Klezmer Music/Dance

Members of Nahalat Shalom are fortunate that they can enjoy live Jewish music at many functions and services performed by 2 in-house bands: The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band & Alavados-Nahalat Shalom's Holy Days Band. Our congregation's Yiddish dance troupe "Rikud" also leads traditional Jewish dances to the music of these great bands.

Alavados - Holy Days Band

Alavados Holy Days band is comprised of Nahalat Shalom's musical director & cantorial soloist Beth Cohen (on guitar, violin and vocals) and congregation members Barbara Friedman (electric bass), with violinists Jeff Brody and Gabrielle Rosen, flutist Ilene Dunn, clarinetist Clem Wings, percussionist Robin Berman and trombonist Neal Weinberg. Since 1999, Alavados has provided beautiful accompaniment for our congregational prayers, songs and dances during Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur, S'lichot, Der Freylekher Shabbes, Chanukkah Simchat Shabbat, Tu B'shevat, Purim, Shavuot services and many other special events and services at Nahalat Shalom including the 2013 Festival Djudeo-Espanyol concert with Cantor Neil Manel Frau-Cortes. The band has begun to perform locally including a performance for OASIS Albuquerque on January 30, 2015. All of the musicians in Alavados are also members of The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band.

The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band

klezband pic001The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band (NSCKB)  is one of THE WORLD'S OLDEST (since 1995) and LARGEST (23 members and growing) INTERGENERATIONAL COMMUNITY klezmer mixed orchestra! The band is taught and directed by Nahalat Shalom's cantorial soloist and music director Beth Cohen, who has a lifetime (we won't say how long, but its long) of experience as a music teacher to all ages of students, as a world music and classical music performer, and as a band and orchestra director. Over the years, the NSCKB has learned and performed a repertoire of exciting, lively and beautiful klezmer, Jewish, Israeli, Sephardic & Eastern European dance music that ALL levels and ages of musicians play and enjoy.  (Pictured here: NSCKB, circa Chanukah 2000)

The NSCKB performs professionally throughout New Mexico, at Nahalat Shalom's services and events, at public and private concerts and simchas (joyous celebrations). Some band members are members of the congregation-and some are not, some are Jewish-and some are not: there are no special requirements to play in this band except for knowing the basics of one's instrument. The love that band members have for klezmer music reverberates throughout every performance and on the band's CD: "Lomir Alle Tantzen!-Let's All Dance!" Band members share a unique camaraderie, and are drawn to klezmer music for a variety of reasons: its beauty, its exotic sounding scales and modes, its technical challenges, its emotional and joyous nature, the connection it makes to Jewish roots and ancient traditions, and the opportunities it gives them to perform together. The NSCKB also hosts an 'open to all ' klezmer jam at Nahalat Shalom's monthly 'Der Freylekher Shabbes' which is usually held on the first Friday of each month (and sometimes on the 2nd Friday) from 6:30-9pm. Check the web site calendar and join us for an old-country heimishe (homey) celebration! ALL are welcome to all or any part of the evening's celebrations: 6:30pm- Old-country danced, sing-a-long Shabbat service with live music by Alavados and Cantorial soloist Beth Cohen, 7:15pm-Vegetarian potluck dinner, 8pm- 'Open-to-ALL' Klezmer jam with more recreational folk dancing led by Rikud.

Click here for the Winter-Spring 2015 Klezband and Rikud schedule of rehearsals and performances

To Buy The Band's CD for $10.00, contact Beth Cohen at [email protected]


Members of  The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band performed for the ABQ Open Space Concert Series at Elena Gallegos Picnic grounds, August 2013 (and 2014).
Front Row L to R: Claudia Flugge, Gabrielle Rosen, Lisa Powell, Beth Cohen, Tony Fajdiga, David Willet, Nancy Terr.
Back Row L to R: Ginny Gins, Randi Thompson, Barbara Friedman, Robin Berman, Rebecca Salazar, Clem Wings, Patsy Gregory, Ilene Dunn, Joan Bowden.
Current members missing: Jeff Brody, Neal Weinberg, John Karon, Clara Byom, Megan Tucker.
Photo Credit to: Kathleen Smith 2013


Rikud Dance Troupe

Rehearsing together on Sunday afternoons from 2-4pm, The NSCKB began and grew alongside Nahalat Shalom's community Yiddish dance troupe Rikud. Sharing the joy of community dance, Rikud leads the Klezmer dancing at Congregation Nahalat Shalom and at public performances and workshops with the NSCKB. Beginners, intermediate and advanced dancers are all welcome to join in. Both groups study extensively with world renowned klezmer scholars, musicians and dancers at KlezmerQuerque -the internationally recognized annual festival of klezmer music & dance which is produced and organized by The NSCKB and Rikud.



