Roots & Wings Flyer (Event Cover).png

Director/Playwright
Matthew McCray

 

Matthew McCray has directed productions, workshops and concerts at Center Theatre Group, LA Philharmonic @ Disney Concert Hall, StudioSCR at South Coast Repertory, Deaf West Theatre, Chance Theater, Lewis Family Playhouse, Theatre @ Boston Court, Muse/ique, REDCAT, Son of Semele, Circle X, Moving Arts, Rogue Machine, among others. Awards for directing include LA Drama Critics Circle and the Sage Awards, as well as nominations from the Ovation Awards and LA Weekly Theatre Awards. Founding Artistic Director of Son of Semele Ensemble (20 seasons and going). As a performer, credits include REDCAT, Disney, REPRISE!, Overtone Industries, Theatre @ Boston Court, Musical Theatre West, Shakespeare Orange County, as well as on the TV shows Parenthood, New Girl, Will & Grace, Boston Legal, and the feature The Commission (w/ Martin Sheen). President, Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles. BFA, Chapman University. Member: SDC, AEA & SAG/AFTRA. @matthewmccray www.matthewmccray.com

Bandleader/Himself
leeav sofer

Mostly Kosher bandleader Leeav Sofer is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer/arranger, music director and teaching artist with a performance degree in clarinet and voice from the Bob Cole Conservatory of California State University of Long Beach. He has performed at venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Ford Amphitheater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Theater at Ace Hotel as well as singing backups at the Staples Center with the Rolling Stones for their 2013 tour. He currently is on faculty at the Colburn School in Los Angeles where he teaches classes, directing choirs and community engagement programs. Under the auspice of Colburn, Sofer helped initiate or develop music programs to culturally elevate the surrounding communities. Some of these programs include a choral ensemble made up of students from underserved high schools and as well as music outreach visits to Title 1 elementary schools around Los Angeles. 

In 2015 Sofer found acclaim as both an actor, singer and score composer on the stage for 24th Street Theater’s Man Covet’s Bird, winning acclaim when LA Times named the play and it’s music, Critic Choice of the year as well as KCRW’s Anthony Byrne’s praise: “It’s theater magic…Just don’t miss it” as well as featured in KCRW’s The Best of 2015 - LA Theater.

Sofer is also the co-founder and director of The Urban Voices Project, a program that combines adult music education, therapeutic music workshops and a performing community choirs for the homeless and disenfranchised individuals on Skid Row. These programs have garnered Sofer recognition on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, on NPR’s All Things Considered, and allowed him to share the stage with celebrities such as Dick Van Dyke, Black Eyed Peas, Molly Ringwald, celebrity chefs Massimo Batturo, Roy Choi and Mario Battali as well as local politicians such as Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Sofer is a teaching artist and collaborator for Street Symphony, a partner organization that brings distinguished musicians down to homeless communities and the LA County Jails to perform. Together he has helped manifest The Messiah Project, an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah in Skid Row remembered as one of the top 10 performances of 2015 deemed by the New Yorker.

In addition to co-founding Los Angeles’s only current Jewish Youth Orchestra, Sofer also leads the band Mostly Kosher, dedicated to preserving and progressing cultural folk music of the Judaic heritage for future generations. Mostly Kosher has met critical acclaim recognized by World Music Network, Los Angeles’ Jewish Journal, JLife Magazine, fRoots Magazine, Jewish Exponent and Songlines Magazine. In 2016, Mostly Kosher had the honor of being the first Jewish music ensemble at the Disney parks and performed a 2 month residency at Disney California Adventure, featured in the Festival of Holidays. Mostly Kosher was credited for “stealing the Festival of Holidays Show” by the acclaimed Fresh Baked Disney podcast, as well as many more credits. Mostly Kosher’s work then was seen by and brought to DisneyWorld at the Epcot park for the same holiday season. Thus in 2017, Mostly Kosher was the first live band and first impression of Jewish culture in both Disney parks at both coasts of the United States at the same time. Sofer continues to tour and perform clarinet, piano, aux percussion and vocals for his band and as a freelance musician.

Violin/Bubbe/Herself
Janice Mautner Markham

Janice Mautner Markham, is a Los Angeles based artist/activist/violinist and arts educator. She is a proud founding member of the Klezmer-rock band, Mostly Kosher. 

Along with violinists Niv Ashkenazi and Lindsey Deutsch, Janice was invited to participate in a documentary sponsored by The Soraya Performing Arts Center for the Violins of Hope, and had the honor of playing rare Holocaust-era violins that had been rescued and restored. 

Janice was proud to participate in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association’s Weimar Cabaret performance, “Musik! Fantasie! Revolution!” in February 2020, conceived by Jack and Benny Lipson. She also plays with the San Bernardino Symphony, led by the brilliant Marstro Anthony Parnther. Her string ensemble, The JAC Trio, along with violist Amira Bennett and cellist Circe Diaz Gamero, keeps up a busy performance schedule, playing at numerous local synagogues, Pico Union Project, Molly Malone’s, as well as other venues throughout Southern California. In 2010 Janice started her residency with the house band for the acclaimed improvisational show The Black Version at Hollywood’s Groundlings Theatre, with performances at Sketchfest, San Francisco and The Kennedy Center. Guest artists have included Wayne Brady, Maya Rudolph, Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele, and the show will enter its 12th season in 2022. She has been very active with Cafe Europa, playing solo and ensemble performances for the local groups of Holocaust survivors. 

