"THEY A PURDY
Volunteering to Be Basque
We just finished our
2008 NABO Convention in Chino and there again we saw an incredible
effort put forth across several days that was really a thing of
beauty. Putting on festivals like this requires a large
volunteer force working together to be Basque.
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Written Sept. 2008 by NABO Facilitator
John Ysursa. Thank you to Linda Indaburu Iriart for the
photographs. Send comments to
Benito Ysursa and oldest brother years ago were speaking about the
Notre Dame football team that had just lost a game to Purdue
University. My brother Bernardo Jose stated: "You said that
Notre Dame never loses." My grandfather replied: "Who did
they lose to?" to which he was told "Purdue." My grandfather
then quipped in his accented English: "they a purdy good a'bunch"
("they're a pretty good bunch" and thus there was no shame in losing
to a team of that caliber). That line has lived on for years
in our family, and I think it's appropriate to apply here in a
different sense. It relates to those who step up and give of
their time, treasure and talent to keep our Basque festivals going.
Putting on Basque
festivals is labor-intensive, and it requires the work of numerous
volunteers. One such example was just over Labor Day Weekend
when the Chino Basque Club celebrated its 40th Anniversary and it
served as host of the NABO Convention. It was impressive to
see the number of people throwing in together to make for what was a
great weekend slate of events.
We can't cover it all, but below are some highlight photographs that
gives you a glimpse of the amount of volunteer contributions on the
part of workers and performers that it took to put this festival
together. And while the photos are just from the Chino event,
this same is played out all around our Basque communities from Salt
Lake City to Fresno, from New York to Seattle ... as volunteers work
together to keep the celebration of Basque heritage alive. The
volunteer nature of it all adds a special dimension.
Contributions large and small are required, and when that all comes
together to yield a successful festival, it really is something to
So to those volunteer workers and
performers, who give of their time, treasure & talent, let's join in the chorus and say "they a purdy good
VOLUNTEER COORDINATORS. Volunteers
keeping a close eye on the NABO Junior Mus Tournament finals
VOLUNTEER COOKS. Some of the cooking crew for the Saturday
VOLUNTEER SERVERS. Somebody has to be there to serve up the
food for the rest of us.
VOLUNTEER HOSTS. During the weekend there were several
contests featuring local and international players. Those
games were hosted by Xabier Aphessetche (pictured center) who
renovated his trinketa for the games.
VOLUNTEERS REWARD. All the volunteer work in the world is for
nothing, if no one shows up to your event. Here the efforts of
the volunteers was rewarded at the Saturday night dinner show with
several hundred showing up.
VOLUNTEER MUSICIANS. Here is a moment from the Saturday night
"Klika in America" which commemorated the contributions of these
volunteer musicans from Bakersfield, Chino & San Francisco.
VOLUNTEER SINGERS. Singers from various Basque communities
formed a choir for the Sunday mass. Pictured here are the
members of the group NOKA that also performed Saturday night
(pictured l-r): Begona Echeverra (center), Andrea Bidart Oteiza
(blue bandana) & Maite Maisterrena.
VOLUNTEERS ACKNOWLEDGED. NABO'S
award seeks to acknowledge the contributions of extraordinary
individuals to our Basque community. Though they are no longer
with us, the contributions of former NABO Presidents Jean Leon
Iribarren (accepted by his son Christian pictured left) & Francoise
Pedeflous (accepted by his son Frank Jr. pictured right) are still
VOLUNTEER PERFORMERS. All the performers to open the Sunday
VOLUNTEER MUSICIANS. Chino txistulariak playing during mass.
VOLUNTEER DANCERS. San Francisco's "Zazpiak-Bat" dance group.
VOLUNTEER PERFORMERS. Chino men of "Besta Berri"
leading in the opening procession for Sunday mass. As always both
the American and Basque flags were on display; the former in
gratitude for allowing Basques to identify as Basque in America.
Coexistence: Being Basque &
VOLUNTEER BAR-TENDERS. It took dozens of volunteers over the
weekend to keep the bar up and running so the rest of us could get
our drinks to quench our thirst.
VOLUNTEER SUPPORT. Joining us for the festivities was Josu Legarreta
(with the blue bandana), Director of Relations of Global Basque
Communities for the Autonomous Basque Government of Euskadi.
They have been and remain supportive of various cultural endeavors
including the support of our Basque youth programs.
BASQUE MUSIC. What's a Basque party without good Basque music,
and that was made possible with visiting Basque musicians from
Europe who played none-stop to the delight of the crowd.
ALL DANCE! Sunday night dance with the dance floor was packed!
VOLUNTEER PERFORMERS. Visiting dance group "Utahko
Triskalariak" from Salt Lake City.
VOLUNTEER MUSICIANS. Kern County Basque Club Klika of
VOLUNTEER DANCERS. Chino's "Gauden Bat" (Let us be one) senior dance
group. In the background is a banner designed by volunteer
VOLUNTEER PERFORMERS: Five
VOLUNTEER PERFORMERS: "Zazpiak-Bat"
dancers from Los Banos. Also pictured playing the trumpet is
Pierre Igoa who volunteered his talents to help produce the tribute
video for the Klika tribute.
VOLUNTEER PRIEST. It was good to have Aita Martxel Tillous
with us again; he made a special trip for the festival.
EUSKAL MESA. The preparation of mass requires its own
particulars and in Chino one of the organizers was Germaine
Lanathoua (pictured left). Also contributing were Basque
friends including Johnny Curutchet, bertsolari from San Francisco.
CHINO JUNIOR DANCERS. Participating were the youngest group is
"Xori-ttipiak" or Little Birds (pictured top left), the "Euskaldun
Izarrak" or Basque Stars (top right) and "Dantzari Onestak" or Good
Dancers (pictured bottom).
VOLUNTEER DANCERS. The "Dantzari Gazteak" (Young Dancers)
visiting dancers from Bakersfield.
VOLUNTEER DANCERS: This newly-formed combined dance group of males
from Bakersfield and Chino called "Hegohaize" (Southern Wind) have
been performing for a year together; here they present the "Kaxarranka"
from Lekeitio and "Ezpata Dantza" from Xemein.
VOLUNTEER MUSICIANS: San Francisco Klika. They were the
first Klika in America that was formed.
Representing their volunteer organizations for the "Klika in America"
Tribute (l-r) John Barcelona (Chino Basque Club), Mary Gaztambide (NABO),
Louis Iturriria (Kern County Basque Club) & Pierre Etcharren (San
Francisco Basque Club). Behind them are the
LET THE BEAT GO ON!