2017 marked the 3rd appearance of our club both as stall holders, performers on the podium and in the Parade of the Nations.
The weather turned out great this year and made the overall experience so much better than last year, when we were drenched in showers. Our stall was set up the night before with a gazebo and we had to add the finishing touches to it in the morning. The wonderful volunteers, who offered to bake a variety of Czech baked goodies, arrived between 9-9.30am with their products. The stall crew – Debbie, Klára and many others who came to support us by selling the goods – had the stall looking great and were soon busy selling bábovka, koláče, štrůdl and sourdough bread to name just a few.
Our stage performance was at 11.15am and we started getting ready for it just after 10.30am. Getting everyone into our traditional dresses and making sure we all had the right head gear (scarf or head band with flowers) took some effort. Interestingly, in the next few weeks when we were due to return the dresses, some of the children were very reluctant to give them up and take them off! We danced just after a Greek group, who chose to dance on the grass in front of the podium, which was a bit smaller this year, due to the building activity in Historic Village. Our group was bigger in number than the Greeks, but our choreography was not as complicated so we decided to stay on stage. Also, there were some mud puddles there and we were keen to avoid those. There were 18 children, parents and teachers on the stage, performing our dances in traditional dresses. The youngest performer was Amálka (not even 3 years old), who goes to Krtečci. Krtečci are children in one of our playgroups (ages 3-6) and there were also Lukáš (4) and Zdenda (4) performing with adults leading them. The school children (9 of them on stage) are now seasoned performers and did really great with their mazurka and polka dances. We came on the stage to the sounds of Všechny myši za sebou, made a circle and danced to Pásla ovečky song, our favourite dance. Then we separated into couples for our mazurka dance to the children’s song “Měla babka čtyři jabka”. Still in pairs we danced polka to Holka modrooká and then retreated to the back of the stage, as our two adult dancers Linda and Michal danced another polka. They put so much enthusiasm and skills into their performance that it got the audience clapping and cheering. When they finished, they made a gate – Zlatá brána and we all went through it and off the stage. I think that all the children and adults on stage did a terrific job representing our School, Club and most of all our Czech and Slovak heritage.
We also took part in the Parade of the Nations, which took place shortly after we completed our performance at 11.45. We proudly carried our national flags around Historic Village and came back on the stage with all the other groups who took part in Multicultural Festival this year.
Klara (our school teacher) was in charge of the rehearsals and performance. We only had 3 weeks to practice our dances this year as the festival took place a few weeks earlier than last year.
Debbie very kindly took over the fundraising part and organised our stall. We had a great choice of sweet baked goods ranging from bábovka to proper makové and tvarohové koláče and also sourdough bread! It all looked absolutely terrific, and not many people could walk by without making a purchase: a professional baker would be jealous.
Klára Luxford Rulíšek, Debbie Moore, Monika Hahn, Jana Benfell, Kamila Lyons, Lenka Hejduková, Petr Faitl, Kamila Gifkins, Linda Foukalová, Dana Dunford in no particular order all deserve a big thank you for helping out on the stall, baking, organising the dances and so on. Also all the parents and children deserve recognition for giving up their Saturday morning and joining us on stage or as spectators! I think that everyone had a great time and we all look forward to the next year’s festival!