Oct 10, 2012 at 5:00 am

Dance party USA

KlezmerFest returns to Temple Shalom on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. with three bands: Iowa’s Java Jews, Indianapolis’ INDYKLEZ, and Louisville’s Lost Tribe. Founder Kathy Karr takes us behind the music.

LEO: How do you explain klezmer to the hundreds of thousands of locals who might have not even heard of it, let alone heard it played?

Kathy Karr: Klezmer music has gypsy, Romanian, East European, jazz, and Dixieland influences. Klezmer music is dance music and soulful music.

LEO: How did this fest get started?

KK: I envisioned a music festival of klezmer music in 2009. I had purchased a bunch of klezmer music CDs and listened to them so much in my car that I actually wore out a few CDs! I fell in love with the upbeat, energetic music that really touched my soul. I looked forward to getting in my car to drive somewhere so I could listen to klezmer music and escape my crazy, hectic world.

When I took over as fundraising vice president of Temple Shalom, I was mulling over some ideas, and then it hit me: organize a music festival to feature several klezmer bands and share with the entire community the music I loved, and make some much-needed funds for Temple Shalom.

My hard-working, passionate committee spent a year organizing the festival, and in May 2010, Temple Shalom’s first KlezmerFest happened. We were planning an outdoor event, but it ended up being a rainy, cold day. But we were prepared for rain or shine, and moved indoors. I never expected the huge crowd that attended! Young children, students, congregants, community members, musicians, senior citizens flocked to Temple Shalom in spite of the rainy day to hear our three featured bands.

Learn more at templeshalomky.org.