Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

(Psalms 66:1-2 )

Choir

BOARD FOR 2013.

President – Jelena Janke,

Vice President – George Drakulich

Secretary – Mara Roksandich,

Treasurer – Helen Hineman

Corresponding Secretary – Kenneth Janke Jr

Financial Secretary – Dorothy Minich,

Librarian – Anka Vidakovich

Assistant Librarian – Mara Roksandich,

Historian – Betty Sainovich

Director – Evelyn Adams,

Assistants – Melanie Chambers & Anka Vidakovich

Auditors – Mara Roksandich and

Kuma – Kata Vidakovich


History of the Dr. Laza Kostich Serbian Singing Society 

The year 1936 was a memorable one for the Dr. Laza Kostich Serbian Singing Society since this was the year the choral group was organized, assuming the name of a great Serbian poet and composer. At a meeting on February 9, 1936 at the Serbian National Home, definite plans were completed and the following officers were elected:

John Gypalo, president, Walter Dragelevich, vice-president; Daisy Sobat, secretary; George Vukelich, treasurer: Ann Meriage, publicity manager; Mrs. Dorothy Vranes, honorary adviser.
Mrs. Vranes merits special comment when history is being recorded. As the founder and organizer of the choir, her untiring efforts, love and dedication were unparalleled. The Serbian community is eternally indebted to her foresight and continued loyalty during her lifetime. Her interest and inspiration was exemplified when each of her five sons have been members at various times in their lives.
Perhaps the most exciting date of all was May 9, 1936, when at the first dance sponsored by the choir; it was admitted to membership in the Serbian Singing Federation by Mr. V. M. Lugonja, Supreme Secretary. Everyone looked forward to the choir’s first public appearance in Akron, Ohio, at the Eastern Choral Festival during Memorial Day weekend in May, 1936. The Dr. Laza Kostich S.S.S. was the youngest choir participating, organized a mere three months earlier. The following years found us at all these festivals. Our first delegates — the S.S.F. Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1936 were Mrs. Dorothy Vranes and Nick Rukavina.
The choir’s inactivity, forced upon us by World War II, ended in December, 1945, when 90 members answered the call to reorganize, selecting George Herak as president.
But the most invigorating moments were yet to come. In January, 1947, we had welcomed our new pastor, Rev. Milorad Dobrota, and through his efforts and zeal, we were introduced to the observance and the celebration of our New Year Holiday. This became an annual event. Caroling in all the Serbian homes during Christmas of 1947 was on the agenda. Father Dobrota also encouraged the adoption of a Patron Saint’s Day (Krsna Slava).
Presentation of our Lord (Sretenje Gospodnje), which is celebrated annually on February 15. Selected as Kumovi for the choir were Mr. & Mrs. Nick Relic and Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Kragulac. Since the passing of Mr. and Mrs. Relic and Mr. and Mrs. Kragulac, Kata Vidakovich has been the Kuma of the choir. Since June 19,1949, the day of the consecration of our church, singing responses in our beautiful Lazarica each Sunday morning has become an uplifting experience for all of us.
The roster of our journeys in America and Canada reveals countless concerts, broadcasts and television appearances on various stations. A part of our repertoire was also a record which included both religious and secular music. During the past years the choir has contributed much to the religious and cultural life of our Serbian community. This is a result of many hours of hard work. Through the international language of; the choir introduced the best that is in us to the American people. The choir is a source of inspirational of love toward everything that is Serbian and traditional. In its vast activities, the choir has brought to the fore is re- artistic achievements in the field of contemporary Serbian Orthodox Church and folk music. The choir was, and is, the most valuable treasure of Serbian Heritage and “school of art” through which more than 200 Serbian young people of this community have passed.
The Dr. Laza Kostich S.S.S. has continued to serve our St. George Congregation by singing responses at Divine Liturgies on Sundays and holidays; also for Pomens, Parastoses, Vespers, funerals and weddings. We continue to have our annual concerts, with guest choirs from near and far. Participation at the Serbian Singing Society’s Festivals is a tradition.
Presently we have 25 members and rehearse on Tuesday evenings at the Serbian American Club. Currently Mrs. Evie Adams is our directress.

Directing in church on:

Sundays Liturgies: Evie Adams and Melanie Szurley.

Weekday Holidays: Mara Roksandich.

Pomens & Parastos’: Anka Vidakovich.

Of the three Charter Members of the choir, Daisy Sobat is the only remaining Charter Member. In recent years, two of our Charter Members, namely, Mildred Drakulich and Ann Meriage who were great assets to the choir, have passed away. May their memories be eternal.

DR. LAZA KOSTIC

As part of the Serbian Singing Federation, the Dr. Laza Kostic Choir has proudly maintained and promoted the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of our Serbian forefathers as expressed through the resonant beauty of Serbian liturgical and ethnic music.
Among those forefathers was Dr. Laza Kostic (1841-1910) whose memory was honored in the naming of the Choir by its founders. Born in the Vojvodina, then part of the Austro Hungarian Empire., Kostic received a doctorate in law from the University of Budapest and went on to become one of the most prominent Serbian intellectuals of the nineteenth century. Fluent in eight languages, he was a poet, writer, thinker, aesthetic, critic, journalist and politician.
He played a very active role in Serbian cultural and political life in Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Montenegro before taking up permanent residence in Sombor.
He was among the leaders of Ujedinjena omladina srpska (United Serbian Youth) and was twice elected to serve as a Serbian representative to the Hungarian parliament where he distinguished himself as a staunch advocate of Serbian rights within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While his writings and political activities often placed him at odds with Austro-Hungarian authorities, they endeared him to Serbia’s Prince Milan Obrenovic who invited him to come to Belgrade. While serving as the editor of the Belgrade newspaper Srpska Nezavisnost (Serbian Independence), he was elected the first chairman of the newly formed Serbian Journalism Society in 1882. He also served Serbia with distinction on a number of diplomatic missions.
Not with standing Kostic’s involvement in politics and journalism, he was first and foremost a romantic poet and playwright whose writings, whether poetry or prose, championed the rights of the Serbian people. Kostic was a man of great breadth and depth whose gift for languages and knowledge of literatures led him to translate Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey from Greek into Serbian as well as translations of the writings of various German poets. As a great admirer of William Shakespeare, he also became the first translator of a number of the great English bard’s works into Serbian. Nevertheless, it was his eloquent writings, whose themes included extolling the timeless beauty of Serbian folk music, which won the admiration of his contemporaries and an honored place in Serbian history.

 

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