Families Reconnect

I am always fascinated by how things were for our past generations. Some things were easier and others more difficult. For people in the music business there were more opportunities a few generations ago.  Of course long before synthesizers and dj’s, people had to rely on actual live musicians to fulfill their entertainment needs. My grandfather Jack was a prime example of the demand for high caliber musicianship years ago. Remember, before movies had sound they used to have live bands in the theaters. He played the silent film pits as well as the Yiddish Theater. This was in addition to the late night Jewish nightclubs on the lower east side and the wedding circuit. There were others who were just as busy. Another family of musicians were the Grupps. I had always heard about the violinist Louis Grupp. He held a post with the musician’s union for many years. Both he and my grandfather were members of the Progressive Musical Society. This society was founded in 1911 and you needed to be a member if you wanted to get your foot in the door of the Jewish music scene at the time. Louis Grupp also had brothers who were musicians as well. I have a song in my Klezmer repertoire that I was always told was from Louis Grupp. We don’t know for sure if he wrote it but apparently it was in his repertoire. Another reason why I know the name Grupp is because every time I’d visit the cemetery where my family is laid to rest, I’d see the name Grupp on a few of the monuments. Turns out Louis is 2 stones away from my grandfather!! I was recently contacted by Grupp’s granddaughter Marcy. She came upon a past post where I had mentioned her grandfather. For all I know the last time a Levitt spoke with a Grupp could have been 40-50 years ago!! It’s nice to have connected with Marcy and re-establish an old family friendship. I know our grandfathers are playing music together on the lower east side of heaven.