Too young; too old; just right

By Lindajoy Fenley

Sometimes World Fest residencies feel a little like Goldilocks’ experience with the Three Bears. After giving workshops for kindergartners through sixth graders at six Aberdeen schools, the ensemble performed for two groups of senior citizens. Finally they found a coffee house frequented by people their own age.

Aberdeen’s elementary students were the most enthusiastic we’ve met to date. Yonnie Dror told radio listeners this week that young students here were quite exciting to work with. They clapped intensely during and after almost every piece the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble played.

Older audiences that filled the Senior Center and the Parkside Apartments common area for mini-concerts, appreciated the ensemble’s Mediterranean-Middle Eastern sound, but wanted to know if the musicians also played American music. Instead of playing the Middle-Eastern interpretation of Michael Jackson’s Beat It (as they often do for the youngsters), the ensemble played a faithful When the Saints Go Marching In. As has occurred in older-audience venues elsewhere, at least one person approached an ensemble member at the end of the mini-concert to talk about a recent trip to Israel. Another wanted to know if any of them were married. (Only the sound engineer is.)

Just before the Aberdeen residency drew to a close, percussionist Aviad Ben Yehuda discovered a coffee house that not only serves a delicious humus-cucumber sandwich that reminded him of home, but also attracts people his age. So, on Thursday, the ensemble dressed up and performed at the Red Rooster, adding one more activity to a busy week.

While the ensemble enjoys playing to both young and old, Talya Solan says “the guys want to meet people their own age.” They fondly remember groupies who emerged from the college-age population of Marquette, MI, the first week of the tour, and hope something similar happens in Valley City, ND, where the tour ends next week.

Yonnie stands in the parking lot of local radio station building.
Yonnie Dror and Talya Solan (not pictured) rose early Thursday to reach several radio audiences.
The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble performs for seniors at Parkside Apartments.
The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble performs for seniors at Parkside Apartments.
Band performs in front of tall shelves full of books.
Performance at the Red Rooster coffee house.
Reporter interviews Talya, taking notes on a notepad.
Aberdeen News reporter Jeff Bahr and his wife, Kenna, catch vocalist Talya Solan at the Parkside Apts. for a second interview.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.