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”. 

 

Uniforms

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:

 

Sandra Alves

Pedro Agostinho

Nuno Agostinho

Paula Andrade

Tony Andrade 

Many Andrade 

Paula Amaral

Denise Bairos

Carolina Botelho

Nelson Cabral 

Alice Cote

Many Caramelo 

Karie Cunha

Kevin Cunha

Helder Cunha

Jennifer Cunha

Elizabeth Dias

Rui Dias 

Victor Dias

Lidia Ferreira

Patrícia Ferreira

Jessica Ferreira

Jason Ferreira

Maria Ferreira

Marlon Fernandes

Délia Furtado

Marco Gouveia

Rita Galvão

Sandra Garcia

Rachelle Lima

Diana Medeiros

Bobby Medeiros

William Medeiros

Teresa Medeiros

Melissa Medeiros

John Mendonça

Tony Mendonça

Eddy Mendonça

Lory Pacheco

Júlio Paiva

Gabriela Paiva

Lenny Resendes

Sónia Rocha

Marco Ramos

Jakie Ramos

Steve Ribeiro

Elizabeth Rodrigues

Belina Sousa

Susana Silva

Nuno Silva

Sandra Valente

Other  persons who helped  us mantaining the group active:

- José Cabral,

- Fátima Amaral

- José Ramos e Esposa

- Natália Paiva

- Maria Simas e filhas