Marla & Morris Geffen
Sponsored in part by
Byck-Rothschild Foundation, Inc.
Partial support by
Jim & Bunny Montag
Conceived by Israeli-American Avner Yonai, whose ancestral research led him to a tattered photograph of his relatives playing in a pre-WWII Jewish mandolin orchestra in Gora Kalwaria, Poland (“Ger” in Yiddish), Ger Mandolin Orchestra is a contemporary version of this rich pre-Holocaust cultural tradition. Following the group’s 2011 premiere at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, Yonai received an invitation from the current mayor of Gora Kalwaria, inviting the ensemble to perform there. Six months later the orchestra returned to the town of its origin, performing for a standing- room-only audience in the dilapidated remains of the old Ger synagogue. It was the first public event to take place in the building since the deportation of the town’s Jews in February 1941. SMF hosts the second US performance of this program, in which Mike Marshall leads an all-star cast of world-class mandolinists.
Mike Marshall, Music Director
“We have a lot of stone monuments, but this is a living monument…it brings something to life rather than honouring something that’s dead.” – Prod. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw