2019-2020 Elected Officers
PRESIDENT — Edward J. [E. J.] Biskup
VICE PRESIDENT — Frank Dulak
SECRETARY — Cheryl Wenck
TREASURER — Jo Ann Zaeske
REPORTER — Marie Dulak
Bylaws/Nominations – John Moravec [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Concernments/Newsletter/Cesky Hlas — Marie Dulak [email@example.com]
Genealogy/Meetings — Frank Dulak [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Membership/Historian – Jo Ann Zaeske [email@example.com]
Scholarship/Social Affairs — Cheryl Wenck [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Webmaster — Stan Vitha [email@example.com]
The Brazos Valley Czech Heritage Society [BVCHS] Chapter of The Czech Heritage Society of Texas, Inc. [CHS] was established on June 23, 1997, in Bryan, Texas, at the Bryan Public Library at a meeting which began at 6:30 p.m. There were 13 interested people who attended, and the chapter was organized by a vote of 13 to zero. Membership for 2018 is about 120 adults and youths.
The BVCHS has had the following Presidents lead the chapter:
1997-2000 Patrick Janis
2001-2011 Lou Zaeske (deceased 8/30/11)
2012–Open Office of President was held open by unanimous vote of members in honor of Lou Zaeske, the chapter's president for 11 years, to show appreciation for all he had done for the chapter and for tirelessly promoting the Czech culture. Frank Kocman, as Vice President, presided over chapter activities.
2013–Current Edward J. [E. J.] Biskup
The BVCHS has sponsored Queens and their Little Czech Sisters in the CHS Miss Texas Czech-Slovak Queen Pageant in the following years:
Year Queen Little Czech Sister
2003 Laura Polasek Fallon Wenck
2004 Terry Nors Lauren Koll
2005 Anna Michelle Burke Fallon Wenck
2012 Jennifer Koll Faith Wenck
2013 Jennifer Koll Faith Wenck
In 2013, Jennifer Koll was selected as Miss Texas Czech-Slovak Queen and represented Texas at the national pageant in Wilber, Nebraska, in August of 2013. She won the Heritage Involvement Award in recognition of her significant knowledge and involvement in her Czech heritage.
Over the years, the BVCHS has hosted various touring groups from the Czech Republic as they performed throughout Texas to include: Strnadel Group, Mimi Fortunae, Stribrnanka Band, and others.
Since October has been designated as Czech Heritage Month by the Texas Legislature, the United States Congress, and most of the 254 Texas counties, BVCHS has held an annual celebration each October since 2001, honoring its Czech culture.
Dues for the BVCHS Chapter are $5.00 annually and $10.00 for State Membership, for a total of $15.00. To ensure that a member's name is listed on the state roster, the dues should be paid by the end of January. Any dues paid in October through December will be credited for the following year. Payments should be made out to “BVCHS” and mailed to P.O. Box 3383, Bryan, TX 77805.
Czech Language Class
A Czech Language Class begins in January for the Spring Semester and September for the Fall Semester. The class is taught by an instructor from the Czech Republic who is the current holder of the The Czech Educational Foundation of Texas [CEFT] William J. Hlavinka Czech Fellowship, in the Department of English at Texas A&M University. The start date of each semester is set to accommodate the instructor’s course schedule at Texas A&M University.
The class focuses on beginners, but is generally structured to accommodate both beginners and more advanced speakers of the Czech Language, depending on the language abilities of the students who enroll. The classes typically concentrate on Conversational Czech and are open to anyone who is interested in learning more of the language.
The classes are held in the Saint Joseph Catholic Church Parish Activity Center [St. Joseph PAC] located at 700 East 26th Street, Bryan, Texas 77803. Ample parking is available, and parking is free. Instructional materials are provided and covered as part of the nominal $35 tuition fee. A textbook is available, but not required. You do not have to be of Czech heritage or Catholic to join the class.
A Valentine’s Dance is held in February typically on the Sunday afternoon preceding Valentine’s Day, if there is not a conflict with other scheduled activities. The dance is held at the St. Joseph PAC. An admission donation is requested to help offset the costs of the band and the PAC. Refreshments such as non-alcoholic drinks, ice, and light snacks are usually available.
Spring Baking Class
A Spring Baking Class is scheduled for a Saturday of March or April. The program varies annually but generally focuses on baking genuine Czech fruit-filled pastries or cakes [Českě koláčé] and Easter Bread. The class is taught by Stan Vitha and is held in the St. Joseph PAC kitchen. Class size is limited to 12 people, and there is a charge of $35 to cover the cost of baking supplies and rental of the PAC kitchen.
Emphasis is placed on students learning how to make the dough and fillings, properly shape the pastry, and understand the difference between the original Czech and Texas versions of the pastry. Students also learn how to make small, crescent-shaped bread rolls [rohlíky] for lunch.
Students take home their baked goods after class.
Fall Baking Class
A Fall Baking Class is typically scheduled for a Saturday of October and focuses on baking Czech Christmas Bread [Vánočka) from scratch. Emphasis on learning, class size, and costs associated with the class are the same as for the Spring Baking Class.
Fall Czech Celebration
A Fall Czech Celebration is held on the second Sunday of October at the St. Joseph PAC. The celebration consists of a polka mass, catered dinner, and dance. Two Polka Masses are held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in the morning, for anyone who wants to attend. The Taylor Czech Chorus does the singing at the Masses. A catered dinner is served beginning around 1:00-1:30 pm and is followed by a dance with musiic by a live band. Groups providing music at past Chapter events include the Praha Brothers Band from Temple, Chris Rybak and his band from Hallettsville, Lost Cause Band from Columbus, and The Moravians from Ennis.. An admission fee to the dinner and/or dance is requested to cover costs associated with the band, the caterer, and the PAC.
The event celebrates as October as Czech-American Heritage Month as resolved by the U. S. House of Representatives [106TH Congress].
A Christmas Party is held on the first Sunday of December usually at the St. Joseph PAC. The party includes a catered dinner followed by a short program and multiple special musical performances including singing of Christmas carols in English and Czech [koledy]. There is also the traditional Czech ornament exchange.
Chapter meeting dates are determined by the Meetings Committee and approved by the Executive Committee. Meetings are held at the St. Joseph PAC on the afternoon of the third Sunday of odd-numbered months, except in July. Annual meeting dates are shown at the Meetings Tab.