Couple Brings Bonaventure Quartet to Ahavath Achim
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Couple Brings Bonaventure Quartet to Ahavath Achim

Barbara and Ken Feinberg celebrate their wedding anniversary with a community concert.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

This concert expanded the Quartet to six musicians
This concert expanded the Quartet to six musicians

There are many ways to celebrate a special occasion; however, sponsoring a community musical event that features a favorite Atlanta band stands out as unique.

Barbara and Ken Feinberg did just that to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary by bringing The Bonaventure Quartet to Ahavath Achim Synagogue on Sunday, Aug. 21, to open this season’s acclaimed music series. ‘

Barbara and Ken Feinberg greet the audience.

Barbara says that she had been “enchanted” by Bonaventure’s music since first hearing them about 10 years ago, and when she heard them again at Eddie’s Attic, she and her husband decided to sponsor them as one of Ahavath Achim’s planned concerts. Barbara reflects that “every musician in the group is a standout,” and singer Amy Pike’s voice “delivers on every song’s poignant melody and lyrics.”

The Feinbergs’ decision was clearly appreciated: at the concert’s end, members of the audience, many who had never heard the hometown band before, crowded around the couple to thank them for introducing them to the distinctive group.

Swing dancers surprised the audience

The Feinbergs have been attending the synagogue’s concerts for years, and Barbara has written copy for the printed programs, been an informed sounding board for ideas, and welcomed guests to performances. The long-standing music series has gained a wide local and regional audience by regularly featuring classical music concerts by world-class musicians; and Ivan Millender, who has chaired the music series since 2005, affirms, “We aim to bring a variety of live performers, orchestras, and bands to our audiences. We’re gratified by the large numbers of Jewish and non-Jewish music lovers who look forward to attending our programs.”

As part of the commitment to showcase a diversity of memorable performances, The Bonaventure Quartet was the perfect opener for the upcoming Ahavath Achim Marilyn Ginsberg Eckstein Cultural Arts music series. (For this occasion, performing in the synagogue’s large, renovated sanctuary, the quartet grew in size to a sextet.)

(From left) Daughters, Sily and Rachel, Barbara and Ken Feinberg

The Bonaventure Quartet is distinguished by its signature mixture of swing and cabaret-style music, adding a new genre to Ahavath Achim’s musical offerings.

With its first song, the band immediately transported the audience into the ambience of an informal jazz club, with music inspired by the mood and sound of 1930s Paris, France. Most of the songs on the afternoon’s program were composed and given elegiac lyrics by Charles Williams, the lead guitarist, who founded the group in 2000 and named it after the street near Ponce de Leon where he lived.

Founder Williams opened the program by succinctly noting, “We’re kind of a French swing band.” Echoing the sounds of gypsy-jazz, torch songs, and ballads, along with evocative original compositions, The Bonaventure Quartet has played throughout Atlanta in countless venues and was appropriately described in Southeastern Performer Magazine as “bringing the unmistakable music of jazz clubs and cabarets to the present.”

Charles Williams, Bonaventure Quartet founder and director

While each of the band’s musicians played with skill and vigor, some of them showed mastery on more than one instrument, and mezzo-voiced chanteuse Amy Pike reached deep into each song’s dramatic or ironic center. Adding an unexpected dimension to the spirited afternoon, a number of couples, familiar with Bonaventure’s rhythmic music, rose from the large audience and took to the floor, dancing to select songs throughout the concert. The dancers were a treat for the audience, and, according to Barbara, a delightful surprise for her and her family.

Barbara Feinberg explains the couple’s magnanimous decision, “I’ve enjoyed the music of the Bonaventure Quartet for many years, and I knew they would be a great group to bring to Ahavath Achim’s Cultural Arts Program. So, Ken and I decided we’d sponsor them in concert to share their incredible songs and musicianship with our friends and synagogue community. We were able to bring together the music we love with the people we love on the occasion of our 35th wedding anniversary. No other celebration could be sweeter.”

There is no admission charge to attend any of the Marilyn Ginsberg Eckstein Cultural Arts programs, and all of them are open to the general community. A dessert reception follows each concert, during which audience members are invited to socialize and meet the performers.

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