Lectures & special events

All concerts except the MEMF Participant Concert will be preceded by an expert lecture, free and open to the public, to be held near the concert site. Some special events have additional admission fees as indicated below.

Wednesday, July 15, Dance

Thursday, July 16, Handel Aria Competition


Wednesday, July 15, Great Hall, Memorial Union

Michael Kuharski
Michael Kuharski started folk dancing in Madison in 1969 & has been leading & teaching in that community ever since. He speaks Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, some Macedonian, a little Romanian and less Albanian. He has made 12 trips to the Balkans and regular journeys to Milwaukee to study the folklore, language and culture of the people (particularly Kosovo Albanians, Macedonians, to collect dances, music, instruments, costumes, friends, red scarves, & anecdotes. Michael is Artistic Director of Ensemble Narodno, the main man behind the Folk Ball at UW-Madison. He teaches weekly at Madison Folkdance Unlimited, annually at Door County Folk Festival, and elsewhere upon invitation. Michael plays accordion, lugs a tupan around, & transcribes folk songs by the score.

Veseliyka Balkan Music Ensemble
Veseliyka means revelry, fun! Formed in 2007 and based in the traditional folk styles of the Balkans, Veseliyka seeks to combine tradtional instrumentation and melodies with a contemporary repertoire. Seeking to break out of the mold of familiar recorded dance tunes, the ensemble works to make longer dance medleys. They are supported by the enthusiastic international folk dance community.

Instruments: Gaida – This bagpipe has a single drone and variety of possible chanters in different pitches. The “D” or “re” chanter and “G” or “sol” are the most common.
Kaval – This end blown flute is commonly made in three separate piece fit together like an orchestral flute. The kaval is played by blowing at an angle across the end of open tube.
Tambura – The 8 stringed instrument is tuned like the 4 highest strings of a guitar with each pitch doubled. Commmonly a rhythm and chord instrument it can also be used for virtuosic melody lines.
Gadulka – This bowed instrument has 3 bowed strings tuned to “E” and the “A” above and below it. There are also 10 sympathetic resonating strings. The strings are fretted with the fingernail or tip of the finger – there is no fretboard.
Tupan – The double headed drum is played with a heavy stick on one side and a light one on the other. The best musicians play this drum like another voice in the ensemble, not just the beat for someone else’s melody line.

Handel Aria Competition

Thursday, July 16, 7:30pm; Music Hall, Music Hall

Emerging young singers exploring the repertoire of Handel compete for cash prizes. The contestants will perform for an audience and a distinguished panel of judges drawn from the MEMF faculty—and the audience also chooses a favorite! Dean and Orange Schroeder, MEMF supporters and enthusiasts of G. F. Handel, make this competition possible. Complete info»

Open to the public; free for MEMF workshop participants—others $10 at the door. Not included in the 2015 Festival Concert Pass.