Member of Music Teachers Association of California • National Association of Teachers of Singing

When I decided in mid May to perform both a live and virtual streaming concert in my backyard for the first week of June, to be honest I did not give the cost or details of producing a full-blown concert a second thought. All I knew was that my accordionist Ben Gown was leaving on June 13 for Brazil and my Social Media assistant who was going to be streaming the concert on FaceBook and YouTube was leaving for Pennsylvania at the end of June. I also realized that my three-person ensemble had rehearsed all the new arrangements and they were ready to be performed. I couldn’t imagine waiting any longer to share these beautiful arrangements, so June 6 it was. 

It had been over a year and a half since I had performed in front of a live audience, and after rehearsing these songs (most of the times through my mask during my power-walks and bike rides so I could keep the words fresh in my mind), I was ‘chomping at the bit’ to perform again. The title of my previous blog was “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!” Well on June 6, I “felt the fear” and did it anyway; and it felt fantastic! It was a spectacular feeling to finally be able to share these songs live with 15 of my friends (including some of my students) and family, as they sat socially distanced from one another in the backyard of my home. And since it was recorded, I now have the opportunity to share these rarely performed (but so important) songs directly to your computer. 

If you missed my live-streamed concert on June 6, you are in luck! The entire concert was recorded, and you can now view it on Youtube! You can hear me singing songs written in the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe with all new arrangements by composers Zachary Mayer, Dr. Michelle Green Willner and Ben Gown. The one hour and eighteen-minute concert (which includes a 14-minute intermission) also features Diana Parmeter on cello and Ben Gown on accordion. 

This concert was presented free to you and the public, but donations (no matter how small!) are greatly appreciated to help defray the costs of this concert. Thank you to those of you who have already donated to help cover the costs of my accompanists and production team. My goal is to break even, but any donations over my goal amount will go back to the project. Please Venmo or Paypal me at alinketter@yahoo.com. You can also send money through Zelle at my phone number 562-235-0438. If you are unfamiliar with online payments, you may send a check by mail to my home address, which can be obtained by emailing me at harrietbennish@gmail.com. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to these rarely performed songs. I would like to believe that the spirit and souls of the composers and writers who wrote these songs and perished in the Holocaust are smiling down on this concert, because it has become my purpose in life to make sure they are not forgotten.

Click here to view the entire concert: https://youtu.be/aRVjff00t9Q

Below are a few photos taken at the concert.

Zay gezunt, (Yiddish for “Go in good health”)

Harriet