Svitac Celebrates New Year!

As the solstice approached, the Svitac family (like many around the world) marked the occasion with songs, celebrations, and festivities. With the thousands of different cultures around the world all contributing their own individuality, it only seemed right that we contribute something unique that could only come from us, and the crazy smorgasbord of cultures that makes us so special. Introducing the Svitac New Years Party! A celebration of everything we have achieved over the year, the showcase of some of our finer projects, a thank you to all our wonderful participants, and a safe haven for the expression of our hopes and dreams for the year to come.

To say we were ambitious with our programme this year might be an under-statement. To say we exceeded our own expectations might well be similarly defined. The night began with a classical music showcase of future virtuosity and musical commitment from the young guitar players taught by one of our local volunteers, Sanjin. The series of short performances were captivating to all in the hall, whether they were four or forty, and set the tone for the talent that was to follow over the course of the night.

From well-practiced teenagers, we moved to our youngest performers. Our daily workshops feature a group of children aged 4-7, and our international volunteer Sarah (UK) put together a heartwarming performance of a nursery rhyme (Visibaba mala), complete with props for the participants to perform. Following this performance, the older group (aged 8-14) produced a performance of “Hakuna Matata” from Disney’s “The Lion King”, led by Sam (UK). After weeks of Wednesday afternoon rehearsals, the choir of twelve surpassed all expectations, and has also expressed an interest in continuing to sing in the New Year. Who knows what will come next, but rest assured, it will be beautiful!

The final performance of the night was a 20-minute epic! Directed and coordinated by Anne (Germany), the children acted and danced through a version of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”. The play featured music from the original score, with masks and scenery painstakingly constructed by the children alongside the Thursday afternoon rehearsals. Overall, the night displayed the exceptional ability of the many children that we work with in the centre, and showed the incredible potential of each and every one of them in the near and long term future.

While we work with people of all religions, and numerous cultural backgrounds in Brčko, there are some things that cross many cultural barriers, particularly at this time of year. One of them is excessive eating, and we indulged this by providing a feast that would make the Gods of Olympus shrink back in fear. The metaphorical icing on this metaphorical cake was provided by three of our international volunteers, Sarah (UK), Georgia (UK), and Johanna (Germany), who all provided some unique foodstuffs as part of their cultural presentations, with biscuits, pies, and cakes from Germany and the UK being sampled by many in attendance. In addition to this, there was also a short visit from Santa Claus himself, alongside two helpers. Santa even managed to bring enough presents for every child in the room, almost 200 of them, ending the slightly overrun party on a high note. No-one left disappointed, and good will and wishes for the coming year went this way and that across the centre, expressed most accurately by our wish tree, which while bare and wintery at the start of the night, ended it adorned with many a paper star, and many a child’s wish.

With joyous wishes for a happy New Year

The Svitac Team, Brčko