Performing with Zelena Polja

For years I have been wanting to perform with Zelena Polja, Cleveland’s own adult Croatian performing Tamburitzans. However, I haven’t been able to as the performances are out of town and I was busy working and getting married. This year the festival they were performing at was in Cleveland so I had no excuse. I was in to perform with the people I grew up with. Alumni of both American Zagreb and Cleveland Junior Tamburitzans.

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I swear we started practicing in August but we really only got to practice 6 times at the most. We practiced on Saturday afternoons for about 2 hours. This includes going over vocal music, practicing with the combo (small band on the side of the stage) and learning an entire 10 minute dance to be performed in the Renaissance Ballroom in front of a couple hundred people. No pressure.

The entire group of ladies on the stage
The entire group of ladies on the stage. I’m on the end on the far right.

On performance day, we had practice at 10am. In a super tiny room but we did our best to make it work. Which was good because the stage was much smaller than we were expecting. After an hour practice, we had 2 hours to ourselves to eat lunch before it was time to get our costumes on. We spent our free time getting creeped out by people at Tower City. It is no wonder that place has gone downhill.

Friends for life
Friends for life

I don’t know why but the boys and girls always get dressed in the same room and think nothing of it. We all grew up together so we are all practically family and help each other put our nosnja (costumes) on.

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We also pass the time waiting to go on stage by taking pictures and dancing. Sometimes we start puting costumes on as early as 2pm and don’t go on stage til 5. This usually means no sitting as the costumes are pleated.

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I was completely in love with my costume. It was the choreographers costume that she has had in her collection for years and it fit me perfectly. It’s probably meant for a child but I loved it.

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The performance itself went very well and I loved every minute of it. Our group was HUGE! I was so happy with the turnout of people who wanted to perform this year as well as how many boys performed. It is always hard getting the boys involved, they think they are too cool for tamburitza.

If you want to see a video performance you can see it here.

And since Zelena Polja only performs once a year I think it is time to join Zumbercani who performs year round…. Stay Tuned