Interactive, all-ages overview programs

There are many different Jewish cultures

Today, everyone has heard of Israel and most people have heard of Klezmer, a musical style that came of age in America, brought by Ashkenazic Jews from Eastern Europe. However, few people, even those with Jewish backgrounds, know much, if anything, about the Jewish Sephardim.

Our Assembly program is an overview of these wildly different cultures, presenting them through the music and dances and languages spoken by each. For example, one Sephardic song originates in Turkey and uses both Turkish and Ladino (the Spanish-based language most used by the Sephardim).

Students are directly involved by singing in non-English languages, playing percussion (the band brings some hand drums), and dancing circle and line dances led by the musicians as they play their instruments.

Still life of instruments played by the Ensemble M’chaiya: Mandolin, Guitar, Darabuka, Tupan, Kaval.
Instruments played by the Ensemble Mchaiya: Mandolin, Guitar, Darabuka, Tupan, and Kaval.

Unique instrument­ation

Gorgeous musical scales like Hijaz ride on asymmetrical rhythms as the band members play traditional ethnic instruments, like the Bulgarian end-blown flute, and Balkan percussion alongside the violin, mandolin, and guitar.

Most of our musicians are multi-instrumentalists, a fact which allows the band to create an ever changing color, but whatever the sound, every number grabs your attention, gets your feet tapping, urging you to dance.

These programs increase student awareness of the world, society, and history.

If you don’t see what you are looking for, contact us! Our presentations are very flexible and customizable.


Since 1983, this Evanston, IL band has toured in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Two members, Jutta Distler and Terran Doehrer, were teachers at the Arcturus Teacher Training Program for Waldorf schools and taught dance classes at the Chicago Waldorf School for six years and at the Wauconda Da Vinci Waldorf School for four years.

Click to see our videos.
Click for videos of the band play­ing!

This may be the only Klezmer band in the world using a Kaval (end-blown Bulgarian Flute) as a main instrument! The core instrument­ation also includes Mandolin, Violin, Guitar, (both Balkan drums) and Percussion along with two vocalists. From there you may choose additional musicians including a saxophonist, a bassist, and other instrument options.

From a duet up to five pieces, you’ll get the right size band to match your interests and budget!

Mayor Daley’s 2003 Klezmer Day Proclamation document which honored Ensemble M’chaiya and Terran Doehrer for being the first revival Klezmer band in Chicago.
Mayor Daleys 2003 Klezmer Day Proclamation recognizing Ensemble Mchaiya as the first revival Klezmer band in Chicagoland.

Flexible and affordable

We are happy to customize our programs to fit your interests and to adjust the bands size to your budget and needs.

Contact us today to discuss your plans!