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Jack Stratton leads the band and crowd in a call-and-response song as Josh “Socalled” Dolgin plays the piano and Michael Winograd plays the clarinet. 

The 42nd Yiddish Concert in the Park returned June 26 after a two-year hiatus as Yiddishe Pirat took the stage and over 875 people filled Evans Amphitheater at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights.

Yiddishe Pirat is a klezmer group led by Cleveland Heights native Jack Stratton, who also plays in the funk band Vulfpeck. Stratton played the drums and was joined by 2014 Yiddish Concert headliner Josh “Socalled” Dolgin on the piano and klezmer-clarinet virtuoso Michael Winograd.

As special guests, Stratton brought out his father, Bert Stratton, and Alan Douglass of Yiddishe Cup/Funk-a-Deli – the band he started playing drums with – for a few songs.

“It was a total blast,” Stratton told the Cleveland Jewish News. “The mix of Vulf fans and Yiddish music fans was perfect. Everyone was dancing by the end of it. It was a really great crowd, listened during the quiet parts, danced during the dance songs.”

Putting on a full show for the crowd, Dolgin performed a magic trick in which he tore up a copy of the Shaker Square Area Development Corporation free newspaper before unfolding it to reveal it all in one piece. The crowd reacted with a standing ovation and loud cheers.

“I was standing back in the wings, and it just made me feel so good to see people enjoying live music again,” Shawn Fink, co-chair of the concert committee with Roger Kramer, told the CJN. “It’s been so long since we’ve been able to come out and enjoy music as a community, as people together. We had young, we had old, it was just a nice mix of audience.”

Fink said it was one of the largest and most energetic crowds in years as people clapped along and got up to dance throughout the amphitheater.

The CJN was the media sponsor of the concert.

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