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Eilat Music Festival: January 2024

An amazing variation of artists from the amazing Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, interspersed with ballet, jazz and pop music

By Paul Alexander, Glenis Bertfield, and Steve Kramer

In recent months each and every one of us has had an inner and pressing need and desire to escape, albeit temporarily, from the trauma of October 7.

ESRA organized a trip to the 25th Classical Music Festival in Eilat. This year the numbers doubled and we were all transported out of our condition of stress and sadness, our addiction to TV news and phone updates.

Isrotel organized this together with the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, a unique voice on the Israeli classical music scene. The music selection was the best we have seen in many years, led by its outstanding concertmaster violinist Nitai Zori, its versatile and brilliant resident conductor pianist singer David Senna, and the charismatic music director Maestro Omer Welber. We must give a big thank you to the Orchestra's General Manager, Orit Fogel-Shafram.

Many wonderful musicians, dancers and singers all contributed to creating 14 wonderful concerts. The opening concert was a Mendelssohn symphony with the amazing multi-disciplinary Israeli pianist Guy Mintus accompanied by Omer Welber playing the accordion, which made the most unusual and beautiful addition to the symphony. This set the atmosphere for all the following concerts, some were familiar and others had been changed here and there. Many instruments were used including Mandolin soloists such as the famous Mandolin soloist, Jacob Reuven, and an amazing saxophone quartet.

Glenis Bertfield together with Barbara Kliner and the ESRA office have been working on this trip for the past six months. Little did we know that at this time of our lives, we would be going through such a nightmare. Some people canceled, saying they felt it wrong to listen to the music and enjoy the weekend, Others as mentioned earlier felt it would be a perfect escape and that's exactly what happened.

We had four buses with a total of 186 ESRA members from Haifa / Herzliya, Netanya / Tel Aviv, Raanana / Modiin, and Jerusalem, and everything went to plan for arrival and departure times.

Everyone, and I mean everyone smiled, made new friends, enjoyed the company of old friends. The hotel was very accommodating and they were very happy to have the ESRA guests visiting. There were many families in the hotel from Sderot and kibbutzim from the South. It was sad to see these families with young children and even their dogs all making the most of a very difficult situation. 



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Wednesday, 19 June 2024

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