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Out & About in Cleveland

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Concert at St. Mary's Crystal Chalet

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On Saturday evening, May 13th, we went took the suggestion of our friend Mr. Tom Ivanec, the founder of the "Lucina Slovak Folklore Ensemble", and attended a concert featuring Mr. Maros Bango, the famed Slovakian singer, which was held at St. Mary's Crystal Chalet on Biddulph Avenue in Cleveland. The affair was sponsored by such organizations as the "First Catholic Slovak Union" and "Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities" of which we are members of both.

We shared a table with Mr. Ivanec and his family which included his wife, Terri, and his daughter, Anna, who was there with her husband Tom. Let us also say that we were very grateful to Mr. John Dzurec, a young man who used to dance with "Lucina", for helping us with our iPhone when we couldn't get it to work.

As for the concert itself, Mr. Bango (who has been blind since birth) was accompanied by his lovely wife, Alexandra aka Saska (who is also blind) who often performs with him as she did that evening in a couple of numbers. Since his conversational English is limited, Mr. Bango was introduced by their good friend Deacon Milan Popik from Toronto who told us all about Mr. and Mrs. Bango, a truly talented couple who are devoted to each other, between songs. What was especially poignant was the story of their daughter who sadly passed away at age 17 due to an illness.

Mr. Bango's concert was an excellent collection of classical, pop, and folk songs sung in several languages. According to Deacon Popik, he sings in 16 languages in all including all of the Slavic ones. To be sure, Mr. Bango sang several songs in English included " Thank You for the Music", "Strangers in the Night", "My Way", and "Release Me".

He wrapped up the evening by singing a tribute to mothers for Mother's Day which took place the next day on Sunday. Mr. Bango dedicated this song to his wife because she made him see what it is like to be a father. While he sang, beautiful red roses were given to all of the women in the audience who were mothers.

As the concert concluded, Mrs. Bango said that she felt a lot of energy coming from the audience and we recalled what was said earlier in the evening by Father Marek Visnovsky (St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church) and Father Michael Brunovsky (St. Andrews Abbey).

Father Visnovsky complimented Mr. Bango for being "childlike" meaning that he loved what he did and celebrated life one day at a time which is something we should all aspire to be and do while Father Brunovsky said that he believed music is a language that "speaks to the heart" and that we should be thankful to God for the gift of music because through it we feel God's continued presence in our lives.

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC