Folklore Youth Group 'Estrela do Mar' or
“Sea Star” of East Providence, Rhode Island,
United States of America
By Daniel Amaral
This Youthful Folkloric Group was started by me, by my son Victor Amaral, by Mrs. Zélia Pacheco and her daughter Lory Pacheco.
Mr. Dinis Paiva, an immigrant from Porto Formoso, Saint Michael, Azores, was at that time (1984) the owner of the popular Restaurant Estrela do Mar (Sea Star”) in the city of East Providence, Rhode Island, and he became one of our principal sponsors for our Youthful Folkloric Group. It was Mr. Dinis Paiva who offered his restaurant facilities for the rehearsals of our Youthful Folkloric Group. His restaurant was located on Broadway in East Providence, Rhode Island. It was for this reason that I decided to name our group the Youthful Folkloric “Sea Star”.
The first uniforms for the children were made by the following dressmakers: Mrs. Lourdes Lima Ferreira (mother of the famous guitar player, Viriato Ferreira), Maria José Medeiros (my sister) Maria Nunes and several others ladies.
At the beginning of our folkloric group the uniforms that the children used were composed by skirts of red satin and blouses of white satin with some flowery arrangements for the girls and they used their regular shoes.
For the boy’s uniforms we used blue paints (Navy blue) and white shirts. At first they used their own shoes, but later they started using special boots.
Mr. Dinis Paiva, well known artist in the Portuguese Community (as a singer and actor) besides allowing his restaurant facilities for our rehearsals even gave us cloth materials for the making of the uniforms for the children.
Children performing in the Estrela do Mar or the "Sea Star" Restaurant
Teachers of the rehearsals
The first dancing teachers of our Youthful Folkloric “Sea Star” were: Zelia Pacheco, Regina Furtado and Nélia Alves.
History of our Folklore Youth Group Estrela do Mar or “Sea Star”
I always had a special liking for folkloric music specially from my hometown, Povoação, Saint Michael, Azores. Because of this I was able to became one of the singer of a folkloric group named “Ilha Verde” (Green Island in homage of the Island of Saint Michael in the Azores) which existed at the Saint Francis Xavier Church in East Providence, R. I. At the same time because my son Victor Amaral, 12 years old, was also revealing a good taste for folkloric music, I included him within the same folkloric group. He began playing accordion and learned very well all the dances that the group was using on their shows.
I became an active member of this group by composing humoristic poems to be sung with the dances of the group. Some of these poems were later published on my book “Pérolas Poéticas Açorianas – Rosário da Saudade” (Azorian Poetic Pearls – Nostalgic Rosary).
Children performing for the Party of the Management of the American Insulated Wire Company in the Restaurant Estrela do Mar.
In 1984, the Folkloric Group “Ilha Verde” began to weaken because the boys and girls were getting older and started missing many rehearsals and I could see that this folkloric group was going to die.
On the other hand I realized that I had on my side two valuable musical elements: my son Victor Amaral and my godchild Antonio Martins Medeiros, two excellent accordion players. They were also very good singers. So I tried to form another youthful folkloric group separated from the church. We could even get other children to participate in the new dancing group.
While I was a member of the “Ilha Verde” Folkloric Group, I also did a part in a play entitled “Cavaleiro Respeitável” (Distinguished Gentleman ). My good friend João Almeida also acted on this play. After that he has returned to Pico da Pedra, St. Michael where he has a business. This play was directed by Mr. Carlos Pacheco. Participating on the cast of the play were Mrs. Zelia Pacheco and Maria Realejo, who were also very much interested in the folkloric music.
I decided to explain to these ladies and asked them if they were interested I helping forming a new youthful folkloric group outside of the church and they liked the idea.
I presented the same idea to Mr. Dinis Paiva and he immediately said that he was willing to help move the plan forwardly. He even offered us the installations of his restaurant for us to train the children! Because of his magnanimous gesture I decided to name the group the “Youthful Folkloric Sea Star” in honor of his Restaurante “Estrela do Mar”.
The Folklore Youth Group Estrela do Mar or “Sea Star” started by Daniel Amaral showing the children, players, singers, teachers, and even some family members, in 1988, in the Auditorium of the S. Francis Xavier in East Providence, Rhode Island.
Our Folkloric Group was three years at Estrela do Mar (Sea Star) Restaurant. We had to move to St. Francis Xavier Church Auditorium because the Estrela do Mar Restaurant started renovations and them changed ownership. The new owners wanted our group to return to the restaurant but we decided to continue in the Church because Father Victor Vieira and Reverend John Baker liked the youthful group very much, and we and the children’s parents felt to b the right decision.
In 1988 Mrs. Zelia decided to join the Youthful Folkloric Group at the Lusitana Club in Cumberland, R.I. This same group became later the Folkloric Group of Our Lady of Fatima Church.
New folkloric dance teacher
Teacher Margarida Lopes Murin
Mrs. Margarida Lopes Murin, very knowledgeable folkloric dancing, became the director of dances in 1988. This lady obtained a degree in Anglo-Saxon Languages
( Línguas e Literaturas Inglesa e Alemã) from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, but was also an expert in coral groups and dancing.
Returning from one of her trips to Continental Portugal she brought with her typical folklore uniforms for our boy and girls, typical of the various Portuguese Provinces.
After Mrs. Murin started teaching our children there was a remarkable improvement which continue until 1991. However, because she began teaching in Framingham, Massachusetts she could not continue with the rehearsals because of the great distance she had to travel to East Providence. On the other hand I became stuck with more hours and more responsibility as supervisor at my place of employment, and I was forced to give up our beloved Youthful Folkloric “Sea Star . I tried to get someone to take my place, but , unfortunately, I was not able to find someone with courage to continue with the beautiful history that so many boys and girls had accomplished within the Portuguese American Communities This fantastic group was forced to stop acting after giving hundreds of performances throughout New England.
Many of the boys and girls who belonged to the Youthful Folkloric “Sea Star”, are NOW parents and have children of same age when they were acting beautify in so many of our shows for thousand of spectators some years back!
Children performing in the Brightridge Club in East Providence, RI, in 1986
To all these boys and girls who were so proudly member-performers of our Youthful Folklore “Sea Star”, we congratulate you and your families for a job well done!
May God bless you all, so you continue keeping with many happy memories of your achievement!
Good Luck to each one of you, in whatever you are doing now.
Names of all the participants in the Youthful Folkloric "Sea star"
of East Providence, Rhode Island
From 1984 to 1991
Fundador e Organizador......................... Daniel Amaral
Fundadora e Treinadora do Rancho.......Zélia Pacheco
Directora do Rancho e Vocalista............ Margarida Lopes,
Secretária do Rancho e Vocalista...........Nélia Alves
Tesoureira e Treinadora do Rancho.......Regina Furtado
Vocalista .................................................. Maria Realejo
Acordeonista e Vocalista........................ Victor Amaral
Acordeonista e Vocalista ....................... António Martins de Medeiros
Acordeonista .......................................... Manuel Agostinho
Violão........... ........................................... José Teixeira
Guitarrista ............................................. Manuel Flora Mendonça
Viola ........................................................ António Alves
All the names of the children. We had a total of 51 children partipating in the dances of our Folkloric Group. Their names by alphabetic order:
Other persons who helped us mantaining the group active:
- José Cabral,
- Fátima Amaral
- José Ramos e Esposa
- Natália Paiva
- Maria Simas e filhas