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David Gale as Elvis Shmelvis

Gale as an airplane with Vancourt singing "Amelia"

Left to Right: Ethel Dil, Marty Dveris, Ruth Carol Feldman, Arnold and Myra Frieman, David Gale, Brenda and Martin Gurvey, Elyse Halprin, Sam and Joanne Katz

Left to Right: Edith Landy, Bill and Judy Mahon, Marilyn Regiec, Eleanor and Ronald Rosenblat, Joan and Jack Rusen, Esther and Marvin Samphir, Elaine Stern, Arlene Wiener



by Rhonda Spivak, October 27,2010

The dynamic duo of David Gale and Randy Vancourt gave a first rate performance on October 14 at this year’s annual Jewish Foundation of Manitoba Endowment Book of Life Donor Recognition evening, which left  the audience smiling and chuckling on the way out. (The performance given by Gale and Vancourt will be reviewed later in this article)

Gale began the evening by noting that he “had been booked” for the event before he became one of 20 individuals and couples who were signers of this year’s Book of Life.
As Marsha Cowan noted in her greetings for the evening, the very successful  Endowment Book of Life Program, now in its 13th year, is a way for individuals to leave a living history for future generations through their individual biographies as well as leaving the Foundation a bequest, to ensure the ongoing vitality of our community. The Foundation’s goal is to reach a capital base of $100 million, which will involve engaging the younger generation.
Prior to the ceremony signings, Kayla Gordon read excerpts from the stories of Leonard Asper, Marilyn Regiec, Esther and Marvin Samphir and Ron Rosenblat. Although he could not be present for the event, the words of Leonard Asper, one of this year’s signers, were read out at the Shaarey Zedek synagogue. As Asper wrote:
I am an active volunteer and donor because I believe that life is a circle. If you work hard and are successful, you have a responsibility to give back. If you have had some luck along the way, you must recognize that someone else out there is not quite as lucky as you.
It’s my hope that my Endowment Book of Life gift will help strengthen my community and perpetuate the ideals that are important to me. I hope that my gift will help the Jewish Foundation support institutions in the Jewish and general community, and help Winnipeg remain a dynamic and safe place.
As Brenda Gurvey, Director of Donor Relations for the Jewish Foundation, who was also one of this year’s signers told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “For the last 2 years, I have had the privilege of staffing the Endowment Book of Life Program and the pleasure of meeting over 50 signers bringing the total of signers to just over 650. The committee and I derive such "nachus" from seeing how the community supports this program and realizes the importance of endowing the future of our vibrant Jewish community. This year, my husband and I participated as signers and I was very proud to stand beside him and to sign a commitment to support our community that has supported us the last 28 years.”
Other signers this year were Casey Chisick, Lainey Dansker and Michael Werier, Ethel Dil, Marty Dveris, Ruth Carol Feldman, Myra and Arnold Frieman, Elyse Halprin, Joanne and Sam Katz, Edith Landy, Judy and Bill Mahon, Eleanor and Ron Rosenblat, Joan and Jack Rusen, Shelley Saidman, Elaine Stern and Arlene Weiner.
Gale and Vancourt’s performance had numerous unforgettable moments. Gale’s “Elvis Smelvis” shtick was a definite favourite, with Gale emerging in Elvis costume, complete with tallis, kippah, and Star of David necklace, singing and dancing just like Elvis would have, only in Yiddish. (In fact, Elvis Smelvis ended up dancing and performing his “moves” up close with a seemingly delighted audience member Evita Smordin.) Since this reporter doesn’t understand Yiddish, it can only be presumed that the scene was even funnier for those who did understand what he was saying.
Gale and Vancourt also performed a song “There’s no business like the fundraising business” to the tune of “There’s no business like show business", a number which went over well with the crowd.
Another highlight was when the duo sang an original composition, Amelia (a tribute to Amelia Earhart, a noted American aviation pioneer.) During the song, Gale began standing on one leg, pretending to be an airplane, that started to have engine problems. As the song continued, Gale began sputtering and making increasingly loud noises as he began to have an emergency landing (which involved crashing into an audience member, “Damn I just crashed into your crotch, I’m so sorry,” said Gale). The visual optics were hillarious.
Gale also dressed up as an elderly Jewish man, Uncle Hershel, donning a hat and rain coat (although there is no leaky roof in the Shaarey Zedek) and proceeded to chat with/ hit on some audience members. He worked his charms on Susan Klein and Sharon Zalik (executive director of the Winnipeg Chapter of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University) who were exceedingly good sports.
Gale asked Zalik if she like older men, and when she said “NO,” he began asking her how old she wanted him to be.  
He also approached an unsuspecting audience member named Lianne who was wearing a black and white striped outfit.
“Did you kill a zebra?," he asked, and ended the scene by asking the audience “to give her the clap.”
Gale also came upon an unsuspecting non-Jewish man in the audience who towered over him and Gale asked in his Yiddish accent, “How did you get here?,” When the man answered, “In a truck,” the audience howled. Gale quickly responded, “Raise your hand yiddin if you have a truck.” Only one person in the crowd of several hundred raised a hand.
The Gale-Vancourt duo also performed a variety of upbeat songs from their successful cabaret production “Chutzpah A Go-Go.”
This reporter had the good fortune of taking her children (ages 11 and 12) to see Gale and Vancourt’s performance, which resulted in them learning a few words in Yddish that cannot be repeated in print.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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