Yamma Ensemble in Detroit Lakes
By Eric Young Smith
After closing a great week in Wausau, Wisconsin, the members of Yamma Ensemble and I made a long, northwest drive to the community of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Though our week in Wausau seemed to end too soon and we would gladly have stayed longer, I was looking forward to our visit to Detroit Lakes. I imagined beautiful, small inland lakes and colorful sunsets.
The geography surrounding Detroit Lakes didn’t disappoint! We arrived later in the day and settled in to our hotel, which was a short walk from the lakes after which our host community was named. A walk through this small town was relaxing and easy, and the bakery in the center of town made wonderful cherry turnovers.
After a full morning and afternoon to recover from our drive, we attended a reception with the folks at Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center. Volunteers were very proud to show us around, since the DLCCC was impressively restored from its former persona as a high school into a community center that houses, among other things, the beautifully restored Historic Holmes Theatre, where Yamma performed in concert later in the week.
Next morning, Yamma was focused on their workshops. We went from school to school meeting teachers and children, and Yamma left them eager to learn more about the diversity and color of Israeli culture. Everyone wanted to hear more of the ensemble’s beautiful music.
We were hosted by the Public Library Club where—though we were in a library—we were encouraged to be open and let the instruments sing loudly. Yamma also spoke and played at the White Earth Reservation where, during a workshop, Yamma was treated to a traditional drum and singing demonstration by students of Circle of Life Academy.
By the time Saturday arrived, it seemed like every student who attended a workshop was inspired to return for Yamma’s concert—and bring their parents along! Yamma gave a wonderful concert that night. By the way that Yamma performed in the Holmes Theatre, I could tell they fell in love with the community in Detroit Lakes.
You can see great images from Detroit Lakes and other stops on the tour in this Arts Midwest World Fest set on Flickr.