BSS Prešeren Evening 2020 – strengthening friendship at a sensitive time

Staged on 1st February, one day after Brexit, this year’s annual British-Slovene Society Prešeren Evening in London was a moving demonstration of our common will to preserve and strengthen our friendship, come what may.

Shirlie Roden sang “Slovenia” – composed as a tribute to the country where she has been performing over the past 20 years. The Sedbergh Singers from Cumbria rendered the traditional Slovene folk songs which they have mastered over the years.

Finally we were treated to an inspiring performance by two of Slovenia’s top musicians, Boštjan Gombač and Saša Olenjuk. Boštjan transfixed us with his virtuoso music-making on an amazing array of instruments – including a metal saw and his own head – backed up by Saša on the guitar.

“I love London. I can breathe here,“ enthused Boštjan afterwards. So maybe we’ll want him back to breathe some more!

The tombola run with great verve by Catherine King raised a record £603 for Barka, the charity we support in Slovenia for people with special needs.

The two main prizes, a set of Elan skis and bindings, and two nights for a couple at Kranjska Gora donated by the Slovenian Tourist Board, were presented by Ambassador Tadej Rupelj, attending our Prešeren Evening for the last time. He and his family are returning to Slovenia after six years later this year.

Once again the Slovenian Embassy generously supported this year’s event. Thank you Tadej! We will miss you. We are also grateful for grants from the Slovenian Government’s Office for Slovenes Abroad, and the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs.

The Prešeren Evening goes from strength to strength. Never have the good relations it fosters been more important. Thank you to all of you for bringing such good feelings and lively spirits at this sensitive time.

Comments by participants:
– A lovely evening. Boštjan and Saša’s performance was absolutely wonderful. So surprising and hugely entertaining. – Deborah Field
– Wonderful to be there with you all – the best event yet – David Burbidge
– One of the most enjoyable Prešeren Dinners that I have attended – Michael Chant
– It was a beautifully organised event and we enjoyed it thoroughly – Nav & Kristina

Book now for the British-Slovene Society Prešeren Evening

Saturday 1st February 2020. Drinks from 6.30 pm, dinner at 7.20 pm.

Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel, 12 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0HX (undergrounds Euston, Euston Square, King’s Cross, Russell Square)

After our traditional dinner, the high point of the evening will be a performance by two outstanding musicians from Slovenia, Boštjan Gombač and Saša Olenjuk. More about the performers below.

Rates are:

Paid up members £47, non-members £64, students and under-18s £29.
For that you will enjoy a drinks reception, a three-course dinner with wine, the concert and a tombola with all sorts of attractive prizes.

Reserve your places now using the Application Form. Space is limited, so it’s first come, first serve.

You should assume that paid-for places have been reserved unless you hear to the contrary. No tickets will be issued.

If you wish to make up your own party, please nominate a host who will book the table in his/her name. Please advise if you have any dietary requirements.

We are grateful to the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in London for donating Slovenian wine for the occasion and to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for granting the British-Slovene Society a subsidy.

2020 Prešeren Evening application form

Boštjan Gombač is a performer and composer of music played on a multitude of different instruments. Trained as a clarinettist, he plays not only on wind instruments but also on musical saws and sound-producing objects rarely seen in concerts.

“The sound itself is my guide and inspiration. The more unusual the sound, the greater the challenge, expressive possibilities, and joy it provides,” says Boštjan.

As a member of the acclaimed Terra Folk group Boštjan won BBC Radio 3’s World Music Award. Currently he performs with groups such as Katalena, Bast, Bachology Quartet, Los Hermanos Muy Simpaticos and Sounds of Slovenia.

Saša Olenjuk is violinist and concert master at the National Maribor Theatre’s Opera and Symphony Orchestra.

As a recording artist, he has also featured as a guitar player, music arranger and producer in over 120 recordings of various musical styles. He performs with many different musical ensembles in Slovenia and abroad.

The British-Slovene Society Subscriptions 2020

Dear Members and supporters,

Every year, the British-Slovene Society organises events to further good relations between Slovenes and British, and these inevitably incur some costs. We rely on subscriptions to be able to offer these convivial occasions for meeting, networking and enjoyment. If you are a Member, we would be grateful if you would pay your 2020 subscription, which is due at the beginning of next year. If you are not yet a Member, please do join. You would be most welcome!

Subscriptions remain at the same level as last year:

FAMILY (maximum 5) £25

If you have a Standing Order you can ignore this notice. Otherwise, you have a choice of three means of payment:

1. The best way is by direct electronic transfer to The British-Slovene Society’s bank account with HSBC, Sort Code 40-01-06, Account Number 71358332, IBAN: GB34HBUK40010671358332. Please put your name in the reference field. This means of payment saves the Society unnecessary costs. Wherever possible, we ask you to set up a Standing Order. This will save you time and trouble next year.

2. Or you can pay through our website by clicking on “JOIN/RENEW” and following the instructions. On the website you can also pay by PayPal (though this incurs a cost to the BSS).

3. Or by cheque made out to The British-Slovene Society and sent to the Treasurer, Andrej Ogorevc, 10 Rogers Court, 5 Premiere place, London E14 8SF, e-mail:

We will soon send around the invitations for the Prešeren Evening which will take place in London on 1st February 2020. If you are a paid-up member, you pay less for the evening.

If you haven’t already made a Standing Order, please renew your membership at the beginning of January 2020! Thank you.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best in the New Year,

Trustees of The British-Slovene Society

Festive Start for the British-Slovene Christmas Season

Members of the British-Slovene Society and their friends once again packed the beautiful Wren church of St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe in London for the annual service of Lessons and Carols in both languages on 6th December 2019.

For many of us, this event marks the beginning of Christmas festivities, and each year the congregation grows, admirably supported by organist Aljyša from Leeds and the Gallus Aeternus choir.

After the service, we gathered in the vestry for wine, kindly donated by the Slovenian Embassy, large quantities of potica brought over from Slovenia by BSS members, and many warm conversations. We collected £264.50 for Barka, the charity for people with special needs which the BSS supports in Slovenia.

Our thanks go to the Church of England, for allowing us to use the church and presiding over the service, Catherine King, who organised the event, and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, which provided a subsidy.

Come again in December 2020!