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Tingley Chautauqau, 1917



he native musical instrument of Croatia, said to have been practically unknown to the outside world until the latter part of the Nineteeth Century, is at present meeting with great favor in America. This instrument is known as the "tamburica." But of equal interest with the instrument itself are the players, six in all, who comprise The Croatian Tamburica Orchestra, appearing in the bright and novel dress of their native land, playing with all their native enthusiasm, as well as technique. This company has already been in America three years and its reception has been most cordial.

The Croatian Tamburica Orchestra appeared at the Paris Exposition [where they were discovered by Americans during that engagement] and filled other most notable engagements in the Old World before coming to this country.

NOTE: The Croatian Tamburic Orchestra became associated with the Mid-West Chautauquas during the summer of 1913.

Croatia, their native land, is a small country near Servia and just south of Austria. During the program of the orchestra, Mr. SAVICH, the manager, tells something of the people and also their odd musical instruments. Vocal solos by one of the number with orchestra accompaniment will also be a feature.

On the tamburica, the Croatians play Balkan melodies, selections from the operas and American songs. The instrument itself is similar to a mandolin, banjo and guitar, but different from all. It produces more life and sweetness of tone and is especially adapted to orchestra work.

The range of music is almost limitless. The volume of music produced by these six players is equal to that of an orchestra a third larger using the usual stringed instruments.

The orchestra also played selections from the opera Lucia de Lammermoor" and American songs. For encores they played a little "rag time."

The Native Musical Instrument of the Croatians

Probably no foreign instrument brought to America in recent years has attracted wider attention than the Tamburica. It embodies some of the best features of the mandolin, the banjo and the guitar, but is distinctive from each of these in many respects. The range of music is almost limitless. In volume the music produced by the five players comprising the Croatian Tamburic Orchestra is equal to that of an orchestra of eight or nine players using other string instruments. Peter SAVICH, manager of the orchestra, explains during the program some of the features of the odd Croatian instrument.


From the romantic little country of Croatia comes to us one of the most unusual and attractive musical companies we have ever presented. For the Croatian Tamburica Orchestra is absolutely unique - the only one of its kind in America. They appear in the bright colorful costumes of their native land, singing and playing their Slavic music, extraordinary in its exquisite sweetness and thrilling power. They use various sizes of the Tamburica, the household instrument of their people for generations. While similar to the mandolin, banjo, and guitar, it possesses larger musical possibilities because of greater life and sweetness of tone.

A Decidedly Novel Programme

Balkan melodies - a novelty in America - form only a small part of the wonderful repertoire of the five young Croatians comprising this orchestra. Since they came to American, following their appearance at the Paris Exposition, they have demonstrated that the Tamburica is an instrument of wide adaptability. Opera selections, American songs, popular and patriotic airs are combined on the programs which have pleased hundreds of American and European audiences.

The two soloists with the Tamburic Orchestra have attracted unusual attention through their rendition of a variety of songs. Folklore songs of their native country, popular American airs and stirring martial selections form part of their diversified repertoir.

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Pleasing Program


Orchestra Members


SOURCES: University of Iowa Libraries/digital.lib.uiowa.edu/tc

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2011.


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