ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- Westchester's preeminent Jewish music group will be helping the Village of Elmsford celebrate the Festival of Lights.
The Westchester Klezmer Program , with four bands in Tarrytown and Bedford/Mount Kisco will be performing at Elmsford's Hanukkah celebration at the Elmsford Community Center at 10 North Stone Ave. on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
The group began in 1999 when two nine-year-olds, Jonathan and David Zaidins, were at a Bat Mitzvah and didn't like the music. They asked if they could play their own instruments at their Bar Mitzvahs and their dad suggested they learn klezmer, Old World Jewish folk music primarily performed at parties.
The boys enjoyed the music, formed a band, and began playing at nursing homes as a Bar Mitzvah community service project. Today, more than 50 musicians participate in klezmer, performing at community events throughout the region, and -- surprise -- they're not all of a "certain age."
Jerald Seti, the executive director of Westchester Klezmer said the group features high schoolers performing for community service credit, as well as adults who simply enjoy playing music. New members, especially young ones who want to learn, are always welcome.
"The music is very festive and danceable," Seti said. "It's very upbeat and great to share with the community."
He is looking forward to the Elmsford event as Hanukkah is typically celebrated at home and is generally not a community holiday. "To be able to celebrate it in such a public setting is sort of unusual," he said. "It's always a lot of fun."
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