The late Adam Popovich was the first TAA member to receive a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This is the highest civilian award in the Folk and Traditional Arts that our government can bestow on any of its citizens. Honored in 1982 as an ethnic folk music composer, director, and musician, Adam and the famous Popovich Brothers performed in Washington, D.C., including appearances at the Smithsonian Institution.

In 2004, Milan Opacich, one of our distinguished members and recent 2002 Hall of Fame inductee, also received a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA. Milan is one of 12 exemplary master folk and traditional artists chosen this year and honored in a ceremony held at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Accompanied by his wife Rose, daughter Karin, several friends and family members, Milan and the entire Drina Orchestra performed as part of the program on Capitol Hill.

Jerry Grcevich, another of our famous Hall of Fame musicians, has recently been nominated for National Heritage Fellowship Award. If chosen, Jerry would be third TAA member to receive this recognition.

The accomplishments of these musicians are a prime example of taking our music and culture to a higher level. Their performances in Washington, D.c., are a monumental achievement outside the framework of our normal cultural activities. We should all be proud of these musicians and their efforts to raise the stature of our Slavic heritage.