Building Community through Music

A couple of weeks ago, I received a lovely invitation to a musical jam session in a nearby park hosted by a very talented local klezmer band, Yid Vicious. The invitation mentioned that they were celebrating their 20th anniversary and wanted to get 20 musician friends together to help them celebrate. I love klezmer music and we had Yid Vicious play at our son’s Bar Mitzvah party 5 1/2 years ago, which inspired virtually everyone there to dance the night away. In fact, they were nice enough to allow me to rehearse a couple of tunes and join the band during the party, which was a lot of fun and truly a memory I will treasure forever.

Much to my pleasant surprise, what I thought was going to be a jam session, turned out to be a rehearsal, as Yid Vicious wanted us to join them for the last 2 songs of their 20th anniversary show at the 38th Annual Willy Street Fair.

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The band asked us to join them at the end of their set for the last 2 songs, but I arrived in time for the beginning of their set to enjoy the music and watch dozens of people dancing on a beautiful day. The band informed the crowd that they had invited 20 musicians to join them for their 20th anniversary and when the time came, the band members got down off the stage to mix in with their musical friends. The sound was beautiful. The dancers kept dancing. But best of all, through their generous sharing of their special musical moment, Yid Vicious helped build community by inviting so many friends to join the band in celebration.

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Photo by Paula A. White

Music carries great powers. I have written about how it can combat racismand improve academic performance and behaviorBut like all great powers, it achieves its greatest strength when used wisely. My hat goes off to Yid Vicious, whose band members understand that the value of their music expands tremendously when they build community through sharing the stage. A heartfelt thanks for a wonderful community building experience.

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For more information on how Jeff Spitzer-Resnick can help you accomplish effective, progressive systems change, visit his website: Systems Change Consulting.

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