The New Millenium

As has become custom, June 2001 saw a new group honoured for their contributions to preserving the CNH's reputation as one of the foremost tambura groups in North America. Jason Grbavac and Jennifer Bilić were selected as valedictorians for the occasion. One month later, the senior group participated in the CFU Tambura Festival in Orlando, Florida.

 

In the summer of 2003, the CNH marked its fourth trip to Croatia, performing in Polače, Mahično, Virje and in Đakovo at the annual Đakovacki Vezovi Festival. The tour took them to Biograd Na Moru, Bizovac and Zagreb and many places in between. Stops were also made at Plitvice, Slapovi Krke, Krašic, Nin, Šibenik, and Zadar. Impromptu performances took place in the town square in Krašić, and on the front steps of the Hotel Termia in Bizovac. The most memorable and heartrending stop on the tour was in Vukovar and nearby Ovčara. The profound silence and tears that were shed at the memorial in Ovčara will be a lasting memory of the sacrifices that were made during the conflict, and puts into perspective the importance of cultural preservation. A farewell song by the group, "Dobar večer dobri ljudi…" sung a capella on the final day of the tour in front of the Hotel Dubrovnik will be a lasting memory.

 

While the CNH had already established an email address in the nineties, the year 2004 marked the formal entry into the cyber world with its web address: www.cnhome.ca.

 

In 2005, the Croatian National Home celebrated its 75th anniversary with celebrations commencing with a presentation at City Hall by City Counsellor Bob Bratina. On April 23, a special Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, presided by Rev. Marijan Mihoković, followed by a gala dinner. Bob Bratina served as Master of Ceremonies and with participation by local dignities including MPP Andrea Horwath and MP Tony Valeri. The next day the CNH held its traditional spring concert. Later that year the CNH participated in the annual folklore festival in London and performed as guests of the Croatoan folklore group in Ottawa.

 

Hrvatsko Srce celebrated its 15th anniversary in February 2006 with a concert dinner with guests including the St. George Adult Ensemble of Cokeburg, Pennsylvannia and Živa Grana Hrvatske of Hamilton. Later in April, the CNH honoured its most recent graduates from the CNH folklore group. Past graduate Stephanie Frković served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. In May, the CNH performed at the annual Canadian-Croatian folklore festival, held by Marjan of Brampton.

 

The year 2006 was also a landmark year in the history of the CNH as Joe Lončarich retired from his role as Musical Director of the CNH, a position he held since 1949. Over time Joe had become synonymous with the CNH folklore group as he developed the group into one of North America's finest. His efforts will not be soon forgotten. Michelle Vuksan, a former CNH folklore group member and a talented musician, was selected as instructor of the Senior Group.

 

In 2007 our senior tambura group attended the Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival in Windsor but the highlight of the year was the group's fifth tour of Croatia. Our senior group visited Zagreb, Draganići, Krašić, Vodice, Međugorje, Dubrovnik, Makarska, Šibenik, Krka National Park, Zaton, Osijek, Đakovo, Vukovar and Ilok with performances in Draganići, Zaton and at the Đakovački Vezovi parade in Đakovo. There were many memorable experiences including the tour of Dubrovnik's historic city core, gathering in silent prayer at Apparition Hill in Međugorje, paying tribute to the fallen victims at Ovčara and an impromptu performance at Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb.

 

Our adult group Hrvatsko Srce also performed with our senior group in Draganići and Zaton. This tour marked the adult group's first visit to Croatia. Their tour started in Zagreb and the group proceeded to Draganići, Kamanje, Vukovar, Đakovo, Vodice, Šibenik, Kornati National Park, Perušić, Opatija, Trsat, Pula, and Bosiljevo with additional performances in Perušić and Bosiljevo. In addition to seeing the immense beauty of the country, Hrvatsko Srce had the pleasure of meeting Blaženko Buneta whom the group had sponsored through the Dora Foundation.

 

Later in December, our intermediate group hosted the Festival of Lights Ceremony at St. Peter's Hospital and enthusiastically entertained the seniors of our community with music and song.

 

In May 2008, our senior group embarked on many memorable excursions including Ottawa, in celebration of Croatoan Folklore Ensemble's 30th Anniversary. Later that same month, our senior group performed at the Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival, hosted by Kitchener's Kraljica Jelena. In July, the group attended the annual Croatian Fraternal Union Junior Tamburitza Festival in Philadelphia and finally in September, the group performed in Montreal to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Cardinal Stepinac Folklore Group. A memorable stop was made the St. Joseph's Oratory at Mont Royal where the group prayed the rosary and lit candles for special intentions.

 

In 2009, Hrvatsko Srce hosted "Zimska Fešta" which is celebrated biennially with St. George Adult Tamburitzans of Cokeburg, Živa Grana Hrvatske of Hamilton and Oakville's Zvuci Hrvatske as guests. In May, as is tradition, our senior group performed at the annual Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival in Brampton and at the CFU Junior Tamburitza Festival in Chicago.

 

Since its inception in 1928, the Dom and its members have demonstrated longevity and perseverance in all of its endeavours. There is a fundamental belief that has kept the hall's lights on for 80 years and that is the love of our Croatian culture. Successive generations of youngsters continue to learn about the cultural traditions of their ancestors. Today, the Dom is the leading Canadian-Croatian cultural institution in Canada. Of equal importance is the fact that the Dom is a beloved home-away-from-home for its members. With a vibrant membership, the Croatian National Home looks forward to continuing with its mission for generations to come.

 

 

 

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