UWM Slovenian Arts Program News

_____________________Newsletter of the UWM Slovenian Arts Council_____________________

Fall Edition                                                                                                                           September 2008


Jeff Pecon’s Orchestra performed in Milwaukee...


It all began with the UWM Slovenian Arts Council member, Tony Gorenc, musician contacting fellow musician Jeff Pecon to share the Council’s desire to invite him and his Orchestra to perform in Milwaukee this year.   Thank you Tony for your persistence and superb organization skills in enabling this successful event.


The Milwaukee Slovene cordial hospitality began on Saturday, April 12th when Council member, Denise Bartlett treated the Pecon Orchestra and their guests as well as Council members and their guest to a delicious Buffet Luncheon at the Potowatomi Casino in Milwaukee.   Thank you very much Denise for your very generous donation.   A Dinner time a few hours later the Council treated the Pecon Orchestra and their guests to a delectable meal at the Alpine Village in their Rathskeller.    A jam session followed filled with Slovene melodic tunes and folk singing.   A fun and memorable time was had by all who attended.


The next day, Sunday, April 13 at 2:00 P.M. the UWM Slovenian Arts Council proudly sponsored the Jeff Pecon Orchestra performance at the American Serb Hall, 5101 West Oklahoma Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   They provided a cultural program including traditional, harmonious Slovenian melodies and also a monologue highlighting the substantial contribution the Pecon family imparted to the Slovenian American Culture.   Johnny Pecon, Jeff’s father was one of the originators of the Cleveland/Slovenian style Polka music sound, and his son, Jeff proceeded from his father’s style to advance and create his own unique Slovenian American style of music.  


The audience was thrilled with the contagiously energetic Slovenian style music as evidenced by their courteous listening, spirited dancing and singing along with the Orchestra.   It truly seemed everyone leaving the building went home smiling and humming.  

The Pecon group thanked us for the wonderful time they had in Milwaukee.   They felt our kindness and love of music is what makes Slovenian music continue to touch many hearts.   They said they met many wonderful people that weekend and that you can truly feel the love from everyone associated with their visit to Milwaukee.   They felt the UWM Slovenian Arts Council went out of its way for them and they thank everyone for the chance and opportunity to be a part of the UWM Slovenian Arts Program family for that weekend.  


The Council extends its most sincere appreciation to Jeff and Tessa Martinka and Jan and Tom Gehm who donated money to help defray the costs of the event.





The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Slovenian Arts Program presented Father Joze Gole with the 2008 Slovenian Arts Program Award of Service at a Special Event on Sunday, July 20, 2008 at Triglav Park, Windlake, Wisconsin.   A flame-shaped acrylic memento was presented to Father.   A  Mass was concelebrated by Father Cunningham and Father Gole at Triglav Park outside Chapel prior to the Awards ceremony.


MaryCay Freiberg, President of the UWM Slovenian Arts Council then shared with the assembled crowd this review of Father Gole‘s life and accomplishments:


Father Gole was born on September 21, 1916 in Dobernic, Slovenia.   He grew up in the town of Zagorica.

He began his studies for the Priesthood at the Sobornne University in Paris, France.   While there his education was interrupted by the German occupation in France during the World War II and he completed his studies in Yugoslavia.


On July 4, 1943 he was ordained a priest.   When the war ended, he returned to Austria to continue his studies.   In 1948 the Austrian State University in Graz awarded him a Doctorate degree and he began teaching International Law at the University.


In the Fall of 1950 he arrived in the United States and started teaching at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners and at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.   He taught Philosophy, Metaphysics, Homiletics and Scripture at the School of Theology.   He taught International Law at Marquette University Law School.   He was and is fluent in seven languages.


After 25 years he retired from his teaching responsibilities and was awarded the rank of Professor Emeritus.


We, the Slovenians in America, thank Father Gole for his continuous, enthusiastic support of the Slovenian Arts and Culture.


We thank God and you, Father, for sharing “YOU” with us in so many special ways in the past 65 years as a priest.   Thank you for your Christ-like leadership.   Thank you for sharing your keen knowledge, experiences, and many other talents.  We will never forget you.   You definitely left something of yourself with each and everyone you met and continue to meet.   Father, you are truly the epitome of a Slovenian Catholic Priest and Scholar.   Father, we promise to keep you in our prayers and we are confident God will continue to guide your life’s journey.


In conclusion our wishes for you, Father, are:

            May Dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with

                  dreams, possibilities, and promises.

            May the Day never burden.

            May Evening find you gracious and fulfilled.

            May you go into night blessed, sheltered, and protected.

            May your soul calm, console and renew you!

Father Gole gratefully accepted the UWM Slovenian Arts Program Award of Service and spoke to the crowd sharing his thoughts and memories.   In appreciation of Father Gole the USPEH Slovenian Chorus also sang several of his favorite Slovenian songs.





