Musical Migration Theme Underscores “Jazz Crossings” and Permeates music@theJ

From Banjo to Broadway to Tiki Beat, from Persia to Polynesia, from a Hootenanny to a Jewish Christmas Eve Party, music@theJ offers Boulder audiences an eclectic collection of memorable musical evenings unlike any other concerts being produced locally. Presented by ACE: Arts, Culture and Education at Boulder JCC, the unique concert series reflects our mission of cultural engagement through the arts.

A monthly musical series running from September 2017 to May 2018, music@theJ features nine illuminating musical events, each of which is “more than a concert.” Each event explores the expansive nature of music, which knows no borders and unites peoples around the world.

As an arts presenter and adult education provider located within a community center, ACE occupies a unique niche among Boulder’s diverse cultural arts offerings. With music@theJ, we present music as a piece of living history that is a product of a particular culture, created by specific artists whose work reflects their culture.


The Series

The series starts Sunday, September 24 with Jazz Crossings, exploring music reflecting the Latin influences on American jazz. Featuring long-time local jazz artists David Fulker with a jazz quintet, and Robert Johnson, who brings his vocal jazz stylings. Click here for tickets.


Robert Johnson brings his vocal jazz stylings
David Fulker has assembled a jazz quintet to open music@theJ.


Special concerts curated by Sheldon Sands engage a wide variety of local musicians for programs such as Kodachrome: A Paul Simon Tribute Concert, which follows Sands’ success producing ACE’s tributes to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Sands also returns as producer of Klezmania, a Christmas Eve klezmer concert and Chinese dinner that sold out in its 2016 December debut.

Sheldon Sands
Faye Nepon

Other highlights of music@theJ are curated by previous ACE collaborators. Performer and teacher Faye Nepon sings show tunes that defined the American musical, and projected the dreams of their Jewish creators, in “Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Immigrant Dreams and the American Musical.” 

Also returning to the JCC is ethno-musicologist Gregory Walker, who will present a multi-media cultural exploration of Polynesia, “Tiki Beat Taboo: Not Your Grandmother’s Luau” as part of music@theJ. Last fall, the CU-Denver professor and former concertmaster for the Boulder Phil produced and starred in “JAMbalaya,” a music/dance/video performance that drew an enthusiastic response.

Community building is at the heart of ACE’s mission, and is a foundational goal of music@theJ. We offer the entire community the opportunity to listen, learn, and laugh together with us. We celebrate diversity and promote cross-cultural understanding by sharing music from around the world and presenting musical reflections of America in indigenous musical genres such as jazz, the Broadway musical, and bluegrass.  With our concluding concert, Kodachrome, we celebrate the contributions and influence of Jewish American musical icon Paul Simon.

All concerts are at 7 pm in Levin Hall, the JCC’s performance space. The new Boulder JCC is located at Cherryvale and Arapahoe, 6007 Oreg Ave. Tickets are available online at For more information, call Kathryn Bernheimer at 720-749-2530,

Tickets are $25 per concert/ $20 with the purchase of 4 or more concerts/$30 at the door/free for students with ID.

The Schedule

Dizzy Gillespie

Sunday, September 24

Jazz Crossings

Quintet with David Fulker and Robert Johnson

Like the wake of a ship crossing the Caribbean, ripples of African rhythms and European harmonies lap the musical shores from Brazil and Venezuela to the Yucatan and on to New Orleans, Cuba and even Jamaica. Flugelhorn player Dave Fulker has assembled a band that includes Robert Johnson (vocals), Victor Mestas (keys), Gonzalo Teppa (bass) and Christian Teele (percussion). Prepare to hear echoes of culturally diverse artists that include Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Flexigrass: Bluegrass Jazz Fusion

