Slovenian Folklore dancers to perform at festival

This is the second in a series of stories about some of the performers appearing at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival.

The Slovenian Folklore Dancers will perform at this year’s Princeton Traditional Music Festival.

The Festival begins on the evening of Friday, August 17 with the opening ceremony followed by a country-dance on Veterans’ Way beside the Legion.  The dance will feature a live band with fiddle, guitar and concertina.  Everyone is welcome. There will be a caller to teach the dances so no experience is necessary and people don’t even need to bring a partner.  On Saturday and Sunday there will be music from 10 am until 6 p.m., on two stages – one on Veteran’s Square and one in front of the Museum.

Last week’s article mentioned the Festival’s “Princetonograd” theme in honour of the many Eastern European immigrants who settled in Princeton during the 20th century. The Festival has been fortunate over the past several years in featuring our Member of Parliament, Alex Atamanenko, who grew up speaking Russian and who sings songs in that language.  He will be singing at this year’s Festival again and will be joined by much other music from eastern Europe.

Slovenia is a small country in the northeastern corner of the Adriatic Sea between Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. This year’s Festival features two groups of Slovenian performers. You will recognize them in the streets of the town because of their beautiful and colourful costumes. Choir Slovenia from Vancouver is a mixed adult acapella choir that began in 1955 when the first post-war Slovenian immigrants started to organize themselves. They sing an exclusively Slovenian folksong repertoire from different regions of their homeland, together with sacred songs. The choir participates regularly in Slovenian Society functions and church services. They are one of the few Slovenian choirs in western Canada keeping up the singing tradition of their homeland.

The Vancouver Slovenian Society was founded in 1958 and the Slovenian Folklore Dancers began in 1964. The group performs dances from various parts of Slovenia, some very traditional and some choreographed more recently. They are always accompanied by an accordionist playing traditional tunes. Their costumes are of the style worn in Gorenjska, in the Julian Alps. They are active in the B.C. Slovenian community and have danced at festivals, cultural events and cultural and seniors’ centres. The group’s most recent performance tour of Slovenia took place in 2001.

These are just two of the “Princetonograd” performers appearing at this year’s Princeton Traditional Music Festival and the best thing about it is it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard. To find out more visit the Festival’s webblog at princetonfestival.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.