klezmer anniversary.

"What are you doing the 16th?"

"Spending it with you, I hope."

"Want to go to a klezmer concert?"

"Uh...anything with you. Don't you have to work?"

"Oh, I already got off that day anyway."

I do not have a particular interest in klezmer. My only exposure to it was in a movie where a punk lady joined a klezmer band and made it a punk klezmer band. Klezmer started as dance music of the Ashkenazi Jews. As people immigrated to the States, klezmer met jazz and never was the same again.

I learned most of that by looking it up. So I have never expressed interested in Jewish folk music, and as far as I can remember, neither has my husband. Why would he pick that event for the first anniversary of our marriage? I did not know, but I was going with it. See, Josh has never planned anything for us before. I have a friend who complains that her boyfriend never plans anything, and she just wants him to sweep her off her feet once in a while. In listening to her, I realized that Josh was not a planner either. I was beginning to be a little grumpy about never being swept off my feet, but then I remembered that it hadn't bothered me before that day, and I should just go back to that state.

Now, while you can't make someone change, that doesn't mean they won't change on their own. So you could be tripping along thinking you don't have the planning type and then all of a sudden, you're being swept off to a klezmer concert. We talked about dinner afterwards, and I suggested we keep with the theme of...Jewish...stuff? I guess, and eat something along that line. He assured me that he would take care of that, too. My heart fluttered.

The concert was being thrown by the the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild. I'd had no idea there was such a thing as a Raleigh Chamber Music Guild. I had to ask Josh what chamber music was. It's music played by a small number of performers. It's often called the "music of friends," due to the intimate nature of the performances.

The show started late, and there were several announcements about filling empty seats in the middles of rows. It turns out that RCMG does not get a lot of sold-out shows. Apparently, the secret was klezmer. If only they'd known earlier about Raleigh's hidden passion for Jewish dance music!

As the performers walked onstage, one of them stepped up to the mike. "My ninety-seven year old grandmother died last week, and if it hadn't been for her, I never would've picked up a violin. So this is for her." It was a bit jarring and kind of a downer, but then - but then - they started to play. By the end of it, I wanted to thank that guy's grandmother.

What can I say about the music? It was marvelous. Klezmer is noted for being very expressive, including sounds that mimic the human voice. Indeed, I had noticed the clarinet laughing. I hadn't known a clarinet could do that. Maybe I just haven't told a clarinet a good joke before.

I love to watch performers. Musicians seem to enter a trance-like state when they play. The violinist, the one who'd lost his grandmother, looked like he got more exercise playing music than some people do all day. I watched how they communicated between each other, using eye contact to start their parts in unison. These guys were having a fantastic time, which is one sure-fire way to entertain your audience. Fun is catching. During one song, a few people started clapping to the beat and then more and more joined in. Music of friends, indeed.

During the reception, I was all juiced up on chamber music, so I picked up a survey for the Chamber Music Guild. Participants would be entered into a drawing for free tickets to their next event! However, I soon found myself out of my depth on the survey. What is my favorite type of chamber music? What types of chamber music ensembles do I prefer? Does the architecture of the chamber affect my enjoyment of chamber music?

After a stop at the grocery store for corned beef, rye bread, and sauerkraut, we went home and made delicious reuben sandwiches. It was not an extraordinary day, but a very good ordinary day spent with the person who makes every day better.

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