With Banjo Legend Pete Wernick

Known as Dr. Banjo (, Hot Rize founding member Pete Wernick is renowned world wide for his accomplishments and contributions to bluegrass – as the hot picking force behind several bands, and as an innovative teacher, songwriter and author. Pete has lived in Niwot since 1976, and currently tours with several bands. Hot Rize has recently reunited for a 40th anniversary tour. Pete brings his own unique bluegrass/traditional jazz combo, Flexigrass, to the Boulder JCC for the first time!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tiki Beat Taboo: Not Your Grandmother’s Luau

Produced by Gregory Walker

From the exotic surf jazz stylings of Gregory Walker and The Reverb Royale to the Kalama Polynesian Dancers’ audience dance-off, experience an island voyage through time with Queen Ka’ahumanu and defeat the cult of Kū. Multimedia theater, Hawaiian snacks and beverages galore: The Tiki Queen Commands You to Dance! You won’t want to miss the latest unique cultural fusion event created by Gregory Walker (JAMbalaya).

Eitan Kantor of the band Hadgabah entertains the crowd on the first night of Hanukkah at the Boulder Jewish Community Center Boulder on December 24 2016.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Klezmania: Christmas Eve Party with Chinese Food and a Klezmer concert

With the Sheldon Sands Klezmer Consort and Special Guests

Back by popular demand after last year’s sell-out, Klezmania features an optional pre-show Chinese buffet (with vegan, dairy and nut-free options) followed by a rollicking klezmer concert with the area’s best musicians. Join the Boulder Klezmer Consort, with Sheldon Sands and special guests, for this festive evening of merriment.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Folk Roots Pioneers: A Hootenanny

Woody Guthrie, who had a Jewish wife and wrote klezmer music, is the undisputed progenitor of folk music, as it came to be known in the late ‘50s when singers such as Dave Van Rock began to rule a cool new coffee house scene that Bob Dylan was about to blow wide open. Our concert will focus on these early years – the era of Pete Seeger and the Weavers – before Joni, Joan and Judy began singing for “fortunes and those velvet curtain calls.”

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Immigrant Dreams and the American Musical

With Faye Nepon and Guests

The Jewish yearning for a homeland in “Amerike” found its way into many classic Broadway musicals, and some of our most beloved odes to America (including God Bless America) were penned by recent immigrants proudly proclaiming their national pride – and holding the land of the free to its promise.  This elucidated concert reveals how these newcomers shaped musical theater, and how they projected their personal visions and collective dreams for the land of the free on the American stage and screen.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Music and Culture of Sephardic Spain

With Ana Alcaide and Sherefe

As a Spanish performer, composer and music producer who carries out research on ancient traditions and cultures, Ana Alcaide likes to compose new melodies in the ancient Sephardic language. She performs the traditional music of the Spanish-speaking Jewish communities dispersed by the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Ana will perform songs from Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, and Morocco, as well as a few original compositions, accompanied by Boulder’s own band, Sherefe, and Sheldon Sands.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Classical, Traditional and Folk Music from Iran

With the Farabi Persian Ensemble

Lilting melodies and mesmerizing rhythms, coupled with graceful dance, make Persian music known for its spirituality and sensuality. Enticing, gorgeous and poignant, Farabi weaves a richly embroidered tapestry of classic and contemporary music from Iran. Famed Persian performer Ahmad Soufani is the group’s music director and plays the tar (Iranian folk lute). Mojgan Taherynia, vocals, Kaivon Tolooee, daf (Iranian frame drum with rings), Frankie Peyman tombek, and Meg York on woodwinds.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kodachrome: A Paul Simon Tribute Concert

A Community Concert Produced by Sheldon Sands

One of the defining musicians of his generation, rhymin’ Simon recently performed his own Big Gig, performing hits from as early as his Simon & Garfunkel days through his solo records from 1972 to present. Expect the same, minus Paul Simon himself, as area musicians pay tribute to one of the most innovative, mature, and literate singer-songwriters of his era. His early music spoke to the concerns and uncertainties of a generation, and later focused on the personal rather than the larger world, but he also vastly expanded his musical palette, and helped introduce many rock and pop fans to world music.


About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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