Sarah Larsson is a folklorist, vocalist and percussionist devoted to building resources for communities to preserve and celebrate folk tradition. A vocalist in the ensemble "The Nightingale Trio", she tours internationally, singing traditional Jewish and Slavic music from Eastern Europe. Sarah teaches vocal folk music and leads song circles and community sings in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and she has appeared as a guest artist with the Nightingale Trio on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion.
Sarah also arranges traditional folksongs for contemporary ensembles and composes original music based on Balkan and Jewish folk traditions. She received the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant in 2018 to research and arrange five new compositions based on women's songs from Romania, Hungary, Kosovo, Bosnia and Russia. Sarah is a fellow of the Howard and Ruth Brin Jewish Arts Endowment for contemporary music. She studies vocal music for worship—particularly piyutim (devotional poetry from the 11th–16th centuries)—as an apprentice under Rabbi Arielle Lekach-Rosenberg in Minneapolis. Sarah has also learned from David Harris, Diana Yefanova, Elena Kallevig, Bojana Djordjevic, Josko Caleta, Judith Eisner and other mastersingers in their traditions.
A guest lecturer on folk music and Eastern European singing traditions, Sarah has presented at Stanford University, University of Virginia, University of Minnesota, Hamline University (MN) and Anoka-Ramsey Community College (MN). She received both bachelor's and master's degrees in anthropology from Yale University, and sang with the Yale Women's Slavic Chorus, a self-directed student ensemble that has trailblazed in the field of Eastern European folksinging in North America since its founding in 1969. Sarah studies and sings music from her roots as a way to explore her family history, create resources for collectively carrying forward cultural traditions and build tools for inter-community exchange and allyship around culture and art.
Tova Birnbaum is the Director of Jewish Content at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. She was born in B'nai B'rak in an Ultra-Orthodox home and was one of the founders of the BINA Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv. Tova had recently served as the Central Shlicha (emissary), Director of the North America Region of the World Zionist Organization. She is a teacher of Talmudic rabbinic literature, a Judaic studies lecturer and a Theater Midrash workshop facilitator.
Tova is also a secular Jewish lifecycle ceremonies officiant. Tova is an actress and a Jewish performance artist. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and Jewish philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master's degree in theater from Tel Aviv University.
Participation in A-Loud gatherings is free, but we encourage you to consider contributing whatever you can toward the cost of the meal and program ($18 value per person).
Mark your calendars for A-Loud gathering dates during the year:
Sunday, December 15
Sunday, January 12
Sunday, February 23
Sunday, March 8
Sunday, May 17 (this meeting)
Sunday, June 14
Sunday, May 17
Marcia & John Goldman Teen Center, Room (Bldg M) -121
Free | RSVP required | Please consider contributing toward the cost of the meal and program
Contact: Tova Birnbaum | (650) 223-8694 | [email protected]