Here is a brief outline of the history of the Radost Folk Ensemble:
- March 13, 1976 - Radost is born at a brief meeting in Glenn Nielsen's house.
The name Radost is chosen after the Bulgarian song "Prehvrukna Ptichka."
Glenn is selected as the Artistic Director and Scott Nagle as the Managing Director.
The original participants were: Glenn Nielsen, Scott Nagle, Tom Deering, Pam Arsove, Peter Lippman, Monica Soper Miller, Karl and Claire Joplin, Paul and Vicky Bestock, Jamia Murray, and Colin Miller.
Heidi Bodding was there in spirit.
Radost existed under the umbrella of Seattle Theatre Arts.
Early choreographies include Chetvorno, Briul Mare, Glamoć, Chestoto, Shopski Tanci, Slavonian Dances, and Appalachian Dances.
All music is provided by associated musicians: Izvor (traditional Bulgarian), Dobar Dan (Croatian), and a handful of others.
- May 1976 - Radost's first show at the University of Washington Slavic Department's Sts Cyril and Methodius Day celebration party at the Russian Center.
The choreographies performed were Chetvorno Horo (by the women) and Brîul Mare (by the men).
(This performance is repeated at the Russian Center in 2011 with two children of an original performer.)
- 1977 - Radost receives a grant from the King County Arts commission to do a series of performances in high schools and other theaters around the county.
- 1977 - Radost commissions a Romanian choreography from Mihai David.
It is the first by a native choreographer.
- 1977 - Radost performs at the Northwest Folklife Festival for the first time.
Radost performs in every subsequent festival except 1980.
- 1979 - Atanas Kolarovski works extensively with the ensemble to set his Makedonski Sobor - a collection of nine traditional Macedonian dances.
- June 1979 - First 2-hour concert in Meany Theater. Ticket prices $6.00/$4.00.
- May 1980 - Radost goes to Kansas City and performs several concerts throughout the city over the Memorial Day weekend.
- 1980-81 - Radost prepares for the summer 1981 trip to Europe by adding new American material, including Swing, Charleston, Sailor's Hornpipe, Cowboy Dances, and Square Dances.
- Summer 1981 - Radost tours Eastern Europe for 7 weeks doing 17 shows in Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania.
The 1-hour shows are all American with an encore of a Radost choreography from the region.
- September 1981 - Radost is incorporated as the Radost Folk Ensemble, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
- October 31, 1981 - Radost performs at half-time for the Sonics in the Kingdome: Shope and Appalachian .
- Fall 1981 - Valeriu Buciu of Ensemble Maramureş sets three choreographies on Radost: Nunta in Oaş, Dansul Fetelor de la Crihalma, and Dances of the Caluşarii
- 1982 - Dennis Boxell sets Emil Cossetto's Croatian choral work Ladarke on Radost as a full ensemble singing and dancing piece.
- 1983 - Dick Crum sets Dances from the Nišava River Valley (East Serbia) on the ensemble.
- 1984 - Petur Angelov of Ensemble Varna (Bulgaria) sets Varnenski Tantsi on the ensemble.
Music is provided by the Radost Folk Orchestra, directed by Alexander Eppler.
- 1986 - Radost 10th Anniversary Concert - two shows and a matinee in Meany Theater to nearly sold-out houses.
- 1986 - Nena Sokčić sets Pesme I Igre Iz Međimurje (Songs and Dances of Međimurje, Croatia)
- 1987 - Stoyan Tsankov of Ensemble Gabrovo (Bulgaria) sets three choreographies on Radost: Shopski Tantsi, V Gabrovska Obushtarnitsa (In a Gabrovo Shoemaker's Shop), and Thracian Roses.
- Late 1980s - Radost enters the Hungarian period.
Glenn Nielsen choreographs Marosszéki Táncok, Legényes es Páros, and Kalotaszegi Táncok. Sandor Timar of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble sets Zempleni Karikazo and Szatmari Tancok.
Various others bring us several choreographies from Hungary.
- 1991 - Lusia Kuimova of Ensemble Yarmarka (Perm Russia), sets Postukolochky.
- 1991 - 15th Anniversary concert in the 5th Avenue Theater.
- 1994 - Jill Cohen become Radost General Manager (through 2003).
- 1995 - Petur Angelov of Ensemble Varna (Bulgaria) sets Shopski Tanci on the ensemble.
Music is provided by the Radost Folk Orchestra (RFO), Orkestar RTW, and the Radost Women's Choir.
- 1996 - Ensemble Vizin visits Seattle and Jozsef Szavai sets Igre iz Baranje - (Croatian Dances of Baranya, Hungary).
- 1997 - Željko Jergan sets Lički Tanci and Zagorski Tancuši (Dances of Zagorje, Croatia).
- 1997 - Glenn Neilsen Retires as Artistic Director.
Sandy Bradley is hired as the new Artistic Director.
The "Glenn Nielson Retirement Concert" is directed by Sandy Bradley and features local Balkan ensembles: Vela Luka Croatian Ensemble, and the Bokreta Hungarian Ensemble.
- 1998 - Sandy Bradley, retires and Penny Orloff is hired as Artistic Director. Penny produces Heirloom CD.
- 2001 - Penny Orloff retires and artistic direction is taken up by various members of Radost, primarily Sarah Bury and Sidney Deering.
- 2003 - Petur Iliev sets Crossroads (Vlach Dance from NW Bulgaria).
- 2002 - Radost begins a Kids class for children of current and former Radost members.
A number continue on to perform with the Ensemble as teenagers - several of them with their parents!
- 2004 - Gergana May becomes Radost general manager (through 2006).
- 2005 - The local Bulgarian community joins Radost and several choreographies are set on the ensemble by Petur Iliev. Daniela Makedonska joins as primary Bulgarian teacher.
- 2005 - Radost participates in "Dance This!"
- 2006 - 30th Anniversary Concert in Kane Hall of the University of Washington with special guest artists Georgi and Yordanka Ilievi of Gabra, Bulgaria.
- 2008 - Radost participates again in "Dance This!"
- 2008-10 - Radost has several choreographies set by Bulgarian choreographers Iliana Bozhanova and Yuliyan Yordanov.
- 2011 - Radost puts together a Kukeri parade as part of the Bulgarian Cultural Celebration for the 40th Northwest Folklife Festival.
- January 2012 - Radost dances Međimurje to music performed by the Garfield High School Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Marcus Tsutakawa.
- 2012 - Radost produces the Bulgarian Community Celebration concert in the Bagley Wright Theater for Folklife.
- March 2014 - Sidney Deering, Radost's artistic director since 2002, receives the 2014 Gordon Ekvall Tracie Memorial award.