We’re going to say it. Yesterday, along Central Street in downtown Evanston, the Evanston Escola de Samba put on the largest and most spectacular samba parade Chicagoland has ever seen. With two prominent floats, thirty fabulous dancers, forty-five enthusiastic percussionists, and a trio of talented singers, this show was hard to beat. The parade judges agreed. For the third time in as many years, EEDS goes home with one of three overall Evanston 4th of July Parade awards: the coveted Chief Judge’s Award for Special Merit.
As always, so many people worked so hard to make this parade happen this year. We first must recognize anyone and everyone who contributed to our successful Kickstarter campaign. Quite literally, none of this could happen without your support, and we thank you.
Each year, scores of dancers, musicians and volunteers that make everything possible. We want to express special gratitude to the EEDS parade committee: Carol Greene, Lindsay Fullerton, Matthew Rarey, Rachel Goc, Richard Adams, Rita Sacay, and Dill Costa for helping to conceive of the parade and working so tirelessly over the past month to get it done. And of course, EEDS could not exist without the leadership of our executive director, Jessica Anzaldua, and our mestre da bateria, Reed Flygt. They bring so much energy and hard work to the organization, and it shows! And a special kudos to Peter Korajczyk for getting our bateria ready and leading in the weeks before the parade.
Thanks as always to the amazing Dill Costa, our head of dance and rainha da bateria, who crafted and choreographed our best dance sections ever. So many dancers come to EEDS from Dill’s classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and we hope to see you all year after year. Special thanks also to the members of Grupo Axé Capoeira – we will always consider you part of the EEDS family. And as always, a special shout-out to our wonderful mestre-sala and porta-bandeira, Zenaida Saez and Jaime Angeles, who carry the EEDS flag proudly. Thanks to Kirsty Montgomery who made our Porta Bandeira’s costume sparkle. Finally, our performing singers and cavaquinho players were amazing: John Beard, Rachel Goc, and David Chelimsky. You guys bring the energy!
Our bateria would never sound as good as it does without Reed Flygt, our fearless mestre. Special thanks to our Lane Tech bateria members, who brought so much fun and spirit to classes and the performance. It goes without saying how much everyone at EEDS loves our friends from Bloco Maximo who give our bateria extra swing. Thanks also to visiting percussionists Jimmy Biala and Yuko Tamura for bringing their talents to the bateria. And finally, we were thrilled this year to welcome Rosemberge dos Reis from GRES Imperatriz Leopoldinense in Rio de Janeiro to perform with our bateria: we hope you return to Chicago soon, and that we can return the favor in Rio!
Volunteers make everything better. We had two floats this year, designed in their entirety by the parade committee, and built with their own labor and that of so many great EEDS members and volunteers: Eudald Lerga, Nate Cornish, Sariah Noel, and Rosa Anzaldua; and our float performers, Randy Weade, Brenda Weade, Colin Fitzpatrick, Victor, Zayoni, Maria Elena, and Will. Sarah Dandelles, Chris Hasselbring, Jack Hasselbring, and the rest of the Hasselbring clan also deserve extra credit for their help on parade day.
Finally, a thanks those who helped us record this fabulous event: our official photographer, Heather Marie, and our videographer, Michael Rhee. In addition, we were thrilled to welcome Any Guelmann all the way from New York in her choice to make EEDS the focus of her artistic practice for a few days. In the coming days, we’ll be posting lots of photos and videos from the parade so you can catch some glimpses of our award-winning performance. If you have any photos you would like to share – email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more info on classes, workshops, and events (as well as some generally awesome photo updates). The 4th of July is just the beginning! Stay Tuned!