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KENT Sister City Association celebrates Slovak music and dancing provide entertainment after dinner

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By Margaret Garmon

Record-Courier Correspondent

More than 140 members and guests recently gathered to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Kent Dudince Sister City Association in true Slovak style with dinner, music and dancing.

The Theodore Roosevelt High School ChoralWorks, under the direction of Donna Crews, entertained with two spirituals that they will perform when the choir tours Slovakia this summer. Rudy Bachna, association president, and his brother, Gilbert Bachna, then gave the choir an impromptu lesson in singing a Slovak song for their Slovakia tour, which will include Dudince. Gilbert Bachna is director of National Anthems and Selections for the Slovak Heritage Society of Greater Cleveland.

The Lucina Slovak Folk Ensemble of Cleveland, under the direction of Michael Anderko, gave a first-class performance of Slovak dances in traditional costumes. Accordionist Johnny Pastirik played Slovak and American popular tunes in a delightful performance. Pastirik, architect for the City of Cleveland, is a graduate of the School of Architecture at Kent State University.

The event was held at the Kent Elks Club and began with a social hour and chance to browse through a display of photos, archival documents and authentic Slovak corn husk dolls, provided by Bruce Mueller, association vice president.

Special table centerpieces, made by Lexia Yankovich, recording secretary, were decorated with Slovak and American flags.

Rudy Bachna, association president, welcomed those attending, and acting as master of ceremonies, introduced program participants Kent Mayor John Fender; Lewis Steinbrecher, Kent city manager; Dan Smith, director of the Kent Chamber of Commerce; Anthony Beno, national director of the National Slovak Society; Andrew Hudak Jr., director of the Slovak Institute in Cleveland; and Joseph Hornack of the Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities Organization.

The Kent-Dudince Sister City Association is a way for residents of the two cities to get to know other people better, learn about their governments, history, countries, schools and how to help each other. The association is a tribute to Rudy Bachna for his vision and dedication, Fender said.

Steinbrecher read a greeting in English from the mayor of Dudince, Ing Stefan Pkluda, and then led those assembled in a toast to the partnership and celebration of the one-year anniversary.

The Sister Cities Organization was formed in 1982, and the United States now has eight sister city partnerships with Slovakia. Hornack said,

Bachna said there is a great need for involvement, to keep the Slovak tradition intact and to teach young people about their heritage. One way the association is strengthening the exchange of cultures is by sending books to Dudince. Under the chairmanship of Lexia Yankovich, a second shipment of more than 200 books will be sent to Dudince, with the assistance of the Kent Kiwanis.

Yankovich chaired the banquet committee that included Gil Bachna, Lynn Bachna, Leona Brown, Trudy Crawford, Barbara Golias, Cathy Wronkonich and Roak Zeller.

The Kent-Dudince organization is open to anyone interested in learning more about Slovakia and Slovak culture. For more information on meetings, call Rudy Bachna at (330) 673-3255.

3x Slovak1

A duo from the Lucina Slovak Folk Ensemble of Cleveland performed traditional Slovak folk dances for the Kent-Dudince Sister City Association first anniversary banquet.

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Joining in the celebration of the first anniversary of the Kent-Dudince Sister City Association are, from left, Rudy Bachna, association president; Lexia Yankovich, association recording secretary; Rich Aber, Kent Elks president; Lewis Steinbrecher, Kent City Manager; and Dan Smith, director of the Kent Chamber of Commerce.

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