The Rebbe’s Orkestra

The Rebbe’s Orkestra, is a popular professional concert and simcha ensemble that performs throughout the southwest. Band members includes Nahalat Shalom's cantorial soloist and music director Beth Cohen (violin/ mandolin/tenor banjo/lead vocals), Barbara Friedman (electric bass/ tambura/vocals), Randy Edmunds (guitar/tambura/vocals), Debo Orlofsky (accordion/vocals) Mary Masuk (percussion: pojk, doumbek, riq & cymbal), and Clara Byon (clarinet). In 2010 the band celebrated the release of its first CD 'Klezmer y mas" to widespread acclaim. The Rebbe's Orkestra also performs and accompanies the special guest artists at the annual festival KlezmerQuerque, sharing the stage with klezmer luminaries such as Elaine Hoffman-Watts, Susan Hoffman, Margot Leverett, Steve Weintraub and Adrianne Greenbaum. Beth, Barbara, and Randy have also performed & studied Balkan folk music extensively for over 30 years, and find the musical and community connections resonate in klezmer music. Barbara Friedman says, "I love these people and playing with them. I love the melodies and the different scales... and this music is connected to Middle Eastern and Balkan music. It feels like Jewish soul music. The most fun is playing for people to dance." Randy notes, "I think playing music brings people together as a community—this is something we have lost as a society. It gives people a chance to dance and be together in a way we don't get to much any more."

Our beloved and departed Sephardic cantorial soloist, Lorenzo Dominguez Z"L, who played guitar and sang with The Rebbe's Orkestra and also performed in and named Nahalat Shalom's holy days band "Alavados" ("supplications"), said that the music connected him with the spiritual dimension: "The music enhances everything for me spiritually, makes the circle more complete. The Ladino (Sephardic) music is something I've been listening to for a long time, but now, learning the Klezmer music is deepening and completing my experience."

Listen to the band now!
Video1 & Video2



To Join or Hire

To join or to hire The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band, Rikud and/or Alavados please contact director Beth Cohen (505) 243-6276 [email protected]

To play and rehearse with Alavados holy days band you must be a skilled musician and a member of Congregation Nahalat Shalom.

Current Band & Rikud Roster:

2012 - 2013 Band personnel:
Beth Cohen-Director, violin & piano; Violins: Jeff Brody, Gabrielle Rosen, Joanna Conrardy, Lisa Powell; Cello-Rachel Mittleman; Clarinets: Clem Wings & Tony Fajdiga; Alto saxophone-David Willet; Bassoon-Nancy Terr; Flutes: Patsy Gregory, Ilene Dunn & Joan Bowden; Trumpet-John Karon; Accordion-Randi Thompson; Trombone-Neil Weinberg; Baritone-Rebecca Salazaar; Pojk (bass drum)-Robin Berman; Snare drum-Jenny DeBouzek; Percussion-Sulyana Prouty; Electric Bass-Barbara Friedman; Piano-Ginny Gins; Guitar-Claudia Flugge.

2012-2013 Rikud dancers:
Linda Brody, Michele Diel, Michelle Vogler, Elizabeth Etigson, Ann Abrams, Lisa Jacobs, Pam MacBride, Kate Killebrew, Muqit Steve Sachs, Penina Ballen, Elaine Schwartz, Hershel Weiss, & Laura Maclay.

Music/Dance News

  • Come dance at Der Freylekher Shabbes--this Friday! +

    This Friday, March 6, will be especially fun since we have new dance moves and tunes from KlezmerQuerque 2015!

    IMGP0232 The first Friday of most months we celebrate with a joyous participatory danced Shabbat service in an old-country Eastern European style led by music director Beth Cohen, Alavados holy days band, Rikud dance troupe, The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band, with surprise special appearances

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    2015Steve2 Get your dancing shoes on and enjoy a full weekend of klezmer music and dance!   Get all the details here.

    Tickets for Saturday's performance will be available at the door, and you can register for Sunday's fabulous workshops in person.  Don't miss this opportunity to hear, dance to, and learn from the incredible guest performers, and frolic with the happy

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    accordian Get tickets now for our 13th annual weekend of Klezmer music and dance, featuring guest artists Jake Shulman-Ment, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Yiddish dance master Steve Weintraub, and now including the legendary Michael Alpert!  

    In addition, local faves The Rebbe's Orkestra and The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band will perform--wear your dancing shoes!

    Three days of workshops, performances, dance parties, and

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  • Register now for Klezmerquerque 2015! Early Bird and Lunch 'n Learn Deadlines Feb 5! +

    "Early Jake in Romania  Bird" all-events package deals as well as signups for the Lunch 'n Learn will expire after Thursday, February 5!   Register here --you'll be glad you did!

    Sunday, Feb 15, enjoy a delicious catered 'milkhik' lunch (NO meat / YES: fish, eggs, dairy & lots of veggie foods), to klezmer music performed by ABQ's own klezmer trio di Kaveneh Kapelye.

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  • Get Details and Deals on KlezmerQuerque 2015! +

    benjybassturn KlezmerQuerque 2015 features the world-recognized klezmer guest artists Steven Lee Weintraub, Jake Shulman-Ment and Benjy Fox-Rosen, who will all be performing and teaching throughout the weekend.   Get all the details   on our fabulous guest artists and get the "Early Bird" All Events Package deal (only available till February 5th!)  

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