Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati has played a pivotal role in my own youth and teenage years. I spent 11 years with this group, and now, as a mother I hope that my own young pre-teens and teens will be as fortunate as I was, to enjoy being part of their long and proud Croatian heritage.
As a long time member, and President of Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati since early this year, I have seen how far this group has come in the last 18 months.
Through everything we do, we have tried to recapture traditions that were a part of our youth and share this with the local Croatian community as well as the wider community.
Many years ago Clifton Hill would host huge picnics at Fairfield Park, this year we began our year with a picnic at the very same spot where we once played as children, and now our children were able to experience this. We were overjoyed that around 100 people came to relive, the laughter, music, bocce and joy of those wonderful days and create new memories.
The Footscray Food and Wine Festival allowed our youngest children to perform dances from Prigorje in all their cuteness and our adults gave audiences a sample of our beautiful homeland in a Nošnja Parade, showcasing many regions of Croatia through nošnje associated with those regions. A walk through parade around the main seating area was greeted with astounding applause from audiences.
Our youngsters have also performed at other special events including the opening of the new Strathmore Split clubhouse and most recently at the NSW Croatian Children’s Folkloric Festival.
The highlight of this year would have to be our first Mladi Hrvati Zabava, titled 'Spring Zabava', where all members were able to participate and showcase what they had learnt this year. Our youngest performers brought back memories of games, songs and toys which their grandparents would have played with as children and the audience loved it! Our Middle group has matured so much over the last year and gave a perfect performance of Slavonske dances and songs singing their little hearts out.
The adults had only taken up singing over the last few months and gave the audiences a pleasant surprise of a beautiful welcome song for the evening titled 'Dobar Večer, Dobri Ljudi'. We performed a beautiful collection of Bunjevačke dances and songs by all the adults which had an enormous reaction from the packed out audience. They commented at how wonderfully planned and decorated the evening was and how they hadn’t seen such a vesela (happy) zabava for a long time. We were proud to perform and to give back a little of our appreciation, gratitude and love for our long time supporters, especially our original teachers Gospodin Aleksa and Gospođa Gizela Kechenovich.
Mladi Hrvati also welcomed and hosted the very talented group 'Klapa Samoana' from New Zealand to perform at Dalmatino restaurant for a 'Klapska Večer' An impressive and hugely successful evening, this performance cemented the connection between Mladi Hrvati and Klapa Samoana and we look forward to their upcoming tour in 2016.
The year is almost at its end and considering that the current committee has only been active since late March, the time has been jam packed and very busy. It takes an extremely dedicated team to put everything together and we have been fortunate to have such a hard working and enthusiastic committee. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their time, commitment and energy in making Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati a group where we take pride in our heritage and are always willing to go the extra mile. Thank you also to the parents who make an effort every week to bring their children to proba (dance practice) and the many events we’ve performed at.
Puno Vam Hvala!
“Na Mladima Svijet Ostaje”
Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati