Saluting 3M in Alexandria

By Lindajoy Fenley

The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble’s last day of Minnesota workshops began at 8:45 a.m. Thursday with a trip to Miltona Elementary School and ended 12 hours later when the group finished loading out instruments and equipment at Alexandria Technical College, site of afternoon and evening workshops for seniors and families. In between, they found time for a quick visit to the Wimmer’s lake cabin, a meal at an Alexandria restaurant, and a photo opportunity in front of the 3M factory.

Earlier in the week, the ensemble created a potluck meal to share Israeli dishes and Midwest home-grown produce with the Wimmer family. Also this week, they reached over 3,000 students at workshops at local elementary, middle and high schools. That number doesn’t count another 300 expected at the ensemble’s public concert this Saturday.

Midwest World Fest residencies allow people in nine different states to get to know foreign cultures and peoples through world class music. Audiences have an opportunity to ask questions and, in many cases, participate with the musicians. Percussionist Aviad Ben Yehuda usually invites two or three members of the audience to learn a middle eastern rhythm, and Talya Solan invites others to dance. Meanwhile, everyone else has a chance to clap asymmetric patterns.

Alexandria is one of two 3M communities the ensemble will visit this year; the other is Aberdeen, South Dakota. The Aberdeen residency begins Monday, Nov. 1 and culminates with a public concert Nov. 6.

Posing outside by a 3M sign, wearing winter coats.
Posing in front of 3M with Ken Carlson and Kat Duvic from Arts Midwest, and community host Bernice Wimmer (far right).
Talya Solan sings while Sefi Asfuri Hirsh plays his instrument.
Talya Solan and Sefi Asfuri Hirsh perform at Alexandria Technical College Thursday.
Ensemble members huddle in front of bare trees at a Minnesota lake two days afte
Ensemble members huddle in front of bare trees at a Minnesota lake two days after a short-lived snowfall.
Two children play drums on stage with the musicians.
Jeremiah and Devonte Hart drum with Aviad Ben Yehuda at Alexandria's community workshop Thursday night.

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