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Ger Mandolin Orchestra

Ger Mandolin Orchestra
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 Góra 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 Góra 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 this building since the deportation of the town’s Jewish community in February 1941. SMF hosts the second US performance of this program (following our canceled 2020 attempt), in which Mike Marshall leads an all-star cast of nine musicians from across North America and Europe.

“We have a lot of stone monuments, but this is a living brings something to life rather than honouring something that’s dead.” –PROF. BARBARA KIRSHENBLATT- GIMBLETT,
Savannah College of Art and Design