This week's A&E highlights


This week, hear a contemporary klezmer band, learn about volunteering at Filoli and catch education author Alfie Kohn's talk on the perils of overemphasizing achievement.


Yiddish Art Trio

The word "klezmer" probably doesn't make you think of contemporary music. Well, New York's Yiddish Art Trio intends to change that. Founded in 2009 by three acclaimed young klezmer musicians, the group is about to release its self-titled debut album. On Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m., Yiddish Art Trio will give an exclusive house concert in Mountain View. Artists Patrick Farrell (accordion), Benjy Fox-Rosen (double bass and voice) and Michael Winograd (clarinet) have played their music around the U.S. and Europe, performing and recording alongside such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. The trio draws on the musical legacy of the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, but aims to bring a contemporary sensibility to traditional harmonies and forms. Some of their arrangements also incorporate Yiddish poetry. To learn more about the band, visit yiddisharttrio.com. To reserve a ticket for $20, and to receive directions to the concert location, email concerts@instantharmony.com or call 650-947-9669.

Volunteer opportunity


Looking for a creative way to make a contribution in the New Year? Consider attending the volunteer recruitment session at Filoli on Saturday, Jan. 10, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Located just off Interstate 280, the historic house and gardens of Filoli attract more than 100,000 visitors every year. Though the 654-acre beauty spot is celebrated for its grounds, volunteer opportunities range from playing piano in the ballroom to helping with public relations, member services and docent-led tours. You won't be the only one who finds the nonprofit an ideal place to donate your time; Filoli currently boasts a team of more than 1,300 volunteers. The recruitment session will take place at Filoli's Visitor & Education Center, 86 CaƱada Road, Woodside. The event is free, but reservations are required by 4 p.m. today: Friday, Jan. 2. To reserve a spot, email volunteer@filoli.org. To learn more, go to filoli.org and click on volunteer, or check out this informational video.


Performance vs. Learning

Homework's no good. Neither are standardized tests or the Common Core. Those are among the controversial stances of Alfie Kohn, education and parenting author and outspoken critic of schools' emphasis on academic performance rather than learning. This Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m., Kohn will give a talk at Palo Alto's JCC (3921 Fabian Way). Titled "Performance vs. Learning -- The Costs of Overemphasizing Achievement," Kohn's lecture is aimed at parents and teachers and will be geared specifically toward the academic pressures faced by Palo Alto students. The question students should be asking themselves, Kohn suggests, isn't "How am I doing?" so much as "What am I doing?" Kohn's latest book, "The Myth of the Spoiled Child," overturned conventional wisdom about over-indulged kids and helicopter parents. For more on Kohn's work, go to alfiekohn.org. Tickets to the Palo Alto event are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Go to paloaltojcc.org or call 650-223-8664.

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