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Klezmer band plays music to St. Catharines charities’ ears

Paul Pipher has been a music lover all his life. He and his band, the nu Klezmer Orchestra, now play to raise money for local charities in St. Catharines, Ont.

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The donor: Paul Pipher

The gift: Creating the nu Klezmer Orchestra

The cause: Raising money for charities around St. Catharines, Ont.

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Paul Pipher has been a music lover all his life. He spent years playing trombone at a synagogue in St. Catharines, Ont., even though he isn't Jewish.

When the band folded, Mr. Pipher, 71, and some band members began gathering at his home to play Klezmer music, which traces its roots to the ancient musical traditions of the Jews of Eastern Europe. It wasn't long before the band grew to 19 members, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and Mr. Pipher decided to put the lively, joyful sounds to use as a fundraising vehicle for local charities.

So far, the band, named the nu Klezmer Orchestra, has helped raise more than $4,000 for a local church and has also held concerts in aid of an art gallery and a monastery.

They have more events coming up and Mr. Pipher said the group is just getting started.

"We're turning the experiences of the Jewish community into something we can all imagine," said Mr. Pipher, a former music teacher. He added that he researches many of the works the band plays and composes arrangements. All lovers of Klezmer "are a brotherhood," he said. "It's really been quite exciting."

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