A recap of The 22nd Annual Slovak Ball
The Slovak-American Cultural Center (S-ACC) or as it is known in Slovak, Slovensko-americké kultúrne stredisko (SAKS), organized its 22nd successful Slovak Ball, a black tie event, for the first time in New Jersey at the Royal Manor in Garfield, NJ. Among the many attendees were distinguished guests of the diplomatic community including H.E. Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States, Peter Kmec and his wife Monika and Consul General of the Slovak Republic in New York Jana Trnovcova. FCSU was represented by Honorary Consul Joseph Senko and Chairman of Friends of Slovakia and his wife Albina, and home staffer Andrew Rajec and Daniel Rajec. Representatives of various Slovak organizations also came to support the efforts of SACC, including Mr and Mrs. John Duch, Chair of the Slovak Heritage Festival, Mr. Holy – former Publisher and editor of Slovak in America, and President of Slovak League and Mrs. Nina Holy – Secretary General of Slovak League in America and Co- Chair of the Slovak Heritage Festival. Father Martin Kertys who is serving to the Slovak community at Sts Cyril and Methodius in Clifton and member of the New York Oratory of St. Philip Neri as well as Marek Marcin, a student at the oratory, also attended the Ball.
The Slovak-American Cultural Center, a non-profit organization started in 1969, has been active in organizing a variety of cultural, artistic, sporty, and scientific oriented events in the NJ, NY, and CT area. The New York City based organization has been pivotal in raising awareness and funding for many causes throughout its long existence. The largest fundraising endeavor is the Ball which sustains the activities of S-ACC as well as provides scholarships to students in Slovakia studying at City University.
The Slovak-American Cultural Center each year honors someone for their achievements in bringing together the Slovak community. This year’s guest of honor was founder of SlovakInfo.com, Oto Racek, who in 2001 along with two other friends founded the organization to promote networking opportunities for Slovak professionals and Slovak students working and living in the tri-state area. The virtual organization connects young professionals to activities in the tri-state area, organizes events and different forums for Slovak young professionals to gain insight into various fields and provides opportunities for networking, developing, and connecting the Slovak professional community.
The evening highlighted a young opera singer of Slovak descent, Andrew Pulver who captivated the audience with his interpretation of Caccini’s “Ave Maria” and Mikulas Schneider-Trnavsky’s “Keby som bol vtackom” performed in Slovak. Andrew Pulver recently made his debut with the Washington National Opera in the Title Role of The Little Prince at the Kennedy Center in December 2014 and in 2013 Andrew made his Metropolitan Opera debut as "real Jake" in the Met's premiere of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys. Over the past two years Andrew has performed in twelve operas. Andrew, a native of New Jersey, studies piano and voice privately and has been performing since the age of three, when he first sang for St. Nicholas at St. John Nepomucene Church in New York City.
Guests at the Slovak Ball were treated to a taste of Dancing with the Stars with two riveting performances by Slovak professional dancer Vanda Polakova and her partner Edgar Ostorio. Vanda, a native of Bratislava, is an accomplished dancer with an extensive list of dance accomplishments including first place winner at Open Professional Rhythm, American Star Ball in Atlantic City, NJ, two time Slovak Republic National Champion in Latin American Dances-Bratislava, Slovak Republic, (Europe,World Representative), (5th Place), World Rhythm Champioship. Her partner Edgar has been participating in many Professional and Pro Am competitions throughout the United States and has gained many National titles since 2000 including finalist in the open American rhythm, the most prestige competition in the United States in 2010, National USDCS, United States Dance Championship titles , U.S. Mambo Championship and the World Salsa Championship held in Miami and Puerto Rico.
In addition to the program, guests danced all night long to the brilliant live music of the talented band, Express led by Marek Soltis. Many genres of music were covered from Slovak folk to Michael Jackson “Thriller”. The evening wouldn’t be complete without the chance to win wonderful Raffle prizes such as a round trip air ticket to Vienna; a weekend stay for two at the luxurious Hotel Elysee donated by HK Hotels; Dinner at the residence of H.E. Frantisek Ruzicka, Permanent Representative to the United Nations; and a variety of autographed memorabilia including hockey sticks and pucks signed by NYR players donated New York Rangers organization. Among other prizes were beauty care baskets courtesy of NovaKera Healthy Skin Care and Blue Horizon Skin Care. The raffle wouldn’t be complete without some Slovak products: wines by Matysak and new to the market, Goral Vodka Master, produced in Stara Lubovna and winner of many international awards.
The Ball’s success is attributed to the many devoted members and volunteers of the Slovak-American Cultural Center that worked tirelessly to make the event possible. The most important note of gratitude goes to each and every person that supported the organization through their attendance at the event. SACC hopes to continue the wonderful tradition of the Slovak Ball--- join us for an amazing evening filled with tradition, culture, and fun at the 23rd Slovak Ball on Saturday, January 30th, 2016!