BATON ROUGE INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS
It is time for another end of year newsletter. Has been a busy fall and now it is time to get on with winter. The strange weather has finally given way to more normal cool days and nights typical of this time of year. Fortunately visits by the ladies Isidore and Lili, one tropical and one a real hurricane, did not cause too much damage in the Baton Rouge area but they did raise the anxiety level and leave a lot of wet weather. Combined with other storm systems and early cold fronts, we have certainly had our share of water, which put the final nails in the coffin of any lingering drought!
The annual and famous Labor Day fish fry got off without a hitch save a little rain as mentioned previously. But despite the weather, a good crowd came and we had some opportunity to stroll through Bruce and Anita's deck and water garden. The live fish were doing just fine. Inside though, camaraderie and cooked fish, food and drink were found in abundance. Like the energizer bunny this event just keeps on going and going.
September folk dancing got off with a bang and we had some nights with over 15 energetic dancers and one night of 20 or so! Let's keep it up everyone. Last Friday party nights have always had a good crowd and some good food as always. The pattern has held for October and November.
As typical of the year, BRIFD dancers have participated in a variety of activities. First on the list was a try by the Dixie Landing amusement park to put on an Oktoberfest on a hot, humid 28th of September. But it was poorly planned and few people came but that did not stop, Jim, Idabelle, Dugan, Janetta and Sue Webre from showing up anyway and doing some dancing. At least the bands played some good German and Austrian music and we did Marklander to a different melody. Later that night, the same BRIFD group attended a Barn Dance put on by Travis Hopson and his group. It lived up to its billing as an old fashion 19th century Barnraising and campdance-country hoedown. We had a time of it doing reels, waltzes, contras, circles and squares.
Next on the agenda was the St. James Place Oktoberfest performance. It was held on Wednesday, October 3rd this year and despite the threat of the second of our two fall storms 14 BRIFD dancers turned out! We had a great time doing all our favorite and basic Oktoberfest dances. Not sure which was the hit of the night but the twisting of Zillertaler and the long line for D'Hammersclmiedsg'selln seem to get an audience response. Some good German food afterward capped off a pleasant evening.
Another memorable Hungarian Harvest Dance Celebration followed the St. James Octoberfest on October 5. This year we performed another suite of Andor's chorographies and then danced with Hungarian community dancers for a rendition of Somogyi Karikazo, Gensci Verbunk and Kevi Csardas as in past years.
The Hungarian folk band, Elefta lead by Ildiko Magyar again this year provided live music entertainment. Elefta is so good that they provided live music for one of our new choreographies as well as for the entire Hungarian harvest dance performance. All in all we had another total immersion in Hungarian culture in addition to dancing and sharing good times with old friends. And not to be forgotten is all that good Hungarian food.
We rounded out Oktoberfest this year with the return of the Stratton Mountain Boys to the Ponchatoula Oktoberfest. Also performing this year was a new band for Ponchatoula, the Texas Sauerkrauts band. Both bands played excellent dance music and excited the crowd with a variety of entertainment antics. There were alphorns, cowbells, imitation milk cows and the mountain boys had one of my favorites the "wooden ladder xylophone! And of course there was plenty of good bratwurst, weinerschnitzel and Warsteiner Beer to go along with all the polkas and waltzes. On a sad note, this years Roberts Cove Germanfest was cancelled due to the serious impact of Hurricane Lili whose eye passed right over the festival grounds. But the organizers vow they will be back bigger than ever next year. We will all be looking forward to their return! And also of note, Jim and Idabelle attended the Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas, which is one of the granddaddies of all Oktoberfests.
Some BRIFD dancers attended the Crescent City International Folk Dancers Halloween party on October 31st in New Orleans. Highlight of the party was a performance by the Bulgarian band Kolevi. They were excellent with their traditional Bulgarian instruments and beautiful singers. We purchased some of their CDs to keep the memories. It was a nice touch to have the lead singer lead the party in the singing (in Bulgarian) and dancing of our traditional last dance, Makedonsko Devojce.
Karpaty is back rehearsing again. Vonnie Brown our "chief" choreographer is busy trying to figure out what to do for the San Antonio Festival, which returns for the 44th time on March 7,8 and 9 next year. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be a surprise and a challenge so stay tuned.
The schedule for the rest of the year is as follows:
Friday, November 22 is party night for the month.
There will be no dancing on November 29 for Thanksgiving.
Dancing will resume on Friday, December 6, which will be Vonnie Brown's end of semester folk and ballroom dance party. As in the past, BRIFD dancers are invited and as always will have a time of it with all those college kids!
Our last regular folk dance night of the year will be on lucky Friday, December 13. And there will be no Friday night dancing on December 20th and 27th and January 3rd for the Christmas and New Years Holidays.
Dancing will resume for the New Year on Friday, January 10th.
And finally, the good news as always, we round out another successful folk dance year with our annual Christmas party at Anita and Bruce Evans', 1674 Glenmore, on Saturday, December 14th. Plan to be there and bring those traditional potluck goodies, drinks and gag gifts. The party will start at 6PM so be there and be sure and bring some Christmas cheer and fond memories of the year just past.
Before closing this newsletter, I would like to remind everyone that BRIFD now has a website thanks to Bill LeBlanc. Bill has set us up with a top quality website complete with music and links for our events, newsletters and archives. Check it out at: www.brifd.homestead.com/index.html. If you missed a newsletter just dial up the website and check it out. You can send any information that would be appropriate to Bill for posting. Bill says it is there for us to use! Thanks Bill!
See you all in 2003 so have the traditional happy Christmas and merry New Year.