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Out & About in Cleveland

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Tamburitzans Dance Eastern Europe and Niche Entertainment Sings Bollywood

On Sunday April 27th we went to two events that celebrated the music and traditions of two very different cultures. First, we went to Euclid High School for the annual performance of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans which is now in its 78th season which makes it the longest running muliticultural song and dance company in the United States. It's purpose is to perpetuate the varying folk cultures and traditions of Eastern Europe so today we were treated to music and dances from Macedonia, Armenia, Romania, Croatia, and North Russia to name a few.

We saw several of our friends there today like Mr. Bob Jerin from the Croatian Lodge in Eastlake; Mr. Walt Mahovlich from the musical group "Harmonia"; and Ms. Laurel Tombazzi from the Eastern European Congress of Ohio. We also said hello to Judge Ronald Suster who rose to pay a tribute to Ms. Goldie Malone works so hard to organize these events but couldn't make it here today due to a broken leg.

Our ticket was reserved for us by Ms. Helen Relic who is the President of Zumberak Lodge #859 of the Croatian Fraternal Union which arranges for the Tamburitzans to come here each year. As we were going to our seat, we were stopped by Ms. Mary Ann Zubovich, Vice President of the Zumberak Lodge who was acting as emcee for the day in the absence of Ms. Malone. Ms. Zubovich recognized us from back in the days when we worked for Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. We talked for a moment about the history of the Croatian Fraternal Union which was organized back in 1894 as a mutual benefit society for all Croatians. Today it offers a wide variety of insurance plans and is an important force for the preservation of Croatian culture.

Along these lines, when Ms. Zubovich got up to speak she made note that three performers in today's program were from the Ohio area and introduced a young man who will be attending Duquesne University next year. Thus, the tradition continues and we look forward to attending this event again in 2016 and every year thereafter.

Next, we drove over to the Tri-C Metro Campus to attend a fundraiser for Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of the U.S.A. whose mission is the "holistic development of rural and remote tribal villages of India through functional education comprising literacy, basic health and hygiene, economic development, and social empowerment. According to what we were told, there are 52,525 of these small schools operating now. Amazingly, only $365 a year supports one school that teaches 20 children and it was the goal to raise enough money at this event to support 150 schools.

During dinner, we sat next to our old friend Dr. Rita Singh who praised Ms. Margaret W. Wong for all of the things that she has done for the community. Right beside us sat now retired Dr. Mandakini Tamaskar who used to work at a clinic close to Bellaire and 117th Street in Cleveland that is no longer but Dr. Tamaskar remembers that she used to do physicals for people who had green card issues which she would sometimes refer to Margaret W. Wong and Associates.

After dinner, Niche Entertainment put on an entertainment "bonanza" for us titled "Pancham: An Immortal Note" which employed audio visuals along with live dancers and singers to celebrate the career of Mr. Rahul Dev Burman, the iconic Indian composer (perhaps the most renowned of his generation) who wrote and performed classic "Bollywood" songs.

During the show, we sat next two very pleasant people who gladly took our cards when we told them that we worked for Ms. Margaret W. Wong. One of them was named Megan who is married to a man who immigrated to the United States from Cambodia and is now a permanent resident. He may want to become a citizen in the future, however. The other person was named Karin who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1978, got married and had a family, and became a United States citizen in 1990. She would have preferred to have become a dual citizen in 1990 so she could have kept her German citizenship because she believes there is a lot to like about both the United States and Germany. Unfortunately this was not possible at the time although it is now and Karin might want to look into it.

During the break, the spokesman for Niche Entertainment told the audience that their team had visited three different Ekal Vidyalaya schools in different locales and overall the poverty that they saw was "heartwrenching". Indeed, they only encountered the "have nots" but these "have nots" were comparatively happier than many of the "haves" that they had encountered over the years.

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