National Music Museum to celebrate Czech Heritage

National Music Museum to celebrate Czech Heritage Fulbright Scholar Michael Cwach will lead the National Music Museum's Czech Heritage Day festivities Sunday, Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m.

The day will include a special presentation by Cwach followed by self-guided tours highlighting the museum's four centuries of Czech-Slovak instruments recently featured in an exhibition hosted by the National Czech-Slovak Museum.

Cwach, a native of the Yankton area and a graduate student at The University of South Dakota, has recently returned to the United States following a year of research as a Fulbright Student Scholar in the Czech Republic. He has studied the historical use of the Bohemian bagpipe, documented its current use and cultural significance, and participated in the contemporary art of making bagpipes in order to write the definitive, English language book about the instrument.

The Oct. 24 program at the National Music Museum (NMM) on the campus of USD in Vermillion will feature Bohemian music and cultural traditions. Cwach will sing and play the dudy (bagpipe). Also featured will be the dudy and housle (violin) duo, a tradition that dates back more than 200 years in Bohemia.

This past August, Cwach and Arian Sheets, NMM curator of stringed instruments, were invited to perform dudy and housle music at the 2004 Strakonice International Bagpipe Festival in South Bohemia, a gathering that attracts thousands of bagpipe enthusiasts and tourists from around the world for four days of concerts, parades, and dancing, featuring music from many cultural traditions.

The National Music Museum's Czech Heritage Day activities are free and open to the public. For additional information, call the museum at 605-677-5306 or visit www.usd/edu/smm .

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