Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ger Mandolin Orchestra: 2011

Ger Mandolin Orchestra, c. 1933
Avner Yonai was inspired by a photograph of his grandfather's mandolin orchestra in Góra Kalwaria (Ger in Yiddish), Poland, to create a new version of the orchestra.  Many of Avner's relatives in Ger died in the Holocaust.  He decided to resurrect the orchestra as a memorial to those relatives.

A Facebook page is dedicated to the orchestra, and articles have appeared on Tablet and Yad Vashem.  A lot of research has been dedicated to trying to determine just what music the orchestra would likely have played.

While researching the orchestra, Avner has found information about his family members who left Ger and connected with long-lost relatives in Israel.  He discovered that his mother and uncle were named after members of the family who perished during the war.

The new Ger Mandolin Orchestra will perform as part of the 26th Annual Jewish Music Festival, taking place March 5-13 in the San Francisco Bay area.  The orchestra's performance will be on Sunday, March 6, at 2:00 p.m. at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94704.

Even though the repertoire for the performance is pretty well set, if you happen to know anything about what mandolin orchestras in Poland might have been playing in the 1920's and 1930's, Avner would be happy to hear from you.

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