William Melnar Pledges Challenge Grant
Currently, our restoration, maintenance, operating expenses, and salaries have been covered with donations, in-kind contributions, and volunteer work. To ensure that we can continue our work in the future, an Endowment Fund was initiated by William and Betty Melnar several years ago with a generous donation. We have added some to this fund over the years, and have not used any of the funds. Our plan is to increase the principle sufficiently so that the interest will help pay for the operation of the Center in the future. Mr. Melnar has offered a challenge grant for the Endowment Fund. If we can raise $50,000 by December 15, 2018, he will match it with $50,000. Help us reach this goal. Any amount will make a difference! Click here to donate today!
Celebrate Czech Heritage October 19-20
Muziky Performance to Honor Vrazel's Polka Band
The 2018 Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center's annual Czech Heritage Fest & Muziky is set for October 19 and 20. The fun begins at 4 PM on Friday, October 19th with the Polka On! Octoberfest on the Deck, with music by the Dujka Brothers. On Saturday, October 20th, enjoy music by Enzian Buam Band and Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5 in the Hospoda from 11-6 PM, along with Antique Tractor and Car Shows, demonstrations, children activities, and much more all day. The festival's finale features the annual Muziky, Muziky performance at the Sanford Schmid Amphitheater. This year, TCHCC is proud to present The Legacy of the Vrazels’ Polka Band. The performance will begin at 7PM followed by a huge fireworks show to close the festival. The Vrazels' Polka Band was organized in 1953 and remained one of the state's top polka bands until the group's retirement in 2008. Read more about the band. Festival flyer.
Exhibit: Lidice 1942
Details the fate of this small village near Prague during WWII. On loan from the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. through November 26, 2018. Read the story.
Enjoy a Great Weekend of Czech Heritage
TCHCC will celebrate the 17th Annual Slavnost 'May Fest" on the third Sunday of May. Weekend events begin Sat., May 19 with the re-opening of the Velehrad SPJST Lodge #19 that was recently moved in to the Czech Village. Saturday night features another great evening under the stars at the Sanford Schmid Amphitheater with the Texas premiere of the Czech comedy The Stand-In (Zaskok). The annual Slavnost and Tribute to the Immigrants to Texas on Sun., May 20 will feature music, food, Czech Village tours, shopping, and a special performance by the Eva Adams Česká Kapela in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia. Read more.
Remembering Sanford Schmid and
The TCHCC Family was saddened to hear of the passing of Sanford Schmid and Doris Koliba in February. Both were instrumental in helping create the TCHCC complex with the Sanford Schmid Amphitheater and the Benjamin & Doris Koliba Lobby. Click on their names to read more about the lives of these two caring and generous Texans.
Museum Exhibit: WWI & The Birth of Czechoslovakia
Details Czech efforts on the battlefield and Czech Americans on the home front during World War I. Opens March 12, 2018, and runs through November. Special programs will be held throughout the year.
See the photos.
Unique Valentine Experience
Enjoy a formal evening at the Valentine Dinner and Piano Concert on Sat., Feb. 10. Read more and buy tickets online.
2018 Calendars Are In!
The calendars have arrived at TCHCC. Renew your membership today to ensure that your copy is on the way! If you are not a member, click here to join. We are looking forward to another banner year of Czech Heritage!
Dutchmen, Singers, Piano Man To Be Honored at TCHCC Gala Click here to see photos
The Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center in La Grange will honor Harry Czarnek & The Texas Dutchmen, Czech Heritage Singers of Galveston, and Gene Lichnovsky at its annual Gala on Sat., Dec. 1. The event will be held from 6-9:30 pm in Pavilion Hall. Tickets are $125 a person and includes appetizers, dinner and dessert buffets, open bar, and music and dancing by The Czechaholics. The silent auction always has some great Czech treasures to bid on, and you can take your chances on fun raffle prizes. Advance tickets only.
Harry Czarnek & Texas Dutchmen was founded in 1970. First members were Harry, accordion; Gene Patalik, drums and vocals; Gene’s son, Sonny Patalik, trumpet and vocals; Pat Klesel, trumpet; son, Alan Czarnek, sax and clarinet; son, Dave Czarnek, sax and clarinet; and Leonard Kosowski, electric bass. The Dutchmen traveled all over Texas averaging 100 dances a year. They were regulars at National Polka Festival, Wurstfest, and Westfest. Harry received three awards from the Texas Polka Music Association – Bandleader of the Year in 1991, Album of the Year for Songs of the Old Country in 1996, and Songwriter of the Year for Six-Pack Laendler, also in 1996. Harry passed away in 2009 at the age of 84. His sons continue the band playing for special performances such as the National Polka Festival.
Czech Heritage Singers of Galveston first met in 1974 around the fireplace in the rectory of historic St Mary’s Cathedral in Galveston to prepare a program of Czech songs for the annual Sts. Cyril and Methodius Heritage Day observed every July in Houston by the Czechs, Poles, and Ukrainians of Texas. Since that fortunate meeting, the Czech Heritage Singers, under the direction of Rev. Paul Chovanec, performed over the years at many Czech fests, parish bazaars, and civic celebrations. The singers were accompanied by three accordionists (founding members) Rosalie Leonard, Clarence Fee, and Ed Darilek. They were later joined by trombonist John Hajovsky, known as Uncle John, who died shortly before the group recorded an album.
Gene Lichnovsky grew up in Ammannsville where he played piano in his dad’s band Lichnovky’s Orchestra before he was 13 years old.At age 17 or 18 he started playing trumpet, alternating between trumpet and piano on dance jobs. While in the Army, he played trumpet with two different Army bands. Over the years, he worked with many bands including Adolph Falke, Gus Lindemann, Gil Baca, Vernon Drozed, Jimmy Brosch, Harry Czarnek & Texas Dutchmen, Donnie Wavra, Knights of Dixie, Henry Tanneberger, Norman Barnes, and the Hi-Toppers. He has recorded three CDs of great piano music, and still occasionally sits in with bands.