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Kolo at the ACC

Kolo ACC Toronto Raptors

 

On Friday, January 14, 2011, the Serbian Folklore Ensemble KOLO of Hamilton proudly represented its Serbian cultural heritage with one of its favourite and recognized choreographies "Shopske igre" (dances from the Shop region) during the halftime show at the Toronto Raptors game at the Air Canada Centre.  Over 16,000 fans, two to three thousand of whom were Serbs, gathered to support the basketball players and excitedly cheer on KOLO as it performed.  The game was televised, and the images on the Jumbotron during their dynamic and fast-paced piece conveyed the message loud and clear: PROUD TO BE SERBIAN!

 

The evening was dedicated to Serbs as part of the Raptors' "Serbian Heritage Night".  This event was organized by the Raptors' marketing team, inspired by Pedja Stojakovic joining the Raptors.  KOLO took the leading role in promoting and engaging the participation of the Serbian community, and greatly appreciated the contribution of organizations from Hamilton, Oakville, Mississauga and of Toronto and the surrounding area.

 

S.F.E. KOLO actually performed 'on two fronts' that evening.  As guests were entering the ACC, they heard spirited Serbian melodies played for them by KOLO's orchestra.  Spectators warmed up by dancing Serbian kolos in the main lobby, demonstrating their love of a favourite cultural pastime as well as the sport of basketball!  Serbian flags abounded and were waved proudly during the game and halftime show.  Spirits were high and simply soared during KOLO's performance, the cheering almost drowning out the music at times.

After the game, Pedja Stojakovich came out for a question/answer session with many Serbs who attended the game.  Hamilton's new mayor, Mr. Robert Bratina, whose connections to Serbs stem from his mother, greeted Pedja and presented him with a gift on behalf of the city of Hamilton.  Mr. Bratina also thanked the S.F.E. KOLO on its involvement and participation in the event.  His ties with KOLO were established many years ago through joint participation in many charitable functions in the Hamilton area.

 

All in all, the evening was a wonderful showcase of Serbian culture and spirit before an audience of Canadians.  Way to go, ensemble KOLO!

 
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