Location: Monticello, N.Y.
Occupation: I am an orchestra and general music teacher at an elementary school.
Connection to Balkan music/dance: My band, Madárka (Hungarian for “little bird”), plays klezmer, Hungarian and Balkan music. We play at restaurants, farmer’s markets, libraries and other venues in the Hudson Valley. I recently attended Golden Fest in Brooklyn, N.Y., where I had the chance to practice some dancing and meet up with friends from Balkan camp. It was a lot of fun.
Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my first time.
Studied at camp: My main focus of study at camp was to learn Balkan music on my violin. Beth [Bahia Cohen] offered Greek Island music in both her ensemble and violin class, so I mostly learned that style. I also played violin in Raif [Hyseni]’s Albanian ensemble and attended the beginning gudulka class with Ivanka [Paunova].
Memorable moment at camp: One experience that surprised/touched/impressed me was being part of a “blender band.” I really enjoyed getting to know the different people in my band that I might not have otherwise had the chance to meet. We ended up playing a mix of Russian klezmer, Balkan, and Korean pop at our performance. It was refreshing and fun to work with all kinds of musicians, ranging in background, experience and age, to create something unique that we could all relate to and then have the chance to perform for an audience.