Director, Mr. James Guracech

     After Mr. Steve Pavlekovich’s retirment as director in 1974, Mr. James Guracech was selected as director. Jim or ‘Kum Jim’ as he is called by most, brought new and fresh ideas into the orchestra. Jim, being an accomplished violinist with professional training , incorporated a more disciplined, serious method of musical interpretation than our orchestra had ever experienced before. His strictness in enforcing us to ‘play as written’ has enabled the Detroit Tamburitza Orchestra to reproduce each musical composition exactly as the composer meant it to be. The purpose of the DTO is to strive for authentic reproduction of our music and the constant enforcement of this is due to the efforts of ‘Jim’, for this we appreciate and thank him.

     It was during Jim’s reign as director that a second annual concert was added to the orchestra’s performing agenda; we called it ‘Pop Night’. This winter event of lighter music in an informal atmosphere, had become one of the most highly attended and ‘in demand’ affairs of the year. The original ‘idea’ of Pop Night and Christmas in Croatia were Jim’s suggestions, as was the changing of the name from ‘Detroit Senior Tamburitzans’ to Detroit Tamburitza Orchestra’.

     Jim’s musical background started at an early age of violin lessons. During his tour-of-duty in the army, Jim entertained throughout Europe with the Army’s Symphony. When he returned home, he joined the ‘Balkan Cavaliers’ Orchestra of Detroit.

     In 1980, James Guracech was selected to direct the Croatian Fraternal Union Junior Tamburitza Festival in Denver, which made the Detroit community very happy and proud. This enormous task of directing and controlling 900 to 1000 young tamburitza players, is not easy, yet he skillfully accomplished this and will go down in history as being one of the best directors for this annual festivity. Jim retired from DTO at the end of the 1993-1994 season.