Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How it all began (Part 2)


 After returning from the second trip to the Czech Republic, I became Miss Czech-Slovak of Harris County and ran for Miss Czech-Slovak of Texas 2008. I was 16. I did not receive the title, but the pageant had opened a massive door because of my talent portion. I sang "Cervena Sukynka" and played a self-made Vozembouch (a folk instrument).  I was invited to many events to share my voice and this rare instrument. I was also invited to sing with Kovanda's Czech Band by the late Robert Ermis. I continued to do so and became apart of the band with Robert as my mentor.

This is my first video shared on YouTube in 2008. This was at SOKOL in Houston with Robert (playing accordion).
 From then on, I sang at many places around Texas....even in Libuse, Louisiana. 
 My pageant "little sister" Sarah! :-)
Talent portion of the pageant. This is my Vozembouch, Ferda (Fred) ;-) This lady inspired the idea on our way to the festival in Domazlice.  

Kroj modeling. All authentic and passed through my family. (Except for the shoes)

 My family's Chodsko kroj from Domazlice.
 I sang at Sengelmann Hall in Schulenberg with Kovanda's Czech Band. One of my favorite memories there was singing "Koline, Koline" with Caldwell's mayor, Bernard Rychlik. He passed away about a year later in a tragic car accident. Every time I hear that song it reminds me of that special memory.
This was at the Slavic Festival in 2009 at Houston's Polish Church. I was awarded Czech Princess of the Festival. These other ladies represent their Slavic heritage as princesses.
 I led the singing of "Kde Domov Muj"
 Robert teaching me a new song in Libuse, Louisiana. 

In 2012, I had a study abroad opportunity in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the best experience. While overseas, I decided to celebrate Christmas in the Czech Republic. It had been 5 years....it was definitely time to go back! :-) Prior to this trip, Tom had notified me that I had been on Televizni Noviny (a Czech news station).  One of my YouTube videos had made about 5 seconds of fame during a special program dedicated to the anniversary of the Czech anthem. It was such a shock but really cool! That Christmas, I spent most of my time in Plzen visiting Marie, Jiri, Tomas, Katka and her family. We also took trips to my favorite places- Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Katka, her husband Bob, and the children even took me to their house in Germany near the Sumava Mountains! Matyas and Viktoria were so grown up now with the best personalities. I enjoyed getting to know them all over again. For Christmas, I helped pick out the perfect Kapr (carp) and decorated gingerbread cookies. Our family also showed me many different Christmas traditions. It was a very sad good-bye especially with the children. It reminded me very much of when Katka came to visit me. To Matyas and Viky, I was (as Katka was) like a big sister and new exciting friend visiting from across the world. We all shed many tears. I miss them so much!

 Matyas and I
 On Charles Bridge
 Viky and I
 Matyas, Marie, Viky, Katka and I
I was having fun making cookies :-)
 With Jiri and Marie in Cesky Krumlov

I thought the family resemblance was pretty cool! Katka (21) and I (6) on the left. Viky (6) and I (21) on the right. 

After returning home, I was set to sing with Kovanda's Czech Band at an event. Two weeks prior to the occasion we received tragic news. Robert Ermis had passed. It was unbelievable. I think everyone was in shock. He was one of the best Czech singers and musicians. He taught me to sing with all of my heart, how to sing with better pronunciation and to not be afraid of the stage. I still continue to sing with the band as well as sing solos at other events. Because of Robert, I have mastered "Kde Domov Muj" (The Czech National Anthem) as well as over 25 Czech folk songs.   May God bless him for the hard work he put into sharing his heritage and showing me the same. For that, I am so very thankful.
Robert and I at my high school graduation dinner.

The following summer, Marie and Tom came to visit us once again. This time we had a big surprise for them. We went to Las Vegas! We all had a wonderful time going to different sites, such as the Grand Canyon. I also experienced watching my favorite singer, Celine Dion perform! Ever since I was 6, I loved listening to her music and always wanted to sing like her. She's the perfect role model. Anyways, this trip for Marie and Tom was very special in another sense. It was their first time to see me sing live and to meet so many proud Texas-Czechs. Many of you might remember the tragedy that occurred in the small town of West, Texas (near Waco). The town's fertilizer plant exploded. Many homes were destroyed, lives were lost and numerous people were injured. Kovanda's Czech Band was asked to sing at the West Fundraiser Benefit. It was an honor to be at this event. You could feel the spirit of the Czech people come together for this town. One of the attendees was Governor Rick Perry.

Marie and Tom with Retta Chandler (President of the TCHCC), Clarice and Raymond Snokhous (Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic).

 For more pictures, please visit my album:
6 years of sharing my Czech Heritage

 With all of the events that happened in 2013, I decided it was finally time to get back into the pageant competition. Today, I am Miss Czech-Slovak of Fayette County and will be running for Miss Czech-Slovak of Texas on April 26 in Flatonia, TX. I have the sweetest "Little Sister," Saylor Robinson. Even she is excited to be participating.  I couldn't be more thrilled to extend sharing my Czech heritage. I thought I would give it another try in hopes to make it to nationals in Nebraska. I am excited to see what this year will bring! Thank you to all who have supported me and watched me grow over the years.

S laskou,

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