ONE FOR ALL: As one of the original founders of Yom Sport, David Shumsky (inset) of Newton has watched in amazement and delight as the sports day for adults with disabilities has grown, drawing athletes and volunteers from throughout the western suburbs.
Open to all faiths, Yom Sport was founded 19 years ago by the agencies of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. At that time, according to Shumsky, the half-dozen original members of the Yom Sport executive committee had to call group homes to recruit participants, which numbered around 30.
Word of mouth quickly spread, however, and now the event typically attracts 165 athletes plus 115 volunteers who help with parking and registration, assist individual athletes, hand out water, and act as team and event leaders. The nine stations consist of a relay race, hockey shoot, golf putt, football toss, soccer accuracy kick, race-walk, standing broad jump, softball throw, and team photo.
Shumsky, who helps coordinate the massive lunch operation, said he is “humbled” by the many connections that are formed and reestablished each year.
“It’s something I really look forward to, and am proud to be part of,” Shumsky said, noting that few such recreational opportunities are available for adults with physical and mental challenges. “It’s a great thing for everyone.”
This year’s Yom Sport will take place at 11 a.m. next Sunday (with a rain date of June 29) at Solomon Schechter Day School, 125 Wells Ave. in Newton. The registration fee is $5. For more information, call Jan Klein at 617-558-6548 or visit www.yomsport.org.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Jesse Cohen of Westborough grew up listening to his father at the piano, so it seemed natural when he began playing at age 9. Three years later, he found a 1960s electronic guitar in his grandmother’s attic and added that instrument to his repertoire.
“It was the early ’90s, and I wanted to be Kurt Cobain,” he said of the late Nirvana frontman. “From that age on, music was all I wanted to do.”
Cohen, who graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2004, now gives piano and guitar lessons while teaching music at Summit Montessori School in Framingham. He is also a member of the rock band Analog Heart, which is featured on “Dorm Sessions 9,” a new compilation by Berklee’s student-run label, Heavy Rotation Records.
The band’s two tracks, “Elephant Song” and “Backlight,” are from Analog Heart’s self-titled debut EP released in 2012. The other selections are a mix of rock, blues, folk, Americana, pop, rumba, reggae, indie rock, and electronica by Berklee students and alumni.
Cohen, who plays guitar and writes songs for Analog Heart, said the band is proof that “true rock music is not dead.” The other members are Liz Bills of Boston, the band’s lead singer and keyboardist and who also writes songs, and drummer Austin Ferrante of Littleton.
“I feel like we have the ability to be mainstream,” he said, “but still kick-ass.”
To stream or download free tracks from the compilation, visit www.berkleecollegeofmusic.bandcamp.com. Catch Analog Heart live on Thursday at 9 p.m. at Splash Liquid Lounge in Salisbury.
NOW YOU SEE HIM: Ken Wax of Needham first experienced the universal power of magic when he traveled through Europe after college, dazzling children and their parents alike with sleight-of-hand tricks that overcame any language barrier.
Forty years later, he is still up to his old tricks.
Wax, a member of the Order of Merlin of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, performs locally and has taught magic through continuing education departments, schools, and summer camps in Brookline, Needham, and Newton. In his technology sales job, he opens presentations with a magic trick guaranteed to get the audience’s attention.
On Wednesday, Wax will entertain studio and television audiences as the guest magician on “Gil Stubbs’ World of Magic” from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St. Admission is free, and afterward the show will air on the town’s local-access television system.
In his show, Wax will teach two tricks, one in which rubber bands around his first two fingers “jump” to the last two fingers, and another that he said is “hard to explain, but very magical.” He emphasizes that manual dexterity is not required to be a successful magician, only knowledge, practice, and having fun with the presentation.
“Everyone starts small,” he said, “but you still get a big reaction.”
For a seat in the studio audience, call 781-235-4172.
ON PITCH FOR A CURE: Larry Kramer of Medfield grew up in a musical family, but it was only at age 45 that he checked an item off his bucket list when he and two neighbors recruited a drummer and formed a rock ’n’ roll cover band six years ago.
The members of Route 109, named for the main thoroughfare through Medfield, performed locally before selecting fund-raisers for which they would volunteer their musical talents. Kramer, the lead singer, was touched when his bandmates nominated the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, in honor of his daughters.
Kramer and his wife, Erica, got involved with the foundation a decade ago when their oldest daughter, Alix, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at just 9 years old. Their youngest daughter, Sonia, was also 9 when she was diagnosed with colitis six years ago. Middle daughter Kyra, now 17, is lactose- and gluten-intolerant.
Kramer cofounded a second rock cover band, Enabler, four years ago, and the two groups have volunteered for more than a dozen charity concerts. Most recently, they co-headlined the Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis Walk — for which Kramer is a committee member — on June 7 on Boston Common.
He is hopeful such fund-raisers will lead to a cure in his daughters’ lifetimes, and is proud to be part of the effort.
“We’re just middle-aged suburban dads who all have day jobs,” said Kramer, a financial consultant for nonprofits. “We enjoy the win-win of making music and entertaining as a hobby while helping out some great causes.”
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI: Brookline natives Rabbi Ilana Garber, class of ’91, and Dr. Mitchell Schwaber, class of ’78, have been selected as the recipients of the Solomon Schechter Day School’s inaugural Arnold Zar-Kessler Outstanding Alumni Award. The award was created this year in honor of the departing head of school’s 21 years of leadership.
Garber was selected for her leadership at Beth El Temple of West Hartford, Conn.
Schwaber is director of the National Center for Infection Control in the Israel Ministry of Health.
The awards will be presented on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill.