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Dneiper cruiseBy GERRY POSNER

I am a reunion guy and have been a part of many of them. This September I am returning to Winnipeg for a reunion of a different kind: the 10th anniversary of the Klezmer cruise along the Dnieper River in the Ukraine.

This tour, in May, 2007, organized by none other than former Winnipeggers Marc Dolgin and wife AC (Berkowitz), was a smash hit. The reunion this year is not quite reaching the breadth and depth of the Dnieper, but gazing at the Red River is not a bad substitute.
Back in 2007, over 150 people, mainly Canadians, but including others from all over the world, met in Kiev and boarded a cruise boat, the Dnieper Princess (but named by our leaders as the Dnieper Shlepper) for a Klezmer Music Festival for over a week. The boat was without frills, the food barely passable -  unless you were a potato fan, accommodations quite basic, and yet for those fortunate to have been a passenger, it was the best trip any of us had ever been on in our lives. Why was that? Simply put, we had history, culture and music, visits to significant places in the Ukraine, (including a return to shtetls from whence some of us traced our origins ) and all of this wrapped into a week with an overflowing energy filling the boat, complete with dance.
We were blessed with musical talent at the highest level including Josh Dolgin, son of Marc & AC Dolgin,  a well known Canadian rapper, record producer, famous for his mix of hip hop, klezmer and other styles such as drum and bass and folk music. Also on the trip was star clarinetist David Krakauer. There were many other outstanding musicians, one of whom was the legendary Arkady Gendler, who just died in the last couple months at age 95. We spent the week in lessons, or at lectures given along the way relating to the Ukraine culture and history. We stopped along the way and were joined by local talent from places like Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson (where I chanted Haftorah at a kind of a synagogue), Odessa (the New Orleans of Russia) Sevastopol, Yevpatoria, Yalta (these last three located at the Black Sea).
Now, 10 years later, a committee of alumni from the 2007 trip has planned a return to those glorious days. Sid Robinovitch, one of Canada’s foremost composers, and one of the original attendees, has arranged for musical performances for this three day reunion in Winnipeg between September 7-9, 2017. The committee - consisting of Joanne Rothberg, Freydel Yamron, Maxine Gilman, Sharon and Arnold Glass, Harriet Lyons, Fay Reich, Rochelle Pincovich, Sid Robinovitch, Marjorie Blankstein, and the Dolgins, have put together a full three days of activities.
The best part of this gathering is that for one event, the Saturday night concert, the doors will be open to the entire community to attend. That concert, to be held on September 9, 2017, will be at Temple Shalom and will start at 8 PM. Tickets are $ 20.00. Josh Dolgin (Socalled) and some very select Winnipeg Klezmer musicians will be featured. If you were one of those very disappointed persons who missed the original go-around, you can capture a piece of that moment at this concert in September. Count on that for certain. To get tickets, go to this site on your computer.
In addition to the final concert, some of the other activities planned for the group of now over 40 people who have signed on (Regrettably, over the past 10 years, some of the original group have passed and others are too ill to attend.) are: a bus tour of the north end (our version of traveling along the Dniepper in the Ukraine); a Ukrainian lunch at the Ukrainian Labour Temple; a Shabbat dinner at Shaarey Zedek with a special performance by “Socalled”; a presentation and tour of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights; and, of course, a tour of the Asper Campus.
That time in the Ukraine was a one of a kind moment. Yet, for three days in September, we expect to recreate that feeling of excitement and joy, lifted to new heights by the Klezmer sounds emanating from the lips and fingers of our musical troupe. You too can share in this life enriching experience.

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#1 Dneiper River Cruise reunionMarc Dolgin 2017-06-28 00:33
Eventbrite tickets can be found by searching events in Winnipeg September 9