Tamburitzans making return to area

NEW MANCHESTER – The Duquesne University Tamburitzans, reputed to have the longest continually running live show in the country, are returning to the Tri-State Area Nov. 10 after a long hiatus.

The Tamburitzans, composed mostly of Duquesne University students with Eastern European backgrounds, will perform at the Oak Glen High School Little Theater at 7 p.m. Nov. 10. The concert is sponsored by the Oak Glen Middle School Culture Club.

“They have a very loyal following. … It’s a very entertaining show,” said Matt Cashdollar, Culture Club adviser and OGMS guidance counselor.

Cashdollar brought the Tamburitzans to Westgate Middle School in East Liverpool in the mid-1990s, when he was adviser to that school’s Culture Club. As with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which played in the area in 1998 and again in April, Cashdollar thought it was time for a return visit by the Tamburitzans.

“It meant a lot to the people of that cultural heritage who attended. … They drove for miles to be there to see them,” Cashdollar said.

Now in their 77th year, the Tamburitzans are known for colorful, high-spirited shows that feature 65 musical instruments and dozens of costume changes. The 33-member acoustic ensemble, led by longtime managing director Paul G. Stafura, performs instrumental and vocal music that has its origins in the diverse cultures of Eastern Europe.

Members are Duquesne University students from across the United States and countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia. Most of them have come through the ranks of “junior” tamburitzans and other ethnic performing groups in their own communities, or have been students of the performing arts since early childhood, Cashdollar said.

Usually during their senior year of high school, applicants audition for a spot in the ensemble. Those who make the grade ship off with the veteran performers for an intensive, three-week production camp in July at Washington & Jefferson College, Cashdollar said.

Ensemble members receive scholarship aid and may study in any discipline offered at the Pittsburgh university. Concurrently, throughout and beyond Duquesne’s academic year, they travel by charter in the Midwest and Eastern United States, performing on weekends and semester breaks, Cashdollar said.

The performance at Oak Glen will include small and large music and dance ensembles, as well as solo, duet and full choral presentations.

Cashdollar is hoping for a turnout like the one for the Glen Miller Orchestra show in April. “I thought it was neat … because of the mix of generations in the audience. It was nice seeing four generations enjoying the same thing,” he said.

Advance tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students/senior citizens and can be purchased at Oak Glen Middle School during weekday school hours, or by mailing a check to: Oak Glen Middle School Culture Club, 39 Golden Bear Drive, New Cumberland, WV 26047. Checks should be made payable to: OGMS Culture Club.

All tickets at the door will be $24. For more information, call Cashdollar at 304-374-7474.

(Huba can be contacted at shuba@reviewonline.com)