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Chai Concert to Travel Ancient Roads-June 7 event honours Ahava Halpern and Frank Lavitt

March 15, 2017

Its concert is still five months away, but the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble has already exceeded its corporate sponsorship goals, and donors are stepping forward in big numbers to make their gifts and claim their seats.


The concert will be held on Wednesday, June 7, 8:00 pm at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.


“We’re very excited about the amount of activity we are seeing this far in advance of the concert,” said Sadira Garfinkel, Chai’s President. “I think this speaks not only to the popularity of the group, but also to the respect and admiration the community has for our honourees.”


Chai will be honouring wife and husband, Ahava Halpern and Frank Lavitt. Halpern and Lavitt are known throughout the community for their generosity and their leadership.


“Ahava and Frank have been active donors for a long time. They care deeply about our success and they inspire others to get involved,” said Garfinkel. “Ahava herself is a Chai dance alumna and is a passionate advocate for dance in the city.”


The concert itself will be an energetic and eclectic blend of music, song, and dance packaged under the theme of “Ancient Roads”.


“Our artistic team has shaped something quite outstanding,” said Garfinkel. “The idea behind the concert is that the Jewish people have shared common roads throughout history. Whether we have European roots or North African roots, our common story began in Israel.”


The theme is especially significant in 2017, noted Garfinkel, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. The milestone will be marked with a medley of Jerusalem-themed melodies designed to transport the audience.


The concert line-up also includes a tribute to Israeli musical legend, Ofra Haza z”l; the story of Operation Solomon – the 1991 airlift of 14,000 Jews from Ethiopia – told in dance; “Dreams of the Shtetl”, a suite of popular Yiddish songs; and a still unnamed commissioned work, the first in Chai’s history (more on that in a future issue of the Jewish Post & News).


Chai’s artistic management team is headed by David Vamos (Music Director and Artistic Director) and features Sarah Sommer (Vocal Director); Hadera Short (Dance Director); Jesse Popeski (Assistant Music Director); and John Loewen (Director of Production). Chava Rosemblit is Chai’s Stage Manager and Reeva Nepon is Chai’s Administrative Director.


Joining Sadira Garfinkel on the Board of Directors are Tracy Kasner Greaves (Vice-President), Steven Baker, Bonnie Berry, Harriet Rosen, Sheena Stemler, Lina Streltsov, and Beth Usiskin.


Honorary Co-Chairs for the concert are Diane and Sandy Shindleman, Robert Shindleman, and Carey and Bernie Simkin.


“We feel a tremendous sense of privilege that Diane, Sandy, Robert, Carey, and Bernie have stepped forward in this way,” said Garfinkel. “We are very grateful for their enthusiasm and their leadership.”


Tickets for Chai’s “Ancient Roads” go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 31. Until then, donors and sponsors can secure their tickets with a minimum contribution. Please contact the Chai office for more information.


“We are expecting tickets to move quickly,” said Garfinkel. “This is an exceptionally strong program and we are celebrating two important community leaders.”


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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