland! (lecture-performance-singalong) Susan Leviton


Dance 2 (workshop) Jill Gellerman
The Yiddish ballad old & new (lecture) Miriam Isaacs
South American gems from the Mayrent Collection (lecture) Sherry Mayrent
Viskonsin! Tales from Yiddish Wisconsin (oral history) Frieda Levine and Henry Sapoznik

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

KlezKids Shifra Whiteman


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 will work in tandem with the dance workshops, with both teaching Eastern Europe repertoire that was considered to be Jewish as well as co-territorial non-Jewish dances performed by Jews. Each session will cover different musical styles.

Note: Attendees are required to provide their own music stands if they want to use them.

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 dance tempo workshops, but will move at a more leisurely pace and assumes less instrumental proficiency.

Music workshop schedule:
Session 1: Slow & medium tempo tunes
Session 2: Faster tempo tunes
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), Josh Horowitz (accordion), Sherry Mayrent (clarinet), Henry Sapoznik (tenor banjo), Cookie Segelstein (fiddle), David Spies (tuba)

Pigs, poultry, & pampers (lecture): Michael Wex

A look at how religious beliefs, practices and even superstitions have influenced Yiddish expressions and ways of thinking about things that have nothing to do with religion. No knowledge of Yiddish required.

The human hand in history by way of Yiddish (lecture-performance): Susan Leviton

One of the characteristics of Yiddish song is the strong voice of the people found within. Aside from the enormous and brilliant genres of Hasidic and religious songs, the folk and composed material that celebrates heroes and heroines raising the masses from misery and pain shine a light on both past and future. Here we’ll examine many of those individuals and the goal of social justice that informed the original singers. Men and women who singularly fought for freedom and justice in their times start with Moses and bring us to the present. It’s a remarkable way to embrace our heritage. The entire presentation is supported by PowerPoint translations and archival imagery.

Dance (workshop): Jill Gellerman

Historically, klezmorim were versatile instrumentalists from Eastern Europe, who played dance parties for both Jews and non-Jews in the Russian Pale of Settlement (ca. 1794-1917). Drawing on this rich music legacy, Jill Gellerman will teach dances that were not only considered to be Jewish, but also co-territorial non-Jewish dances performed by Jews. Note: Each session will cover different styles.

Jewish legends (lecture): Miriam Isaacs

Myths, legends and supernatural beings inhabit Yiddish folktales and modern literature. Meet some golems, demons and demonesses, ghosts and angels and find out what they did and why.

Viskonsin! Yiddish radio: The story continues… (lecture): Henry Sapoznik

From 1929 to 1933 Milwaukee station WISN as part of the new CBS network, carried Yiddish programs from their network flagship in New York. While the actual broadcasts have not been found, dozens of commercial records of the Yiddish stars who graced the programs are part of the Mayrent collection of Yiddish 78s. Join Henry Sapoznik as he explores more of the recordings which joined Brooklyn New York to Brooklyn Wisconsin.

Rhapsody in schmaltz–Ashkanazi food and what it’s done to our brains (lecture): Michael Wex

Ashkenazi Food and What It’s Done To Our Brains: A look at one or two typical Ashkenazi foods and the deep, and often surprising, influence that they have had on modern American culture. No knowledge of Yiddish or experience of indigestion required.

Sing yourself into Yiddishland! (lecture-sing-along): Susan Leviton

Last summer we tried out a class that got everyone singing. This year we bring that format back with a collection of fabulous songs–some well-known, others likely never before heard in Madison. Come raise your voice and share your senses of surprise, empathy, and delight with everyone else in the jam-packed room! All lyrics provided in PowerPoint, of course.

The Yiddish ballad old and new (lecture): Miriam Isaacs

Stories, histories, and legends are embedded in this traditional art form. We will trace themes of heroism, lore and lyricism in this Yiddish tradition, from ancient times to modern singers and their adaptation. These will include songs sung by the Yiddish Bundists during the Holocaust, songs of labor activists and songs of lost loves.

South American Gems from the Mayrent Collection (lecture): Sherry Mayrent

Join Sherry Mayrent as she plays some of the most interesting and unusual South American 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.

Viskonsin! Tales from Yiddish Wisconsin (oral history interview): Frieda Levine and Henry Sapoznik

Frieda Levine will discuss what it was like to come from New York to Wisconsin as young bride in the 50s and how her Yiddish upbringing and music skills made her an organic part of a half century of Milwaukee Yiddish cultural literacy.


Under the direction of Shifra Whiteman, 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.

This year in the children’s program we will be focusing on one Yiddish song, playing games and an awesome project that children can bring home! The day will be filled with silly sounds, goofy creations and a whole lot of laughs!

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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