A melting pot of cultures, music and dance will soon light up a local Northwest Indiana stage.
Audiences will enjoy a sample of the lively folk arts of Eastern Europe when the Tamburitzans perform at Munster Senior High School March 17.
"Every year we bring a new show to audiences," said Paul G. Stafura, managing director of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. The Tamburitzans, now in their 76th year, offer nonstop entertainment combining music performances and folk dances.
Stafura said the group, comprised of students of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn., got its official start in 1937 with just a handful of musicians. The troupe now features 33 members.
"The Tamburitzans have been growing strong ever since," Stafura said.
While Stafura said the group's main concentration of musical material is centered on the Balkans, including Croatian and Serbian influences, they also present a great deal of other Eastern European cultures on stage.
"In Eastern Europe, you can go across the river, across the road or across the mountains can see a whole new culture, new costumes, new sets of songs and new dances. So, we never run out of resources," Stafura said.
"Our (production) is a variety show, in a sense, because we cover as much of Eastern Europe as we can in a two-hour period."
According to Stafura, fans "accustomed to seeing the Tamburitzans and specifically the Croatian and Serbian segments, "will see new material in those parts of the show this season."
"And this year, since we just finished celebrating our 75th anniversary, we're showcasing a finale piece of Americana," he said, adding they'll do special period music and dances from the '20s and '30s.
"People will see another side of the Tamburitzans," Stafura said.
The Tamburitzans, overall, offer audiences an extravaganza of entertainment, featuring various numbers including Vlach Dances; Pentecostal Queens from Backa; the Samica Medley & Hey! My Dear!; Helenen Polka; Carpathian Mountain Music; Treasures of Solvenia; and much more.
Another feature fans will see on the program, according to Stafura, is a segment starring Siberian Wrestlers, an addition that's particularly fascinating for the children in the crowd.
The music director said the group is always happy to bring its lively art to the area. Munster High School, he said, is a "wonderful facility to perform in."