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Haifa Has Talent

Johnny Lipman with his guitar

Prizewinning poetry and singing that raised the roof at the last ESRA Haifa event of January showed that a lot of talent exists in this northern town.

ESRA Haifa members have put all their efforts and strengths into volunteering everything that they can for the war effort. The large audience which had registered for this program, one of those uplifting activities, motivated and reinforced their efforts.

The program started with five poets from the Haifa branch of Voices Israel Poetry in English group, each one reading two poems. The first poem paid tribute to the time of disaster after the seventh of October . T he second poem was on a lighter note to make the listeners smile.

ESRA member Margot Calacuda, a qualified medical clown, dressed for the part complete with red nose, "compered" the evening, a term that she claimed not to understand when the British organiser asked her to take on the job. She translated it to MC for the non-Brits in the audience. Her quips and comments between the acts added to the good-humored atmosphere.

When the event was advertised, members were asked to come forward and volunteer if they could play music or sing or if they had a poem or a brief memoir to perform. The list of performers was complete over two weeks before the event. There was even a waiting list.

Planning a program with sufficient musical items to balance out the spoken word is a juggling act. And the job was well done by Ronny Goldberg who played some jazz pieces on the piano; Johnny Lipman who sang protest songs that are relevant today and that band composed of Clive Noble on the keyboard, guitarist David Prince and singer Abigail Lewis. Abigail's beautiful voice got everyone singing those folk songs that are familiar to us all. Clive, who is always called upon for musical arrangements, also set up a sound system that was clear for all to hear.

There was a special bravo for a young immigrant from Lancashire, Emily Eastmond, who performed a magnificent clog dance that made everyone want to get up and join in. She explained that these clog dances were created long before tap dancing in 18th century Lancashire cotton factories.

The most senior Haifa member, Yonit Raz, aged 91, read a very moving memoir of her evacuation experiences during World War Two. Two more brief memoirs were read by Laura Aronson and Sandra Simenhotz. Interesting, unusual poems were performed by Peter Halpern, the newest immigrant in the room and by another newcomer to ESRA, Fabrice Shomberg.

An evening to remember.



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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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