Sponsored in part by the Jewish Cultural Society at FAU, the festival, now in its fourth year, provides a celebration of Jewish culture, concerts, theater, song, film and book art designed to showcase FAU Libraries' Special Collections.
The library has a large print music collection of manuscripts and published music, including vintage publications and sheet music dating from the 18th century to the mid- 20th century, including religious music from Catholic masses, Yiddish songs, Negro spirituals and American patriotic songs.
<!-- Copyright DoubleClick Inc., All rights reserved. --><!-- This code was autogenerated @ Wed Apr 21 13:07:01 EDT 2010 --> "We have everything except the kitchen sink," said Aaron Kula, the director of Music Collections and Performance at FAU and maestro of the Klezmer Company Orchestra.
Kula, a musical alchemist, adds his own touches to period pieces, blending jazz, classical and ethnic music to create an original fusion composition.
"This year, I am excited to present all new events, which explore contemporary Jewish cultural issues relating to multiculturalism," Kula said.
"Our programming, events and guest artists have become the standard for attracting larger audiences. There is no other Jewish cultural arts festival like this in the state of Florida, hosted by an academic library at a state university."
One of Kula's roles at the university is to preserve and manage the music collection, perform the music and conduct the KCO, a 25-member klezmer group that plays Kula's reinterpretations of traditional Jewish music.
The highlight of this year's festival is the Roots, Rhythm and Soul concert, a transformational concert that connects and reimagines cross-cultural melodies.
The concert honors the memory of Cantor Morton Kula, Kula's father who died at age 82 last September.
One of the cantor's recordings, Shabbat Menucha/Sabbath Day of Rest, will be performed in English by Daniel Cochran, a tenor from West Palm Beach, and in Hebrew by Cantor Mark Kula, one of Aaron Kula's six brothers.
Kula reviewed thousands of pieces of sheet music from the vintage print music collection before creating the Roots, Rhythm and Soul compositions.
His adaptations are influenced by American and Latin jazz, swing and Negro spirituals. The orchestra will perform 22 new compositions adapted from songs and folk music.
"My goal is to bring these new creations from the shelf to the stage, breathing new life into forgotten musical legacies,'' said Kula. "We want to honor the music and composers of this heritage."
Among the concert's highlights are KCO's reunion with Cochran, and a performance by KCO violinist Randi Fishenfeld, who will be joined by the full orchestra in recently discovered Hungarian Czardas.
Fishenfeld, who plays rock violin with her own group, Blue Fire, has worked with Kula for the past 15 years.
The concert and festival mark KCO's 15th anniversary season celebration with Kula as musical director and the release of Klezmerology, the orchestra's new CD, featuring new classics such as "Bongo Bulgars," "2nd Avenue Mambo" and "Rebbe's Cumbia."
Other festival highlights include: a program by storyteller Caren Neile, Ph.D., artist-in-residence, FAU School of Communication and Multimedia Studies; renowned Sephardic ballad singer Flory Jagoda, performing Ladino songs and a lecture and workshop by master quilter and author Louise Silk, who uses spiritual themes, photo transfers, recycled clothing and embroidery in her creations.
Silk will discuss the divine aspects of quilting as defined by the mystical practice of Kabbalah in search of higher levels of spiritual realization, personal fulfillment and a quality quilted product.
In addition, the festival presents the Florida premiere of the play, "The Gospel According to Jerry," co-written by Richard Krevolin, screenwriting professor at USC School of Cinema and TV and Rabbi Irwin Kula, Aaron's other brother and president of Clal, the Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership founded in 1974 by Elie Wiesel.