Gerdan – Kaleidoscope of World Music is a professional music ensemble based in Washington DC metropolitan area. Founded by Ukrainian professional duo Solomia Gorokhivska and Andrei Pidkivka, musicians of Gerdan bring the fire and the edge of melodic ideas and rhythms that capture the listener.
The ensemble is named after Gerdan, a multi-colored, intricately woven beaded necklace from Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine. Like this dazzling and exquisite necklace of different colors and shapes, musicians create original arrangements of traditional Ukrainian folk melodies and rhythms that reflect their passion for blending the old with the new, in a style that is fresh, lively, and beautiful. The exclusive collection of the Ukrainian authentic flutes in combination with other traditional and modern instruments create unforgettable musical experience. Gerdan’s musicians have been acknowledged for their technique and exquisite musical presentations performing an exciting Eastern European music repertoire. They reveal their passion for traditional music in their artistic expression to build cultural bridges in time and distance.
Gerdan is led by 2020 Grammy Award Winner Andrei Pidkivka! Andrei produced the soundtrack for HBO’s miniseries “Chernobyl”.
Jim Vizzini is a self-taught accordion player who has been playing for 10 years. He will perform on his specially engineered accordion that actually sounds like a full orchestra.
Johnstown’s own Bronco Toter will play a mix of Eastern European favorites. Bronco has a long history of performances with the Rhinelanders and has played throughout Pennsylvania.
Jerry Intihar is a polka legend in Johnstown. Bork here to Slovenian-Croatian parents, . Jerry began accordion lessons at age 8 and within 6 months was playing at local school, church and Slovene lodge functions. At age 13 he began playing in a group called the “Slovene Polka Chaps” and at age 15 joined the “Harmony Tunes“, a Polish-style polka band. In 1960 Jerry joined the “Eddie and the Slovenes” band which traveled around the country playing at many ethnic functions. He also formed a trio to play local engagements when not booked with Eddie.
In 1972 Jerry formed his present group, “THE JERRY INTIHAR BAND“, and has been entertaining at clubs, weddings, festivals and picnics throughout the country. Although primary a Slovenian-style group, they are recognized for representing a variety of ethnic music — Slovenian, Croatian, Polish, German, Italian, Slovak and others. Country, popular, oldies and rock selections are also featured at some performances.
Jessica Schulte has been playing the accordion since 2014, having received one from a cousin who repairs broken accordions. She plays accordion every summer with the Johnstown Reed Band where she is featured on the polkas that the band performs.
Meraklije was formed around 10 years ago to bring ethnic music to the Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian communities of Central Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. The band features Daniel “Dado” Okilj on Accordion, Robert Lambrix on Tambura, Chris Lambrix on Bass and Steve Grassa on Bugarija. Special guest Mike Furjanic of Sviraj and Zadnja Stanica will be joining Meraklije for this year’s festival. The word “Meraklije” has no direct English translation, but could be roughly described as “Revelers” or “Merrymakers.” The name captures the band’s musical style as they play songs for the audience to sing, dance and drink the night away.
Gypsy Stringz has been together for 30 years, playing Eastern European music at festivals, concerts, and other venues across the United States.
Jeff Dermes and the Happy Slovenes have been playing traditional European Based Muzik for audiences small and large in his home area of South Central Pennsylvania and beyond at various Music Festivals throughout the Eastern States. Whether playing at the hometown ethnic clubs in Steelton, Pennsylvania including the Saint Aloysius Slovenian Club where he served as the President, at the Saint Lawrence Croatian Club or many others or as the featured band for the various Church Picnics and celebrations Jeff and the Happy Slovenes Band including Jeff and Jeff’s Father “Richie” with their Accordions and accompanied by Gill Miletics on Bass, Mark Dubravec on Drums, and Mark Zimmerman on Guitar and Banjo have the crowd of Adults and Children on their feet and out on the dance floor.
Jerry Grcevich, born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, studied tamburitza (Croatian string music) with his father and uncle, both musical directors and performers. At the age of 21, Grcevich made a pilgrimage to Yugoslavia to study with the famous tamburitza prim player, Janika Balaz, the first of many musical journeys to the homeland of tamburitza. In 1980, he began composing and recording his own musical pieces. Because he mastered all five of the instruments of the tamburitza ensemble – the prim, brac, tamburitza cello, bugarija, and tamburitza bass – he often uses “sound-on-sound” recording techniques, to construct an ensemble featuring only his own playing. As a result of his special musical skills, he is able to capture the characteristic melody, harmony, counterpoint, and rhythm of the tamburitza orchestra.
The Pittsburgh Slovakians have been spreading Slovak Culture in and around the Pittsburgh area since they were founded in 1956 by Roman Niznik. Since Roman’s untimely death in 1977, the Ensemble has been under the direction of Rudy and Sue Ondrejco. Since many parents had been long standing members of the Senior troupe the idea for a Junior ensemble was born. In the winter of 1991, the Junior Pittsburgh Slovakians were officially organized.
The group has performed in Detroit, throughout Ohio, across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida at, picnics, conventions and festivals. They have also traveled to Canada and to Slovakia twice–once in 1989 and again in 1997.
Over the years, the faces have changed, but the great pride in which the songs and dances of our homeland are presented will never change.
Šarena was formed in 1996 by combining the Danica Orchestra and the Trivanovich Sisters Orchestra. We have been entertaining Croatian and Serbian listeners since then, attending TAA Extravaganzas, weddings, graduations, private parties, picnics and festivals.
The three current members of Šarena are Marci Coleff on brać and vocals, Denise Mulec on Bugarija and vocals and Nisi Pozderac on bass and vocals. All three musicians were inducted into the Tamburitza Association of American Hall of Fame in 2016. They received the President’s Award from the TAA in 2013 for their dedication to preserving tamburitza music. Marci Coleff also received the Founder’s Award in 1994.
Jacob Czerak is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. He has played the accordion for fourteen years after learning to play from his late grandfather Geno DeRubis at eight years old. He enjoys playing the accordion because it always puts a smile on peoples’ faces, bringing them joy.
Jacob is a 2023 graduate of Penn State University, where he was Vice President of The Penn State Glee Club, and hopes to pursue a career in aviation.