CFU TAMBURITZA FESTIVAL IN NEW JERSEY
By Katarina Tepesh
New York, November 6, 2005 – The Croatian Fraternal Union CFU www.croatianfraternalunion.org organized XIX TamFest 2005 in East Rutherford, New Jersey over the weekend of November 4 – 6, featuring 26 tamburitza groups from across the United States and Canada.
Speaking from the podium at the Sheraton Hotel, Meadowlands Center, CFU National President Bernard M. Luketich said, “Just a short drive from this very spot is one of the most revered national landmarks respected by all Americans as the port of entry for millions of immigrants to American soil. Thousands of Croatian immigrants arrived in America through Ellis Island at the turn of the century, ready to embark upon a new adventure and to seek new opportunities. For many, this entry through Ellis Island represented a promise for the future and gave them hope for a better life in this great new land.
Celebrating our Croatian musical heritage and, in our own way, celebrating the arrival of immigrants, we join together for the weekend of tamburitza music and kolo dance.”
It was fun listening to tamburica music, Croatian language, and seeing some of the colorful customs and traditions on and off the stage.
Adding to the friendly atmosphere was Pam Lacko Kelley and Melissa Pintar Obenauf selling “Heart of Croatia Gifts” www.croatiagifts.com or toll free 1-877-906-8314. They are also co-founders and co-directors of Zivili Dance Company. Traveling all the way from Granville, Ohio, Pam and Melissa sell high quality gifts that represent Croatian culture and traditions at its best.
Anna Stajrer from Stoney Creek, Canada was also there selling a wide variety of our beloved Croatian music firstname.lastname@example.org . Baby clothes, jewelry, t-shirts and different shapes of glassware, as well as numerous items in Croatian colors were available.
Performing were the following 26 talented groups:
Ansambl Sveti Nikola from Ambridge, Pennsylvania with director Frank Bedekovich and 23 musicians;
Zelena Polja from Cleveland, Ohio with musical directors Dan Coleff and Bob Kushner, choreographer Deborah Jennings along with 17 tamburasi; Hrvatsko Srce from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with musical directors Danny Boich and Joey Vlasic along with 33 tamburasi; Croatian Roots from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada with choreographer Marica Macan and 14 tamburasi;
St. George Ensemble from Cokeburg, Pennsylvania with directors Marlene Luketich-Kochis, Dan Kochis and Bernadette Luketich-Sikaras along with 26 tamburasi; Ziva Grana Hrvatske from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with director Michael Loncarich and 21 tamburasi; American-Croatian Waukegan from Waukegan, Illinois with director Julie Hughes and 15 tamburasi; Penn Sembles from Versailles, Pennsylvania with director Donald Knezovich along with 30 tamburasi; Cro Arte Chorale from Toronto, Ontario, Canada with director Betty Kovacs and 30 tamburasi; Croatian Folklore Ensemble “Nova Nada” from Ferndale, Michigan with artistic director Steve Talan and 20 tamburasi; Lado from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with music director Joe Loncarich and 13 tamburasi; Selo from Columbus, Ohio with administrative director Lillian Badurina, choreographers Tina Gehres and Jim Svagerko, costume design/music director/choral advisor Tina Gehres, Lynda Baker, Susie Petrak along with 24 dancers, singers and musicians; Kumovi from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with director Zeljko Jergan and 34 tamburasi; Zumbercani from Cleveland, Ohio with director Marsha Coleff and 19 tamburasi;
Croatian Cultural Ensemble Kordun from Cleveland, Ohio with director Kate Stepic and 23 tamburasi;
Keystone Adult Tamburitzans from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with director Gemma Filip and 14 tamburasi;
Veseljaci from Farrell, Pennsylvania with director Rose and Fred Husnick along with 24 tamburasi;
Veseli Hrvati Sr. Tamburitzans from Welland, Ontario, Canada with music director Randy Zdelar and assistant Randy Benko along with 13 tamburasi; Tamburaski Zbor Svete Marije from Rankin, Pennsylvania with director Kara Turkovich along with 24 tamburasi; Sveti Juraj from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with director Robert Pericak, choreographer Blazenka Bujan with 17 tamburasi; Kraljica Jelena from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada with music director Mark Spisic and artistic director Zeljko Jergan along with 34 tamburasi;
Zlatni Pajdasi from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with musical director Michael Savor along with 12 tamburasi;
St. Lawrence from Steelton, Pennsylvania with director Ivan Hrabric along with 26 tamburasi;
Jabuka from New York City with 12 tamburasi; Hrvatska Bura from Milwaukee, Wisconsin with 14 tamburasi;
Gemist from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania with 23 tamburasi;
Sunday morning mass was celebrated by Rev. Ivica Majstorovic, Pastor from St. Cyril & Methodius Croatian Church from New York. Petar Ljubicic, Consul General from New York, representing the Republic of Croatia, offered greetings to the large crowd.
The attractive CFU program book design was done by a team of illustrators, including famous Ivan Lackovic Croata. In November of 1998 was the first time that CFU Adult Tamburitza Federation Festival took place at the same Sheraton hotel. We are looking forward to their next visit.