Band Playing Wedding Song at Highland Park Parade When Gunfire Erupted

The Maxwell Side road Klezmer Band was once enjoying a completely happy Jewish marriage ceremony track, and parade-goers must were dancing. As an alternative they have been operating, and the band had no thought why. 

The band performed on, no longer knowing that gunfire had erupted simply across the nook from them in Highland Park, Illinois, killing six other people and injuring a minimum of 24.

“It was once surreal,” Howard Prager, the band’s tuba participant, instructed Insider. “You recognize, you spot the ones crisis motion pictures on TV and in theaters the place individuals are operating clear of one thing and right here we’re going against it, no longer having any thought what was once taking place.”

A few of the frightening movies to emerge from the July 4 taking pictures was once certainly one of terrified parade-goers fleeing the scene because the band, ignorant of the taking pictures, persevered to play. 


In the beginning of the parade, Prager mentioned he may just see other people at the sidewalks, status and sitting in chairs, and having a look glad to be at a parade after years of COVID cancellations. The band have been at the parade direction for approximately 5 mins once they began seeing other people operating towards their truck.

Prager thinks he heard “some pops,” however did not suppose it was once gunfire. His first idea when he noticed other people operating was once that there may were a July 4 giveaway. Then the piano participant mentioned: “One thing’s no longer proper.”

Quickly, the seven band individuals learned they had to flip their truck round and head to protection, in the wrong way.

The Klezmer tune they have been enjoying is conventional japanese Ecu Jewish tune, Prager mentioned, and Chicago is a huge heart for its revival. Even if it is ceaselessly in minor keys, Prager mentioned it’s nonetheless “very completely happy.”

The marriage track they have been enjoying on the time, “Freilach von der Chuppah,” is a joyous and upbeat track, he added.

“It was once simply abnormal to be enjoying after which seeing this occur,” he mentioned of the scene, which is “eternally etched in my thoughts. We noticed folks with child strollers. We noticed children, we noticed other people of every age, and so they have been all operating.”

Prager mentioned he now feels “surprise and numb and sorrow” for many who have been killed, injured and suffering from the taking pictures. “And I thank God that … I am OK and that we are OK.”

Highland Park has a big Jewish inhabitants. The band has carried out in live shows, weddings and particular occasions since 1983, however Prager mentioned they have got steadily performed at parades in Highland Park and Skokie, Illinois, as a result of they have got such a lot of fanatics there.

Prager mentioned July 4 is one vacation the place American citizens of all backgrounds and ideology can rejoice in combination the start of the country, liberty and justice for all. “To suppose that anyone was once in poor health sufficient to make use of this as an instance to unharness violence and mayhem and homicide is to me, so implausible, so unsuitable,” he mentioned.

Prager wrote the e book “Make Anyone’s Day: Changing into a Memorable Chief in Paintings and Lifestyles.” He mentioned it is about how we wish to make stronger one every other, “and the one factor I will be able to bring to mind is I wish to paintings more difficult getting this message out.”

“That is us at our worst and we need to flip this round,” he mentioned. “We’ve got were given to prevent this. This has were given to come back to an finish as a result of none people need to reside in concern.”

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