BATON ROUGE INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS
Well we are just about done with 2007. I would swear as maybe you would that it just started a few days ago! But alas it will soon be history and we will have to welcome 2008 to take over for us. As they say “ready or not here we come”. 2007 has been memorable year for some of the things that did happen and for some things that did not happen. We will forever remember 2007 as the year we lost Ann Lynn and Chick Colvin and though they are no longer with us in person their memories always will be. And 2007 was also the year we saw threatening health problems with other BRIFD dancers including Rey Del Castillo and Anita and Bruce Evans. But everyone gathered around them and we are pleased to see their recovery is underway. And you might ask what did not happen? That of course would be that the hurricane season was largely a welcomed non event again this year that gave us all a sigh of needed relief. In fact the fall fishing season on the coast has been a good one and there are already stocks of fillets in the freezer ready for another fish fry. And also on the garden front, the first round of broccoli and cauliflower are about harvest size and the last of the summer bell peppers and basil are in the hydrator pan instead of dead on the vine from last nights freeze. We will officially welcome winter on December 22 this year so bring it on. It is now beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas.
The fall this year got off to a good start with our annual Fish Fry on Sunday September 9. We opted for Sunday this year to avoid the traffic from the season opening LSU Tiger football game on Saturday. This by the way resulted in a victory over Virginia Tech and set the season off to a good start. Also we had a gracious new host this year as Jo and Ed Zganjar offered their comfortable back yard under spacious oak trees. We still owe a lot to Anita and Bruce Evans who have hosted many wonderful fish frys over the years for setting the standard for such events. Following standard operating procedures, we were able to put on another memorable BRIFD fish fry. Bruce was able to attend and contributed to the fry with some tuna from the Gulf that were broiled to rave perfection. The other fare included fried speckled trout and redfish with a few bream mixed in. The variety of pot luck food continues to impress everyone who comes to the fall fish fry and this year was no exception. The Zganjar’s backyard tree house was a source of added entertainment and many young at heart individuals were able to navigate the winding staircase to the top for a good view of the going ons. The fish fry was as usual a good kick start to the beginning of the fall folk dance season which began on the Friday before.
This year’s Oktoberfest activities were toned down somewhat due to scheduling conflicts and other things but Idabelle and Jim Burke did help keep up some of the BRIFD tradition by attending the Roberts Cove Oktoberfest celebration on October 6. This seasonal celebration has been one of our favorites and was so again this year. The traditional Gonzales Oktoberfest was also held again this year at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center but no BRIFD dancers were able to attend although some tried! From the advertising though it was another fun time for those that did attend with a new band and some old favorites as well as all that good German beer and food. And so we will have to concentrate on Oktoberfest a little harder next year!
Our BRIFD party nights have been lively this fall with good attendance and heavy dancing. The party breaks, besides providing some extra good ethnic and traditional snacks and drinks, provide a unique avenue to keep up with BRIFD members’ comings and goings. There was much news shared and laughter displayed. The dancing at party nights has been a treat and a good time to catch up on some of the more infrequently requested dances. On some special occasions, live music has been heard much to the delight of the dancers. On one night Steve and Donna Bing brought their fiddle and guitar and Will Dawes was in town visiting mother Janetta Kriel and by lucky chance he also brought his fiddle. The result was a very spirited version of La Bastringue danced by almost 10 couples. The sound of Steve and Will’s fiddles blended with Donna’s guitar made for pure sweetness and the dancers responded in kind! Will also gave the dancers a further treat by playing a fiddle version of the Hungarian circle dance Olahos.
BRIFD member and musician Steve Bing continues to tutor BRIFD member Demitra Tsoukatos on the fiddle. Demitra tells us she is learning hard and fast and we hope to hear from her one day on the dance floor! Also Steve tells us he and Donna are hosting an ethnic musical jam session in Eunice on one Sunday each month that sounds like something we might want to attend sometime.
Our final activity for 2007 was the annual BRIFD Christmas Party and once again we held the traditional fun event at Roman’s Greek-Lebanese Café. We picked a quiet Sunday December evening so we could mostly have the Café to ourselves. We were afforded a nice long table in the back of the Café and had ourselves a jolly good time as always. Sixteen BRIFD dancers and guests attended and participated in another fun time with the traditional gift exchange. Attending her first Christmas Party this year was new BRIFD member Tsveta Spassova from Bulgaria. Tsveta is working on the LSU campus for the Law School and we have enjoyed her company and especially her willingness to translate some of the words in our favorite Bulgarian dances. The ethnic food at Roman’s always adds to our ambience for the party and this year we ordered off the menu so there was a variety of pleasurable sights and smells including hommous, baba ganouge, Grecian sauce, stuffed grape leaves, shawarma, shish kabobs, lamb, lentil soup, falafels, gyros and spinach pie among others. The hit of the gift exchange this year was a cozy Snoopy-like hound dog who howled Christmas carols to the interest of the listeners.
It traded hands at least five times and fittingly the last number was drawn by Tsveta and she took hound dog for the last exchange. Word is she would like to take it home to Bulgaria but was unsure how it would fare at the security table! Attending this year’s party was the Irving clan of Steve, Mary, Jacob and Sam who always hold down one end of the table and add to the lively conversations. Also in attendance was the Hungarian mother, daughter combination of Carolyn Lee and Alice Hamilton. And we were pleased to welcome Tom Webre who came with wife Susan of course
And so goodbye to 2007, have a family filled Christmas and New Years and we plan on seeing everyone bright and early in 2008.
We will begin dancing again on Friday, January 11, 2008 at our favorite dance floor in the Huey P. Long Field House. So let’s all be there and see that 2008 starts out on good feet. Thanks to everyone who has made 2007 a fun year for folk dancing and let’s make 2008 even better. And be sure and keep up with BRIFD on our website, www.brifd.homestead.com . Webservant Bill LeBlanc continues to keep us in cyberspace and connected to the wired world. He always accepts folk dance stories and information for the site so let him know if you have anything of interest.(emphasis added by Bill) Be sure and have your sound turned up when you log in and listen to the music!