Junior Klezmer Orchestra
Alumni Feature: Then and Now
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Steve Levin

(Was in JKO Grades 8-12)

Certified Public Accountant

& Freelance Musician

In a few words, how did your time in the JKO influence the trajectory of your career?

The skills I learned in the band can easily transfer to performing in different types of settings. Not only will you learn to be more comfortable as a soloist and learning to play backup lines behind lead vocalists or lead melodies, but you will start to really appreciate different types of music that have meaning to various cultures. I became a more well-rounded musician because of my experience with JKO.

Besides your career, how has the music and "Yiddishkeit" (Jewish content) you learned in JKO enriched your adult life?

I have learned that especially in today’s current climate, it’s important to have something that unites us. Whether it’s Klezmer music or bonding over your favorite sports team, setting differences aside and trying to bond over something that people from different generations or different political beliefs can share together can help us move forward in a more civil society.

 

What do you think the value of learning klezmer and Yiddish music is?

My experience with JKO helped me become more aware of the significance klezmer music has within the Jewish community. I learned that playing this music was not just about playing notes on a page, but helping our audiences relive some of the more joyous times of their lives, ranging from their childhood to their bar/bat mitzvahs and their weddings. Klezmer music has the potential to link generations to each other within the Jewish community and being a part of the process to bring klezmer music to a younger generation will always have a special place in my heart.

 

What words of guidance would you like to share with young musicians who are just joining the JKO?

The music you are playing will not only help you become a better musician, but help you gain a better understanding of the significance Klezmer music has to the Jewish community. Whether or not you pursue a music career, take advantage of this special opportunity to learn from world class musicians. It will be an experience that you will fondly remember for the rest of your life.

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