History of Pihalni orkester Šentjanž

Pihalni orkester Šentjanž PIHALNI ORKESTER ŠENTJANŽ is the oldest orchestra in Dravograd municipality. Its beginnings go back to the year of 1955. A year earlier the Local Organisation the League of Combats Šentjanž, managed by Franc Bart, had suggested that a wind orchestra should be established. At the same time the new hall in Šentjanž started being built. 15 candidates appeared at the founding meeting in the premises of the old school on January 16th 1955. Rehearsals and theory started in the same month, conducted by Mister Jože Stropnik from Slovenj Gradec, a military musician. The first formal concert was in June of the same year at the opening of The League of Combats Hall where 3 marches were performed. After Stropnik the conductor of the orchestra became Jaka Golob form Ravne na Koroškem. Mr Golob, a qualified and acknowledged musician, conducted the orchestra for 20 years, all the way from 1959 to 1979. From the original 15 members the following were members all their lives: Milan Grilc, Viktor Vrhovnik and Jože Vravnik. Honourable 50 years of continuous performance within the orchestra belongs to Simon Hartman, Viktor Ošlovnik and Franc Vravnik. The membership has, of course, increased over the years; from the original members from Šempeter and Selovec, a number of musicians from other towns, Pameče, Libeliče, Dravograd, Podklanc, Dobrije and others, joined the orchestra. The orchestra, established by farmers and workers, self-taught musicians, broadened and rejuvenated by educated musicians who raised the quality of the orchestra with the help of professional management.

Pihalni orkester Šentjanž In 1978 the orchestra became an independent, registered cultural organisation with the management board. Material funds were also sought for in work organisations and finally the orchestra got two major partners – KOGRAD IGEM and Particle Board Factory from Otiški Vrh. This led to the official change in the name of the orchestra from Wind Orchestra of the League of Combats to Wind Orchestra Šentjanž KOGRAD IGEM LESNA TIP.

In 1980 the baton was taken over by Mr Adi Smolar from Muta. Thus the second, very successful 20-year leadership started, marking the orchestra with numerous changes. In 1986 the orchestra got its own concert hall in The League of Combats Hall Šentjanž, the number of members increased over 40, and one could not imagine a local or municipal holiday, Labour Day festivities, reunions, anniversaries, funerals and others without the wind orchestra.

Activities, success and voice spread, the orchestra got into contact with other orchestras. In 1998 we signed a contract about friendly cooperation with Firemen Band from Loče near Dobova in Brežice Municipality. Earlier, in 1988, the orchestra started to cooperate with the Schlosskapelle Neuhaus Orchestra from Austria. The traditional cooperation with both of them has been successful through visit exchanges and other forms of cooperation.

In December 2000, after Mr Smolar’s death, the conducting was taken over by Professor Alojz Lipovnik from Ravne na Koroškem. The number of members increased, as well as the quality, which is evident from success at competitions. Among the most vivid are 5 gold plaques from competitions in Ormož from 2002 to 2008, and a very good grade in marching in Muta in 2005. In May 2007 the orchestra was awarded a gold plaque with special praise in the competition of Slovene Wind Orchestras in Žalec. We have receive in june 2008 in Slovakia Cup (International Competition) and in May 2011 (Vrhnika- Slovenija) Gold Medal (Third difficulty level).

Year 2007 is important also because one other gain. We namely opened our own concert hall, built from 2004. We are especially proud of this day since it entirely grew with our own work, with the cooperation of all the members, as well as with the help of sponsors and Dravograd Municipality.

Today the Wind Orchestra has 66 members. New times call for new approaches and quality rise is possible only with a favourable material basis, adequate premises and musically educated people. In order to achieve the latter we provide internal education, enabled by the new Wind Orchestra Šentjanž Concert Hall.

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