On September 23rd, after we left the vigil in downtown Cleveland, we drove to Independence to find out more about the Tamburitza Association of America’s 2021 Extravaganza, sponsored in part by Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC, that was currently taking place at the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road and would continue through Sunday, September 24th.
From its website, we learned that the Tamburitza Association of America (TAA) exists “to promote the preservation and evolution of tamburitza music and to provide a fun, educational, and entertaining experience to the people of the world.”
When we arrived at the Holiday Inn, we went to its lounge where members had gathered to socialize and listen to the music of “Sarena” an all-female group from Youngstown that was only fitting because, as we learned, during this Extravaganza, the contributions of the “Women of the Tamburitza World” would be recognized.
At this time, we were quite fortunate to meet a terrific guy from Buffalo, New York named Charlie Kristich who plays an instrument called the “brach” with a group named “Adriatic Bracia.”
A longtime member of the TAA, Mr. Kristich once served on its Board of Directors and has attended Extravaganzas in such varied locales as Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Reno, and Phoenix.
He went on to tell us that during the Extravaganza would feature a welcome dance that evening, a Tambura luncheon the next day, a Hall of Fame induction, and continuous concerts and break-out sessions.
Reflecting on his association with the TAA, Mr. Kristich told us that he loves coming to Extravaganzas, usually composed of 400-500 people, because he loves the camaraderie of other Tamburitza enthusiasts and enjoys re-connecting with old friends and making new ones of all ages.
When we told Mr. Kristich that we represented Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC, he smiled and said that he knew Ms. Wong because, in past years, she often accompanied their mutual good friend, Mr. Alex Machaskee, on bus trips to Buffalo for gatherings at the Serbian Club where Tamburitza groups performed, and dinner was served.
Along these lines, and we didn’t know this before, Mr. Kristich told us that Mr. Machaskee was once the president of the TAA and even had his own Tamburitza band.