That’s Entertainment – Klezmer Style!

Posted on 30 May 2014


A good friend recently called me to share the news that the Klezmer band in which he plays would be performing at Jewish Heritage Night festivities at an upcoming Philadelphia Phillies’ game.  Subsequently, he contacted me to inform me that he had an extra ticket if I wanted to make the 70+ mile trip down to Citizens Bank Park from my home in Morris County, New Jersey.  The chance to witness a live performance by my friend’s band and also root my beloved Fightin’ Phils onto victory was a temptation too appealing for me to resist.


And so, earlier this week I made the trek to witness my first ever performance by a Klezmer band.  For the uninitiated, Klezmer bands play a type of music derived from folk music performed in Jewish villages of Eastern Europe several centuries ago.  This traditional form of music was meant to imitate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue and customarily employs instruments including the clarinet, violin, flute, and accordion.


Hmm, what about the trombone?  I know my friend Art played trombone in the band at his Alma Mater, Rutgers University.  In fact, to this author’s knowledge, Art is one of the three best known living trombonists – in distinguished company with the likes of Joseph Alessi of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Christian Lindberg the renowned Swedish trombone soloist.


And, in what I have dubbed as The Art Lucker Klezmer Band (aka, Klezmer Klassics), Art is accompanied by clarinet, flute, trumpet, saxophone, drums, keyboard, and violin players as well as a vocalist.  In this author’s humble opinion, Art’s band rocked the ballpark both in their hour-long pre-game performance under the watchful eyes of the Phillie Phanatic inside the right field gate, as well as in their rousing Yiddish version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” before a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 26,668 during the seventh inning stretch.


As it turns out, the band’s on-the-field performance in the seventh inning was the highlight of the evening as the punchless Phils lost to the Mets by a 4-1 score.  Yet, the opportunity to see and hear Art’s band made the nearly four hours of driving and disheartening effort by the Phillies well worth it.


Check out the video below for one of the band’s standards from their pre-game concert.  L’chaim!



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