The Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble

A blend of klezmer and Israeli dance music, with a touch of swing, describes the repertory of Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s newest and hottest ethnic bands. The band was formed by Paul Alexander, the group’s clarinetist, in March of 2000. Jubilee plays at weddings, B’nai Mitzvahs, public concerts and other celebrations throughout the greater Bay Area.

The ensemble brings together the talents of four Sonoma County musicians. 

Paul Alexander, a Petaluman, started clarinet at the age of ten, training in classical music, but dabbling with Benny Goodman-style swing on the side. He has played with Sonoma State, Rohnert Park, and Santa Rosa Symphonies, and numerous chamber groups in the Bay Area. Paul became interested in klezmer about 15 years ago, playing first with the Santa Rosa klezmer group, Limonim, and then the Marin klezmer band, the Red Hot Chachkas, and then establishing Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble.

Sonia Tubridy, a Guerneville resident, grew up in Israel on a kibbutz, imbibing Israeli music at its source. She is a classically trained pianist, choral conductor, and student of the cello. Sonia directs the River Choir and is a frequent performer and impresario at the Coffee Concerts in Guerneville. She is an avid participant and performer in various chamber music workshops and is active as a classical piano teacher and accompanist in Sonoma County. 

Phil Lawrence, the group’s mandolinist, lives in Sebastopol. Phil has played guitar and mandolin with jazz, rock, country, bluegrass and reggae bands. He has produced a CD, Mandolin Mezzotints, and is a member of the local acoustic folk/rock group, Silk and Steel. Phil teaches English literature and writing at Petaluma High School and often brings his mandolin into the classroom to share his love of music with his students. 

Our new bass player, Mark Peabody, previously directed the music department at San Rafael High School, and now heads the music department at Novato High School. His career has spanned a wide range of musical styles including classical music, jazz, rock and roll, Indian Music and Gamelan Music from Indonesia. He currently performs around the Bay Area and is a longstanding member of the Santa Rosa Symphony. 

Daniel Sundy is the bassist you hear on Jubilee’s CDs, Mazel Tov and Raisins and Almonds. Daniel graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2001 with a Bachelor of Music degree. He invited Jubilee to play a klezmer concert for his independent study project, entitled Jewish Music in America. This was a smashing hit with the students and professors. He has been a frequent performer with Bay Area symphonies. Daniel has been studying most recently at the Hochschule fuer Musil in Detmold, Germany. Since Daniel went to Germany to study, we have been joined by Mark Peabody on bass.

About Klezmer Music

Klezmer, a joyous and celebratory music, has its roots in the Middle Ages and combines musical styles found in the Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia, Greece, Turkey, Israel, the Balkans, Trans-Caucasus, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Rumania to name a few. 

Deeply influenced by the khazones, the old Hassidic cantorial melodies, it has always been closely associated with the traditions of the Jewish wedding ceremony and all of the Jewish holidays. It became an integral part of daily life in pre-World War II Jewish culture. 

Klezmer music was brought to the United States by Eastern European immigrants in the early twentieth century, where it was modified to some extent by American swing, and more recently, contemporary jazz. It disappeared after the Holocaust, but has been experiencing an enthusiastic revival in Western Europe and the United States since the 1970’s.