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Srpsko crkveno pevačko društvo "Zora" u Senti 1886-1941
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Srpsko crkveno pevačko društvo Zora u Senti 1886-1941

Serbian Church Vocal Group “Zora” in Senta was founded in 1886. Draft on the group’s basic rules were approved on 27th April 1889 so the date is considered as the date when the group’s work was officially approved by Hungarian Royal Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Necessity to organize a vocal group existed since 1876 when on Local School’s Board meeting “religious and moral behavior of Serbian teachers at school and in church” was mentioned.

At the same meeting it was concluded that “the teachers are obliged to teach the pupils to chant, and if they do it after school hours, they are to be rewarded”.

The first article of the draft of the vocal group’s basic rules of “Zora” says: “Vocal group has been founded and bears the name of Serbian Church Vocal Group ‘Zora’ in Senta with the aim, through church singing on religious services, to praise and arouse Christian religion and at the same time through singing of secular songs make harmonious singing dear among city dwellers”.

Vocal Group “Zora” had their rehearsals at “big hall” of Serbian Reading Room where they kept their documentation and notes.

Rehearsals of the Vocal Group “Zora” were held in Saint Archangel Michael Church, at its balcony - chorus. “Zora” Church Vocal Group sang church songs in Church at holy religious services, which “strongly influenced the present people gathered there to express loyalty to their great grandfather’s faith and strengthen their souls by Christian virtues”.

In 1987 the building of Serbian Reading Room was torn down and archives of “Zora” was moved to Parish Hall where it has still been kept.

The organs are kept here too. They were property of Serbian Reading Room but the vocal Group used it on their rehearsals too.

Vocal Group “Zora” organized parties, performances, concerts and lectures at Serbian Reading Room offices usually with the aim to collect “help for gifted school children”.

Parties and balls were usually organized here but concerts of vocal groups from surrounding places too.

Bigger and more formal performances were organized at the “Eugen” theatre hall as well as the “Royal” hotel hall.

On 16th November 1918 Serbian Liberation Royal Army entered Senta and was warmly and cheerfully greeted by the leaders of Vocal Group “Zora”. The Group organized “program which had to initiate the work of the group again which was more than modest during the First World War”.

On 19th June 1919 commander of the town, Velimir Z. Atanaskovic, cavalry lieutenant colonel, organized celebration for the “Day of war invalids”. On this occasion Vocal Group “Zora” organized competition in singing while the tickets money collected as well as contributions were intended for the invalids.

When on 26th July 1919 heir to the throne Aleksandar Karadjordjevic (at that time regent) came to Senta, welcome board consisted of delegation of Vocal Group “Zora” too with its leaders and the whole choir.

On occasion of celebration of 50 years of Fire Company in Senta on 7th and 8th September 1924 “Serbian Sisters Group” and Senta’s Church Vocal Group “Zora” took part in celebration. This was not the only appearance of these two social organizations.

After reconstruction, Orthodox Church Saint Archangel Michael in Senta was dedicated by dr. Irinej Djuric, bishop of Backa. His highness was in Senta on 3th, 4th and 5th October. On Saturday, 03th October there was torchlight parade in front of Orthodox Church while Vocal Group “Zora” and Fire Company Orchestra played few songs. On Sunday 04th October during formal liturgy Church Vocal Group appeared together with father Damaskin, the singer of bishop’s pupils vocal group.

On the day of unity, on 0lth December 1929, Vocal Group appeared in public again.

On the day of Orthodox Christmas, on 08th January 1932, Vocal Group “Zora” organized a very successful concert while the next year it gave a guest performance in Kikinda.

Assembly of the Vocal Group “Zora” on 18th February 1934 passed new rules. One of the new rules said: “social membership is divided into executive, helping ones whose membership fee is 24 dinars per year and to benefactors who, on installments, have to pay 1.000 dinars in the period of two years.”

On Saint Sava’s Day, on 27th January 1938, at State Secondary School in Senta there was Saint Sava’s celebration with the program in the morning and in the afternoon. In the morning program conductor of the Vocal Group “Zora”, Mr. Branko Bukurov, teacher of the high school, had the lecture with the title “Dr. Tihomir Ostojic”.

On 05th February 1939 Vocal Group “Zora” had its assembly - unfortunately, its last one. It had been estimated that the group enrolled more members in l938 than in the last ten years.

“Sloga”, paper for the town of Senta, as well as Senta and Knezevac region, on 13th January 1940 published an article with the title “One of the most successful parties”.

The article broadly spoke about the party, which was organized on the second day of Christmas by Serbian Church Vocal Group “Zora”. One of the numbers on the program was a play from folk life with singing titled “Girls Curse”. The play represented the plot from the 80’s of the last century: “struggle of the Serbian people against the Turks. The fight, mobilization, war psychosis, partly actual for the present confused circumstances, when we hear about the war everywhere.”

Not for long, in April 1941, Hungarian Royal occupation military authorities forbad the work of the Vocal Group “Zora”.

This official ban for the group’s work did not mean real end of the “Zora” Vocal Group’s work. Rehearsals were not held in that wartime at the building of Serbian Reading Room but at Saint Archangel Michael Church mainly before religious service.

Church choir was rather small because many of its members were expelled or had to leave Senta .

During those war and post war times (1941-1951) conductor of the choir was Mrs. VeraVujic. On her leaving Senta, Mr. Milos Preradov took over the leadership and conducting of the vocal group.

The vocal group was not officially registered but it was known as the amateur vocal group. The group worked in this way till 1957.

In 1988. on suggestion of reverend dr. Sava (Vukovic), preparations and organization for reconstruction of Saint Archangel Michael Church “from the foundation to the roof” began.

Saint Church was reconstructed in 1989 and on 03rd September reverend dr. Sava (Vukovic), bishop of Sumadia and administrator of Serbian Orthodox eparchy of Backa, dedicated renovated and gold-plated cross on renovated bell tower of Saint Archangel Michael Church in Senta.

That year of hard work was the time when the actual president of the parish Mr. Milos Preradov, as it says in the minutes of the Managing Board of Orthodox Parish - Septa from 12th May 1989, made one more effort to “once again form Serbian Vocal Group ‘Zora’ founded as early as 1886.”

Unfortunately, this effort was without result because it was more a wish than real possibility of new life and work of Senta's Serbian Church Vocal Group “Zora”.