The Klezmer band returns to Highland Park for the first time since mass shooting

HIGHLAND PARK, IL – The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band performed in Highland Park last weekend for the first time since being interrupted by a mass shooting during the city’s Fourth of July parade.

Lori Lippitz, the band’s founder and manager, felt the band played more than a thousand events at Highland Park over its nearly four-decade history.

This year’s parade would have been his 11th in the city, Lippitz said, telling Highland Park Patch it was a great feeling to be able to return.

“Being able to begin to replace the traumatic associations of this year’s parade with happy moments and memories is critical to the resilience of the community and to us personally,” Lippitz said.

“But at the same time, there is no way to recover from the tragedy of the day,” she added. “I personally worked with a wonderful woman just a few weeks before she became one of the casualties in the parade. You can never fully heal from those losses.”

More than 100 people attended Sunday afternoon’s performance at the Highland Park Public Library, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.


The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band performed at the Highland Park Public Library on Sunday. (Irina Kechker/courtesy Maxwell Street Klezmer Band)

A widely shared video of this year’s parade recorded by Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet captures the first sign that has sometimes been woefully wrong on Independence Day.

Authorities said the sniper fired more than 80 shots into the crowd, killing seven people and injuring nearly 50 others, before briefly fleeing to Wisconsin, where he considered a shooting but decided against it. TO DO. Police and prosecutors have disclosed no motive for the shooter, who is due back in court next month for a status hearing.

Violinist and bandleader Alex Koffman helped the truck driver maneuver safely without hitting anyone in the fleeing crowd, telling the Forward he relied on military training from his native Belarus. He couldn’t sleep for several nights after the shooting, he said.

After Sunday’s concert, tuba player Howard Prager told the Sun-Times that the aim of the show was to spread peace and joy, and Highland Park needs “all the peace and joy it can have after what happened this summer”.

Natasha Bodansky on vocals, Ivo Braun on trumpet, Jim Cox on bass, Gail Mangurten on keyboard and Bartek Warkoczynski on clarinet joined Lippitz, Koffman and Prager at Sunday’s show.

Lippitz, the band’s manager and vocalist, told Patch that the band intended to perform the next time Highland Park held a 4th of July parade.

“If everyone doesn’t pull together and go back to the holidays, there will literally be no more Independence Day,” Lippitz said in an email. “The freedom to gather, to perform in parades, to celebrate with family and friends, and to be a community compels us all to reclaim the day.

“But I really don’t blame anyone who is hesitant to come to parades or bring their kids or grandkids,” she continued. “On the other hand, you can be sure that Highland Park and America’s cities will be much more focused on security issues in 2023.”


Look: Live stream of the October 23 concert via the Highland Park Public Library »

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