Pitt to Sponsor Slovak Festival

Issue Date: 
October 22, 2007

The 17th annual Slovak Heritage Festival—featuring Slovakian song and dance, educational lectures and displays, ethnic foods, and vendors selling Slovakian merchandise—will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Cathedral of Learning.

This year’s free event will include artists and speakers performing in the Cathedral of Learning’s Commons Room, including Josef Ivaska and the Singing Revil’ak Family from the Slovak Republic as well as The Pittsburgh Slovakians, Pittsburgh Area Slovaks, and Ben Sorensen, representing the Western Pennsylvanian Slovakian community.

This year, speakers will present several lectures, titled “Slovak Pittsburgh,” “Learning Slovak on Your Own: Textbooks, Dictionaries Strategies,” “The Foreigner’s Guide to Living in Slovakia,” “Slovak Folk Tales and Slovak Storytelling,” “Slovenska’cesta-Slovak Journey,” and “Music in Slovakia: The Carpatho-Rusyns.”

Sorensen, an American musician who studied the fujura under the guidance of Dusan Holik, who has performed at previous Pitt events, will be singing a selection of songs during the festivities. A member of the Spolok Fujarasov (Fujarist’s Guild), Sorensen is also a member of the Folk Group Vagonar, which has recorded a new album that will be released later this year.

The Singing Revil’ak Family’s repertoire includes Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn folk art songs and international favorites featured in its 20-year performance history on European, Canadian, and U.S. stages. The family—the parents, two daughters, and a son—grew up singing in Bardejov, Slovakia, and has received many national awards.

Ivaska, known in Slovakia as the “Man of a Thousand Songs,” is making his third concert tour of the United States. During the Communist era, Soviet officials forced Ivaska out of the country, banning his music. Currently residing in Austria, he performs operetta, rock, pop, jazz, and folk music internationally and sings tenor with the Metropolitan Operetta Theater in Slovakia.

Pitt’s Slovak Studies Program and the Pitt Students’ Slovak Club are cosponsors of the event. For more information, call 412-624-5906 or e-mail Slavic@pitt.edu.