The Wholesale Klezmer Band
at the Presidential Inaugural
January 20, 1993

The next chapter of the history of the Wholesale Klezmer Band starts, strangely enough with a speech that Pat Buchanan gave at the Republican Party convention in the summer of 1992. It was scary, a narrow view of who was an American. When Bill Clinton won the election he gave a speech in which he celebrated the diversity of our country's people and underscoring the necessity of our all working together to rebuild our country. I immediately wrote to him and his campaign office suggesting that the music at the inauguration reflect that spirit of acceptance and diversity and offering the Wholesale Klezmer Band to be part of the festivities including a copy of our newly released first CD.

On December 15th we received a letter from the campaign office inviting us to perform in the pre-parade entertainment along with African drummers and dancers, Andean musicians, a Latin jazz band, a Steel band, magicians, jugglers, and believe it or not, a precision lawn chair drill team from Colorado (better than any military drill team I've ever seen).

Local Western Massachusetts businesses quickly organized concerts for us to raise money for our trip to DC, a local auto dealership donated use of a 15 passenger rental van, the DC Yiddish club arranged for us to give a concert at the JCC of greater Washington and at a Jewish Day School while we were in town.

It was a chilly morning. Larry, our sound engineer, deftly piloted the van through rush hour traffic to get to our appointed location before all the streets were blocked off by the security. Our fingers were cold, but the joy of the day and the enthusiasm of the crowd warmed us enough to play our instruments. It was a proud day for us, to have Yiddish so prominently represented in the celebration of our country's democracy and diversity.

The Wholesale Klezmer Band performing at the Greater DC JCC on their trip to the 1992 Presidential Inauguration. Singer Yosl Kurland displays the subtitles to help the audience understand the Yiddish lyrics to Far N'ile, Nokh N'ile.

The Wholesale Klezmer Band performing at the parade route for the 1992 Presidential Inauguration. Notice the gloves with cut-off fingertips for playing in the cold January air.

Waiting for the new president: (left to right) Lynn Lovell, bass; Larry Berger, sound engineer; Brian Bender, trombone; Sherry Mayrent, clarinet; Owen Davidson, Accordion; Yosl Kurland, fidl & vocal; Richie Davis, percussion; Peggy Davis, flute.
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