By James Beaty
If home really is where the heart is, then Michael Ginsburg is back home.
Although he grew up in Pennsylvania, Ginsburg said he fell in love with the McAlester area when he first moved here four years to complete a program at Narconon Arrowhead.
Now, he’s ready to continue giving back to the city which he said gave so much to him.
Ginsburg, an outstanding violinist and fiddler who won the Oklahoma State Fiddle Champion contest after competing in 2007 will be joining renowned fellow fiddler Jana Jae for a concert at the Masonic Center in McAlester set 7 p.m. on Oct. 23.
Jae, who is probably best-known for her appearances on television’s long-running “Hee-Haw” program, plays in a variety of styles.
The concert will benefit Pride in McAlester’s efforts to renovate the Okla Theater in downtown McAlester.
During their Oct. 23 concert, Jae and Ginsburg plan on playing a variety of musical styles.
Although the two previously performed on the same concert stage during a benefit for United Way several years ago, this time Ginsburg and Jae plan on playing a number of duets, along with their solo performances.
“We’re playing some country, some twin fiddle gypsy violin music as well as some classical music,” Ginsburg said. Also look for traces of western swing and bluegrass, as well as some old-fashioned fiddle breakdowns as the two explore a number of musical idioms.
They will be joined by other musicians during segments of the concert.
Pianist Kathryn Brod plans on joining Ginsburg for some classical and jazz selections.
Jae and Ginsburg will be performing with Jae’s band. McAlester Mayor Kevin Priddle, a guitarist who has performed with Ginsburg, will also be performing.
Jae and Ginsburg got to know each other when Ginsburg sought her advice before he competed in the Oklahoma State Fiddle Championships in 2007.
A classically-trained violinist, he wanted to learn more about playing “fiddle.” Although they are the same instrument, playing violin and playing fiddle calls for two completely different types of styles.
“I called her and she agreed to meet with me,” Ginsburg said. “She worked with me for about two hours.”
In the 2007 championship competition, Ginsburg played three songs, including a waltz, a breakdown and a polka — and won the state championship in the open division.
As a result of their friendship, Jae later traveled to McAlester for the United Way benefit performance with Ginsburg.
These days, in addition to performing around the city, Ginsburg also gives drug education programs in conjunction with Narconon and also gives privates lessons for both violin and fiddle players.
The Oct. 23 concert is in conjunction with the “Take McAlester Back” movement, which will feature several other activities on Oct. 22-23. They include a Skate Fest event on Oct. 22 and a 10-K run on Oct. 23.
Tickets for the Michael Ginsburg and Jan Jae concert are set to be available at the event, which has limited seating.
Advance tickets are available at the offices of Pride in McAlester, the McAlester Chamber of Commerce and McAlester Main Street.
Tickets are $20 general admission and $50 for special seating.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.