Janice’s compositions and violin stylings can be heard on various television and film soundtracks, most recently for the horror film “The Black Room”. Janice’s first klezmer composition will be heard in the upcoming feature film “The Accursed”, starring Izabela Vidovic and Melora Walters. She is proud to have her violining featured on some of her favorite artists’ recordings, including Chuck E. Weiss’s “Red Beans and Weiss” produced by Tom Waits. As a musician and actor, Janice has numerous regional and off-Broadway credits, and was honored to serve as understudy for Lisa Gutkin during the Broadway touring production of Indecent at the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre.

Music Education and Social Justice are a guiding focus for Janice. She is founder and Music Director of the Jewish Youth Orchestra, a project of the Jewish Federation of San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. She also participates in collaboration and outreach with Urban Voices Project, led by Mostly Kosher band leader, Leeav Sofer. UVP is a non-profit in Los Angeles’ Skid Row that brings the healing power of music directly to individuals disenfranchised by homelessness, mental health issues, and unemployment. Additionally, Janice has been Artistic Director of Vox Box Arts Collective since 1991, which has included youth arts outreach, multi-disciplinary arts production and Caja de Arte, a Spanish Immersion Arts Camp. She dedicates time to perform in underserved areas in and around Los Angeles, including at The Midnight Mission and the Skid Row Museum. Janice is currently a Masters Candidate at Arizona State University, majoring in Social Justice and Human Rights. 

Janice credits much of her early musical evolution to her father, pianist Raymond Mautner, and violin teachers Harold Ayres and Heiichiro Ohyama. For more information on Janice, including upcoming performances:  janicemarkham.com  FB/IG @janiviolin

 

Adam Levy grew up in a musical family. After studying jazz performance at the University of South Florida, Adam moved to New York to pursue a bass playing career. The jazz scene there was less than lucrative, so he diversified, enjoying the city’s infinite musical culture.  Accompanying a wide variety of acts nurtured Adam’s ability to communicate musically. As his palette grew, he noted that many aspects of bass playing transcend genre. Armed with this insight, no gig was too far out, or too far in.

Living in Los Angeles, Adam can be heard with reggae and salsa acts, children's folk groups, jazz trios, songwriters, hard rockers, and more. Learning new styles is still a thrill. As a member of the world music group, Mostly Kosher, Adam puts to use the entirety of his musical background. His hobbies include driving fast cars slowly and coming to a complete stop.

Clarinet/Saxaphone
Ben Tevik

Ben Tevik is a full time music teacher and freelance woodwind performer in the greater Los Angeles area. Originally from Tucson, AZ, he began playing clarinet at the age of 10, then picked up the saxophone two years later. Ben attended the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Clarinet Performance. He then attended the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach where he received his Master’s degree in Clarinet Performance. He has performed at Lincoln Center,Carnegie Hall, and has toured across Mainland China. In addition to teaching and mentoring his own students, Ben now enjoys a career of performing classical, jazz, and many other styles of music around Los Angeles and Orange County.

 

Ben loves to write music and practice his various instruments in his free time. He also enjoys running on the beach, attending museums, reading comic books, and eating great food!

Trombone
Bob Lawrence

Bob Lawrence, trombonist, was born in Orange County California. He began playing trombone at the age of 10 and quickly fell in love with music. During his youth Bob won spots in the All Southern California All-Star Jazz Band every year from 2002-2008. From 2008-2010 Bob attended Saddleback College and studied under the direction of Joey Sellers. During that time Bob won the South Orange County Concerto Competition for his performance of the Morceau Symphonique.  Since then Bob has graduated from the Los Angeles College of Music and has been living in LA where he's quickly establishing himself as a respected and highly in-demand trombone player, arranger, and music educator. 

   Bob has performed for and toured with Persian superstars Ebi Hamedi and  Googoosh as well as the Billy Vaughn Orchestra. You can hear Bob playing trombone on recordings by Geronimo Rauch, Andy Montañez, Craig Cammel Orchestra, the Baba Orchestra, the Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra (nominated for two Latin Grammys as well as two Grammys for the album Tradiciones), Kim Richmond Orchestra, Luis Enrique, Tony Vega, Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band, and more bands and musicians from around the world.

Accordion
Nigel Wilson

Nigel Wilson, is a composer, performer, and sound designer from Los Angeles. When he’s not shredding accordion, he works in video game development. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Nigel has been performing internationally with various groups, pivoting to longform electronic improvisation on twitch during the first American stay at home order. His music can be be found in games, film, and most conveniently on his website, www.nigelawilson.com

Nigel is a leo, doesn’t know his own blood type, and practices wiggling his eyebrows in the mirror in his spare time.

Drummer

Sam Webster

Sam Webster is a Los Angeles based drummer and percussionist. As a studio musician, he can be heard on numerous films, television shows and records. Some of his recording credits include: LA LA Land, The Little Mermaid Live and Leslie Odom Jr. As a performer he can be heard and seen at Disneyland, The Long Beach Symphony and many venues in Los Angeles and Orange County.