Israel, began playing in
groups in the 1960s and
formed his own band, The
May Company, to offer
dance music, blues and
rock 'n' roll.
"Schmaltz has put me in
touch with my roots and
brings a special joy to my
life," says May, a
Southfield resident who
grew up in Detroit, gradu-
ated from Mumford High
School and earned his
bachelor's degree from
Michigan State University.
"Shel came up with the
name 'Schmaltz,' and
we've become very close
friends since our early
The members of Schmaltz — Sol Belenson, clarinet
Belenson, who played in
and sax; Rick May, trumpet and vocals; Gary
the band at Oak Park
Rimar, keyboards; and Kevin Resnick, drums —
High School, has made
charitably offer their services at many events; they
more time for music since
are shown performing here at the Oak Park Jewish
retiring from Daimler
Chrysler as an industrial
and systems engineer. A
"We perform about twice a month,
graduate of the University of
and the others rehearse more than I
Michigan-Dearborn with master's
do," says the drummer, who also has
degrees from Wayne State University
been part of marching bands. "They
and Oakland University, he had want-
brief me and get me ready."
ed to major in music but made engi-
Rimar, hired to play piano for Shir
neering his practical choice.
Tikvah, is director of technology for
"I had old klezmer books from years
the Jewish Community Center and
ago, and I did more research at music
performs professionally as a sideline.
stores," says Belenson, 57, of
The Birmingham resident, who has
Farmington Hills. "I found early
studied piano since age 7, gets book-
recordings and more information on
ings for weddings and private parties.
"I have 1,600 songs memorized,"
Belenson considers klezmer close to
says Rimar, 40, who grew up in Oak
jazz because of its intricacies and
Park and earned a bachelor's degree in
improvisation, recalling the Jewish
television production from Ferris
roots of the classic jazz song "And the
State University. "My mother used to
Angels Sing," a Benny Goodman hit
play piano, and she started me with
introduced in 1939.
lessons after I liked one particular
"It's wonderful to be part of the
piece and tried playing it."
revival of Jewish music and keeping
Rimar, who also has been trained
Jewish culture alive," says Belenson,
to do legal mediation and takes
who teaches part time at Walsh
assignments from Oakland County
College. "It's also been great to hang
courts, maintains a Web site
out with my son-in-law Kevin, who
(vvww.garyrimatcom) that explains
plays drums for Schmaltz."
his instrumental interests.
Resnick, the last person brought
"When I was in school, I sang with
into the group, performed with school
the choirs," Rimar says. "I liked that,
bands at Orchard Lake Middle
and along the way, I developed perfect
School, West Bloomfield High School
pitch. I have fun with music, and that
and Central Michigan University.
"I've found klezmer a lot of fun,"
says Resnick, 30, of Farmington Hills.
"It's very upbeat, and it's great to play
Schmaltz performs 9 p.m. Saturday,
the music my parents and grandpar-
Sept. 20, before Selichot services at
ents knew growing up."
Congregation Shaarey Zedek West
Resnick, a mechanical engineer, had
Bloomfield, B'nai Israel Center,
stayed away from percussion after
4200 Walnut Lake Road, West
completing college and never expected
Bloomfield. (248) 681-8247.
to go back to it.
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