Oakridger, Friday, Monday, March 2, 1998

Israel 50th birthday celebration held at Laurel Theatre
by Norma Herz
For The Oak Ridger

Tennessee Schmaltz opened the 50th Birthday Celebration of the State of Israel Feb. 22 at the Laurel Theatre, Knoxville, by playing to a sold-out crowd.

The audience was involved early in the program with Rob Heller giving a question-and-answer session on terms that might not be familiar to the general audience.

The audience also joined in on the chorus of "Tum Balalaika" and sang along with the keyboard to "Bai Mir Bist Du Shayn." Even though the audience was invited to listen to Judy Megibow sing "Oif'n Pripitchik," several in the audience joined in and softly sang along.

By the end of the first set, several in the audience made their way through the standing-room-only crowd to dance in the aisles. Dance sets were led by different people in the audience, including Roni Ornan, who came from Toledo, Ohio, for the opening of the "Israel 50th Birthday Celebration."

Tennessee Schmaltz ended the program with an Appalachian song familiar to most East Tennesseans -- "Rocky Top" -- klezmer style. Heller informed the audience that this "was proof that any music can be klezmerized."

The next scheduled performances of Tennessee Schmaltz will be noon to 4 p.m. April 4, at the Dogwood Arts Festival Outdoor Israel Celebration, Market Square Mall and April 17, 12:30 at the University of Tennessee International Festival on the roof of the University Center parking garage.

Source: http://www.oakridger.com/stories/030298/com_isreal.html