The evening began with the lighting of the menorah for the eighth night of Hanukkah by Shul director Sherry Marks and a welcome from president Stephen Sass.
Then it was time for the children. Led by co-founder and artistic director Dr. Suzanne Gindin, the orchestra performed songs in honor of the Hanukkah and Christmas seasons. The songs included “O Hanukkah,” “I Have a Little Dreidel,” “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “Feliz Navidad.”
The singing was followed with instrumental songs featuring the wind section — trumpets, flutes and clarinets — and violins. Highlights included a flute duet of “Good King Wenceslas” by CitlalliI Gaeta and Elizabeth Gomez. The wind instruments played “Ode to Joy,” and the violins played “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
Ten-year-old Mayte Castro, a fourth grader at Sheridan Elementary School in Boyle Heights, performed “Silent Night” on the violin along with orchestra co-founder Michael Hudson-Medina. Castro just began playing the instrument this summer.
“She is gifted,” Hudson-Medina said. “She has such potential.”
Gindin and Hudson-Medina started the orchestra, made up of 6- to 13-year-olds, this summer. Hudson-Medina said they were so proud of the children’s performance.
“We pushed them so hard on Friday, at the rehearsal,” he said. “They worked hard. We gave them a lot of information, and they retained it.”
The orchestra practices on Thursday and Friday afternoons at Hollenbeck Middle School. They are currently looking for a more permanent space in Boyle Heights. The program and lessons are free of charge.
For more information or to support the orchestra, call (213) 627-7834.
UPDATE: Breed Street Shul shared a video of the orchestra’s performance of “I Have a Little Dreidel.”