The Continentals

It was 1954 and this was the very first band I played with outside of high school. Trumpeter Wes Kerton invited me to join. After more than 65 years, my memories of this group may not be 100%, but here goes…

Members:

  • Freddie Glick (sax and clarinet)
  • Jack Kaplun (drums)
  • Ernie Baltman
  • Steve Bederman
  • Larry Greenstein (sax and clarinet)
  • Wes Kerton (trumpet)
  • Russ Strathdee (alto sax)

We played a mixed bag of music: some Jewish tunes (called Russian Fralachs), plus dance band standards reading from “Combo Orks” books.

Combo Orks book

One of the main places we rehearsed was at the Bederman’s home, which was West off of Bathurst and just north of Eglinton off of Elm Ridge Dr. Wes and I would get there by bikes from Willowdale since neither of us had a car.

Holy Blossom Temple – one of the places where we played for a Bar Mitzvah

I remember one gig we did; a Bar Mitzvah in the lower level of the Holy Blossom Temple. I had never played a Bar Mitzvah before and the other band mates said that we would get tips if we played well. I can remember at one point during the event, everyone was dancing around in a huge circle and as they swung past the band, one or two gentlemen would flip me a tip. But the way they did this was quite unique. A piece of paper money like a $5 / $10 or $20 bill would be slapped on my sweaty forehead as they flew by.

The sax player, Larry Greenstein, went on to become a successful radio announcer, changing his name to Larry Green. I listened to him many times on Jazz-FM radio.

Larry Green

After so many years the rest of the guys have all gone their separate ways. We were just young teenagers and the world was yet to unfold to each of our respective journeys.

–oo–

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