On Friday, August 22, 2008 Ambassador Samuel Zbogar finished his four-year assignment as Ambassador of Slovenia to the United States of America.


The rest of these e-mails are what MaryCay wrote in the newsletter which will be coming out this week.  Therefore they are in the format as to how they are layed out oin the newsletter.


The Slovenian Arts Council commends him for his outstanding dedication and diligence to strengthen partnerships between the United States and Slovenia.


The Slovenian Arts Council acknowledges he gave this task his very best, and he should savor the contentment of a job well done.

Ambassador Zbogar, May you always have love to share, health to spare, and friends that care.  Best Wishes on your life’s journey.













The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Slovenian Arts Program - 2008


The UWM Slovenian Arts Program is celebrating its 26th Anniversary Year of promoting Slovenian art, dance, drama, film, literature and music to the Slovenian Americans and the community at large.


It was established in 1982 with the financial support from the Frank and Mary Ermenc Memorial Fund, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation.   The Program continues to function under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts.   These funds made possible the acquisition and preservation of the largest collection of Slovenian music on the American continents located at the UWM Golda Meir Library.   The music consists of classical compositions from many of Slovenia’s historical composers from the 1500’s through more recent compositions written by contemporary Slovenian composers.   There are also folk music and audio recordings available for your listening pleasure.   This music collection is catalogued in the Library’s computer system and can be accessed by simply typing in “Slovenian Music Collection”  into one of the Library’s computer terminals.  For additional information go to www.uwm.edu/Libraries


We are truly privileged to have this outstanding Slovenian music collection located in Milwaukee.



Local Slovenes in the news....


**  Global Partners:   Running Waters -


As part of the Slovenian Catholic culture and the Slovenian tradition of serving people of the world, I bring your attention to Sister Janet Gregorcich’s efforts....


Sister Janet Gregorcich, SSND, is Director of Running Waters and coordinates water projects in Central America for villages lacking clean potable water. Are you aware some people do no have access to clean water?   Learn how you can help by going to

www.ssnd-milw.org for more information.


**  Milwaukee Dance Theatre changed its name to Theatre Gigante -


As you may have heard through the Milwaukee Arts scene grapevine, the  Milwaukee Dance Theatre completed its 20th year.   It took a gigantic leap towards its next 20 years and decided to change its name from “Milwaukee Dance Theatre” to “Theatre Gigante“.   Isabelle Kralj and her husband, Mark Anderson, Artistic Directors are excited about the mega task of creating, inventing, and presenting their big ideas for the next 20 years.  For more information about Performances and Other Events, please go to www.theatregigante.org


**  Dolores Ivanchich, UWM Slovenian Arts Council member has a leading role in a heartwarming comedy by Pat Cook.   The play “ Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner” has three widowed sisters with a sense of independence that stops them from accepting assistance.   The local Doctor introduces them to a young woman who wants to rent a room, but little do they know that she is a nurse sent to help.   She moves in among the sisters’ sharp tongues and oneliners.   Complications grow when the ladies’ nephew arrives to sell the house.   The play will be performed September 5-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-27, 2008 at the Sunset Playhouse, 800 N Elm Grove Rd, Elm Grove, WI. (262)-782-4430 or www.sunsetplayhouse.com



“ SLOVENIAN DAY” in West Allis, Wisconsin


Mayor Dan Devine has declared Friday, September 26, 2008 “SLOVENIAN DAY”.

The UWM Slovenian Arts Council will host Majda Koren,Slovene Author of Childrens Books, who will read in English from her book, Louisa from Outer Space, (Forget-Me-Not Series).   The author’s reading and Spela Brecelj’s cultural photo presentation for students studying Europe is scheduled at the West Allis Library in the morning and the afternoon.


At 6:00 P.M. there will be a Bolina Exhibit Game at Veterans Park, 1545 South 69th Street, West Allis, Wisconsin.


At 6:30P.M. at the West Allis City Hall - Council Chambers, the UWM Slovenian Arts Council will host a reception for the Author, Majda Koren and Spela Brecelj from Slovenia featuring Cultural exhibits, and live entertainment, including the USPEH Chorus, John Vlaj’s Paintings, Bobbin Lace making, a strolling Musician, Joe Hrovat’s Wood Carving display, and Slovenian desserts.  In addition, a video presentation of the largest collection of Slovenian music in the United States located in the UWM Golda Meir Library.   For additional information go to www.uwm.edu./Libraries


Join us for food and fun!

You and the Slovenian Arts Program Newsletter


If any part of your name or address on this newsletter is incorrect, or if you do not wish to receive the newsletter, please write to:

MaryCay Freiberg

1223 South 118th Street

West Allis, WI. 53214-2132


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