Ensemble M’chaiya as a quintet standing along a brick wall.


Jewish, Greek musicians in Chicago aid quake victims

The Chicago Jewish Star — By Gila Wertheimer, Associate Editor, February 4, 2000

Jewish Star February 4, 2000 clipping about the Ensemble M’chaiya (tm)’s sponsorship of the Relief Benefit for the Turkish Earthquake survivors.

It began as a street-corner conversation in Evanston between a local musician and a Turkish PhD student.

The result was a benefit concert that brough together diverse musicians, diplomats from Turkey, Greece, and Israel, and an audience made up largely of Northwestern students. That cause was to aid victims of last fall’s earthquake in Turkey.

On Feb. 4, more than three months after the concert, Terran Doehrer, the Chicago-area musicians who organized the event, will present a check for $4,119 to Yaviz Aktas, the Turkish Counsul General in Chicago.

By fundraising standards it is not a large amount, but the passion behind the dollars is deeply felt.

“I literally spent four weeks, seven days a week, to get this thing going. My own music suffered, but I knew I had to be a mensch and do it,” Doehrer told the Jewish Star this week.

Doehrer, who mainly plays guitar, percussion, and flute and is a founder of Chicago’s first klezmer band, the Ensemble M’chaiya (tm), and the Balkan Rhythm Band (tm), spoke with musicians he knows, asking them to participate.

“Everyone was gung-ho,” he said, and they put together a show comprised mainly of Greek and Jewish music, both of which are Turkish influenced.

“This was an effort to show that we musicians owe something to Turkish culture,” Doehrer said.

One of his musician friends Doehrer contacted was Aaron Cohen, executive editor of the JUF News, who plays the Turkish saz, a long-necked lute used in Turkish folk music.

Another was klezmer clarinetist Don Jacobs.

The benefit concert quickly “became larger than earthquake relief,” Cohen told the Jewish Star, bringing Jews, Greeks, and Turks together to play music in aid of those who had suffered the ravages of a natural disaster.

Now, as the money raised is turned over this week to the Turkish consulate, the tangible results of that coming together will go to help those still in need.