The Junior Tamburitzans of South Hills was founded in 1979 as a nonprofit organization. While the group is not affiliated directly with the world famous Duquesne University Tamburitzans, several of the group’s past members have been awarded scholarships and are alumni of the renowned group.
Junior Tamburitzan groups are sponsored by the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU). There are about 35 to 45 active Junior Tamburitzan groups throughout North America. The “tamburitza”, from which the group’s name is taken, is a guitar-like instrument originating in Central Europe and dates back in form to the Turkish Empire. Students learn to play traditional tamburitza instruments of the Baltic regions, to sing in various Eastern and Central European languages, and to dance traditional folk dances. The age range is 5 to 18 years old and graduate students are welcome to stay with the group through college.
Dance & Costumes
Folk dances are fun and challenging. The dances that the group performs try to recreate the village festival atmosphere of Central and Eastern European countries. For public performances, colorful costumes are provided that are characteristic of traditional costumes worn for folk dances. The costumes are purchased and owned by the Junior Tamburitzans of South Hills. Parents incur no additional cost for costumes.
Music & Instruments
Every student is required to take musical instruction for a tamburitza instrument. Children learn a variety of songs and music from Central and Eastern Europe. They are expected to practice regularly and participate in performances to the best of their ability. Students also learn to sing songs in various Central and Eastern European languages. Children typically start playing the prim instrument. The prim (pronounced preme), is a small guitar-like instrument with steel strings. Children can quickly master simple songs with the prim, and with practice, become excellent prim players. Children also have opportunities to learn the brac (pronounce broch and is larger than the prim), violin, and bass.
The group performs several times throughout the year for local civic and charitable events. Public performances are fun and exciting for the children, and they are the culmination of much practice and preparation. Performances are means for the group to do fundraising, attract new members, and perpetuate the values of the group. Every spring, the group holds our annual concert. The concert is one of our main fundraisers.
The year culminates with the Junior Tamburitza Festival sponsored by the Croatian Fraternal Union. This family oriented festival is held around the 4th of July. Junior Tamburitzan groups from all over the United and Canada come together for this fabulous festival weekend. During the festival, all of the groups assemble and perform several numbers together. Each group also does a short performance during the concert. The festival includes a tamburitza mass and an impressive finale performance by all of the music directors, choreographers, and assistant directors of the participating ensembles. Members prepare year long for the festival and individual fund raising opportunities are available to offset each family’s travel expense. The Junior Tamburitza Festival has occurred since 1967 and is a great experience for the children.
To contact the Junior Tamburitzans of South Hills:
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