The Vonička Group of Folk Singers and Dancers from Havířov was founded in September 1991. The main idea at the beginning was to create three completely equivalent components giving the Group its character dancers, musicians and singers. This idea has been followed during the whole period of existence of the Group.
At present, there are altogether 82 members in the Group, 62 of which are dancers and 20 musicians. Dancers are divided into three age categories, from 5 to 9 years, from 10 to 13 years and from 14 to 23 years. Musicians compose two orchestras where all typical folk instruments are included: violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, clarinet, flute and dulcimer.
The establishment partner of the Group is the Vonička Havířov Association. The artistic leaders are Mrs. Emilie Slavíková and Mr. Jiří Slavík, the leader of the orchestras is Mr. Jiří Pospěch.
The Group's activity is aimed at propagation of children's and youth’s folklore and conservation of its traditions within the regions of the Těšín Silesia and Lachia where the birthplace of the famous composer Leoš Janáček is situated.
Folklore material published by numerous collectors of folk songs and melodies is treated both in authentic and stylized form. Authentic treatment can be seen in playings describing folk trades, shepherds on the meadow, as well as in songs and melodies of original "fiddler" bands. Stylization has been applied for couple dances and outlaw's playings, accompanied by the orchestra of folk instruments in traditional line up.
The greatest success of the hitherto Group activity is the award of two of the main prices of the 53rd International Folklore Festival in Dijon (France) in September 1999 with participation of 25 groups from all over the world, e.g. the price “For the best singing performance” and the price "Joy to Live" for the most agreeable group.
The significant events during the history of the Group are participations in the national festival of the top children's groups of the Czech Republic in Kroměříž in 1993 and 1995. The orchestra of folk instruments is regularly one of the best at national competitions of folk orchestras: first prize in 1994 (Rožnov pod Radhoštěm), 1997 (Břeclav) and 2003 (Vysoké Mýto), second prize in 2000 (Vysoké Mýto).
During 22 years of its existence, Vonička has completed more than 1000 performances in our country and abroad. The Group regularly organizes educational concerts for schools and gives performances for the general public in the town and its surroundings.
Traditionally, Vonička takes part in important regional and international folk festivals in the Czech Republic, e.g. in Dolní Lomná, Veselí nad Moravou, Kunovice, Bystřice na Hané and Strážnice, Hradec Králové, Jihlava, Přerov and Prague.
During the visits abroad Vonička was admired by spectators in Slovakia, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Great Britain, Latvia, Estonia and Italy. Among the most important there were participations at world-known International Festivals in Dijon, France (1999) and Zakopane, Poland (2013), as well as at the Europeade Festivals in Italy (2003), France (2005), Switzerland (2008) and Estonia (2011).
The Vonička Group has recorded and published two compact discs; the first one (1997) contains recordings of the basic repertoire of the Group (songs and dances), the second one (2006) includes Christmas carols from the Beskydy Mountain region.
In December 2012, the Vonička Group celebrated 20 years of its activity. For this event, the programme composed of basic repertory with participation of contemporary and original members of the Group was prepared.
Dancers and singers together with the orchestra of folk instruments have in their repertoire the programme that fully meets all requirements for an international folklore festival of children's groups.
Vonička can prepare the following program arrangements:
- program put together according to the requirements of the concrete folklore festival in the Czech Republic and abroad;
- full length program, 90 minutes duration, for festive occasions;
- educational concert for pupils of primary and comprehensive schools, 60 minutes duration;
- composed program, duration from 30 to 60 minutes, made to measure on various occasions (public celebrations, inauguration of exhibitions, houses of old people etc.);
- programme of the dulcimer orchestra together with singers, duration of about 45 minutes, with possibility of further playing for dance and entertainment.