|Letters From Family and Friends|
I'm rather ashamed that it's taken me nearly a year to tell you how much I enjoyed and still enjoy your CD. I love your arrangements, the instruments weaving in and out of the lead and especially the subtlety of the accordion part. What a fantastic tribute to the folk whose tunes you have used.
(St. Mary's Holm, Orkney, United Kingdom)
I'm listening to your CD "Echoes of Vilna" and even before reaching the end, I want to tell you that I'm very impressed with it on a variety of different levels. First, it's professionally presented and carefully crafted. One could walk into a record store (if they still exist) and look at the CD and not be able to distinguish it from a label production. Congratulations. Also, I liked your notes, especially the Chapman performance that drew your attention to the repertoire. It gave a very personal perspective to an historical event of immense and tragic magnitude. The notes were carefully researched.
I also liked the arrangements.
Now, to the playing-I enjoyed it individually as well as the ensemble mix. Lots of color and musical give and take. All the musicians are very comfortable with their instruments and this comes through.
Thanks very much for sending this to me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can heartily recommend it.
Miamon Miller (Putney, VT)
(Violinist, musicologist, teacher)
Yesterday I received your CD in the mail. First let me say that this music is so beautiful!! And now to know the history behind it makes it so meaningful. It's truly a miracle that the music was preserved out of such a tragic time in history. The CD is everything I'd hoped it would be. Thank You so much! I really enjoyed reading the stories behind the songs and even liked the photo on the front cover. I have a friend that lives in Slutsk, Belarus and even though she is only a few years older than me and was born years after WWII, the tragic events of the war are very much a part of her. She said that one in every four people were killed by the "fascists". Also, there are very few of the older buildings left there as they were all destroyed. Their Independence Day is celebrated on July 3rd and is very important to them. I suppose living over there, they are face to face with the reminders of that time.
And, Oh what a night that must have been during the [Chapman University] Awards Ceremony, to have the older people remembering the songs. It's just unbelievable how they could ever overcome what they must have witnessed. What a horrible time in history. This has caused me to want to learn more about this time period.
And, I wanted to thank you for sending the information on the websites and the different groups. That will keep me busy for some time. I plan to order some of the music books.
And by the way, you are a wonderful accordion player!! I'm really going to enjoy the CD and I'm happy that I stumbled across your website.
Cheryl Zientek (Bleiblerville, TX)
Thank you so much for your invaluable contribution to our film. Hereís hoping that Mr. Speilberg and the Righteous Persons Foundation renew the grant. The exquisite and moving music you and the Orange County Klezmers perform add immeasurably to the film. Thank you so much for permitting us to use your work.
With warm regards,
Dr. Marilyn Harran (Orange, CA)
(Director of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, Chapman University)
I had a great time playing with you on Sunday and the caliber of musicianship is fantastic in your group. The CD is very professional too. I finally got the chance and listened to it in its entirety today. Beautiful! At first I thought it might be all slow, sad, and emotional songs, but it turned into a very pleasant listening experience. I hope to make music with you again in the future! Thanks for the gig. It turned out to be a great one too!
P.S. The CD could have used a little more cowbell though!!!
Larry Klein (Sherman Oaks, CA)
To the Producer of Echoes of Vilna,
I just wanted you to know that my husband and I love listening to your CD. We listen to it every shabbos, while we cook. It's eerie, engaging, lilting melodies, enrich our spirits with its lively, moving melodies, and is a delight to our quest for Yiddishkeit in our hearts.
Bonnie and Emile Barchichat (Fountain Valley, CA)
We bought a copy of Echoes of Vilna from the gift shop at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. We found the CD to be a musical treasure. Listening to the CD was a moving and emotional experience for me.
Both of my parents were in the Vilna Ghetto, and after escaping, both joined the Partisans of Vilna. We have just finished writing a book about the Vilna Ghetto, and the Partisans of Vilna.
We have been researching the information in our book for 8 years, including a week in Vilnius (Vilna). We can especially appreciate the quality of your work.
Michael Bart (Del Mar, CA)
(Holocast Historian, Author of book "Until Our Last Breath")
To: Union for Reform Judaism
Dear Jonathan and Joel:
I am taking a chance that you are the people to whom I should speak.
I have been listening to a privately produced CD called "Echoes of Vilna" by the Orange County Klezmers. Barry Friedland, the founder of the band, produced the program of music contained on the CD that was inspired by the annual Holocaust Writing Contest held at Chapman University, an event at which they have performed at the last two years. The music contained on the CD is all from the area around Vilna and was composed during the great disaster. The music has extraordinary power and beauty.
I believe this CD would be an asset to anybody with an interest in Holocaust era music. I have written a review of the music for a small magazine that I publish and I have included a copy of the review for your information. I have no interest of any nature in this CD other than I think that it is great music that members of the URJ will enjoy.
Jerry O'Brien (Brea, CA)
(Editor The Panache Experience)
I finally bought a disk player so I could listen to your CD. Murray and I were very impressed with your music. Well, no wonder, you are all professionals. You made a most beautiful CD out of so many different melodies. Most of them were very melodious, lively, and one feels like to sing or whistle along and even get up and dance. I'm familiar with most of the melodies and they all bring back some pleasant memories of the past years. The CD is so good that we like to listen to it over and over again. If you have other CDs I would love to have them.
I wish you lots of luck and health and success. Love to all.
Margie Lake (Whitestone, NY)
Well, it's missing a brass section! :) Just kidding. I meant to send you an email but was traveling as usual. I really like the CD! It's incredible musicianship throughout. The songs are really different from the usual fast paced Klezmer I'm used to hearing - much more soulful. The written introduction to the CD is really, really good...a brief history to explain the derivation of the songs, personal experience, the concert where it started, and the history of the music. It's analogous to an archeologist discovering and finding treasure while leaving the artifacts untouched.
Thanks for the CD!
Scott Gelb (Newport Beach, CA)
Hi dear friend,
I love the CD you sent. Your band is so very good. We are enjoying it very much.
Shirley Karger (Miami, FL)
Your CD was wonderful. I loved it. The quality of the music and arrangements were top. I think the music you chose is wonderful for people to hear. It almost seemed to me like a good historical piece that can bring back to life some of the old tunes that were important at the time. I am very happy for you.
I loved the CD!! It's really moving!
Love to all,
Marilyn Kay (Sherman Oaks, CA)