Eric Ray - Accordion / Viola

Eric is accomplished in many folk genres of accordion performance,  and has studied  with many renowned artists.  

​Eric performed for 4 years as a dancer and lead accordionist of the Duquesne University Taburitzans,  the country's longest-running company dedicated to the performance of eastern European music, song, and dance.  Eric's other performance highlights include appearances with the 2006-2007 All-State Orchestra, Flying Foot Forum, Ethnic Dance Theatre Folk Orchestra, the Mila Vocal Ensemble, and the Minneapolis based Ukrainian Village Band.

Paula White

Paula White

Paula White

Paula White

Szászka was formed in 1996 to perform traditional Hungarian village dance music for events and workshops in the United States. Szászka has been performing regularly at táncház events in Minneapolis and Chicago, and at festivals and concerts in the Midwest. The group has studied with Hungarian and Transylvanian musicians in Hungary, Romania and the United States.

Colleen researches and records village musicians in Eastern Europe, and was awarded Artist Initiative grants in 2010 and 2013 from the Minnesota State Arts Board to interpret and record the music that she collected in Transylvania in 2008 with her Szászka bandmates.  In 2011,  Colleen was awarded  a McKnight Fellowship for Performing Artists with Orkestar Bez Ime.  She is currently a graduate student of Ethno/Musicology at the University of Minnesota.

Doug Code - Viola / Koboz

Violist Doug Code is also one of the original members of Szászka. After many years of performing with the Madison based Balkan music lounge band, The Reptile Palace Orchestra, Doug decided to focus his interest in Hungarian music. In 1994 he began studying the Kontra (3-string viola), an instrument unique to Transylvania. Doug is an electrical engineer with Npoint in Madison, WI.

Sara Bruins - String Bass

Sara Bruins plays string bass and violin and was one of the founding members of Szászka in 1996. Her desire to to learn the many different styles of the traditional music of the Hungarian villages in Transylvania has led her to study with many of the most famous village musicians of this region. Sara holds a Masters degree in library science and currently works as research librarian for Alliant Energy in Madison, WI.

Colleen Bertsch - Violin

Colleen is a professional musician and teacher residing in Minneapolis. Colleen earned degrees in violin performance and music education and for a time taught strings in the public school system. Since 2002 she has taught violin and viola in her own Minneapolis studio. After joining the Ethnic Dance Theatre in 2000 she became interested in traditional world music and dance and served as the music director and a violinist in the orchestra.

As a folk violinist,   Colleen has studied with some of the best-known Hungarian táncház primások including István Pál,  Ökrös Csába,  Hrúz Dénes,  and Vizeli Balázs.  Of the Romanian village royalty, she has learned from Varga István (Kicsit Csipás) and László Csongor of Kalotaszeg,  Kodoba Florin of Palatka,  and Mezei Levente (Leves) and Mezei Ference (Csángáló kontra maestro) of Szászcsávás.

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