2019 Committee

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Martin Pusic

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Martin Pusic is founder of the Canadian Slovenian Button Accordion Championship, and founding member and President of the Button Akordion Rocks, Slovenian cultural club.

As a member of Slovenski Park for more than 30 years, Martin served 25+ years on either the Executive Committee or Board of Directors, in a number of roles including director of rentals, sports, and Chairman of the Board.

Martin worked 29 years for the municipal government as a senior inspector and manager of heating, plumbing and building inspectors in Toronto and Oakville where one of his duties was to serve in the court of law on behalf of the city as expert witness, presenting evidence for the prosecution or for the defense in lawsuits related to building code disputes.

With his extensive knowledge of the construction industry, Martin has also built several residential and commercial properties in Etobicoke, Stoney Creek, Oakville and Brantford.

A life long musician, Martin started taking piano accordion lessons at 9 years of age. He also picked up the button accordion and synthesizer on his own. By the time he was 14 Martin had started his own band with his brother John. Under his leadership, the “Ansambel Bratov Pusic, Veseli Vandravcki" entertained several generations of Slovenian, Austrian, German, Swiss, and Italian audiences for more than 30 years from 1965 to 1997, at countless weddings, banquets, picnics, concerts, festivals, and special occasions for Prime Ministers, Presidents, Premiers, and Mayors. The band had three successful European tours to Slovenia and Austria in 1972, 1979 and 1988. They produced two long-play albums and two 45’ records, appeared on local and Slovenian television programs, and garnered first place at the Canadian Polka Bands Festivals in 1978 and 1979.


Franca Anderson

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Franca (nee Drozina) Anderson, is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A. B. Ed.) and Brock University (M.Ed.).  She is a retired school principal of the Dufferin Peel CDSB.

Franca is known in the community as former president of  “Drustvo” Simon Gregorčič and a member of VSKO (Vseslovenski Kulturni Odbor). She has collaborated with other Slovenian Associations such as Slovenski Dom for Potica and Strudelj Baking initiatives.  Over the years Franca has liaised with American Slovenian communities, organizing various bus trips to picnics and banquets at SNPJ Enon Valley, Pennsylvania and the Slovenian National Home in Cleveland, Ohio.

Franca’s family participated in Toronto’s Slovenian immigrant community, attending church and cultural events at the  “Marija Pomagaj” parish as well as at various Slovenian clubs and parks. As a young girl, Franca took accordion lessons from well known music teachers Kazimir Fojs and Matt Lebar, and through their accordion school enjoyed performing in musical concerts.

As member of the Board of Directors for the Button Akordion Rocks, Slovenian cultural club and the Canadian Slovenian Historical Society Franca is dedicated to preserving our Canadian Slovenian legacy for future generations.


Leslie Brlec

Leslie Brlec brings 15 years of experience in the GTA Real Estate market to the table with confidence and determination. Her business acumen is highly regarded across Toronto where her commitment to personal ethics and the ongoing success of her established client base have seen her business goals not only grow but thrive in a highly competitive market.  

Although born in Toronto Leslie was immersed in Slovenian culture as a child and has developed strong relationships within the diaspora as a result. Her easy going nature and ability to make clients feel at ease bely an acute business sense.  

Leslie is on the Board of Directors in the Button Akordion Rocks, Slovenian cultural club. Recent regular summer sojourns to Slovenia have seen Leslie rekindle deep family and cultural connections in that country. As a dual citizen she is able to work without restriction across continents allowing her to plan, develop and implement business opportunities between Canada and Slovenia not only in the Real Estate sector but also in Food and Beverage, Import/Export and Cultural Tourism. 


Tanja Trigiani

Tanja Trigiani volunteered for the inaugural Canadian Slovenian Button Accordion Championship at Slovenski Park, Ontario, in 2016 and is now a proud member of the Organizing Committee and  Board of Directors in the Button Akordion Rocks, Slovenian cultural club.

Tanja is currently employed by the Toronto Catholic District School Board and prior to that, spent over 15 years in the staffing and recruiting industry, during which time her primary responsibilities were to ensure the smooth operation of the day-to-day business related activities of the office.  She possesses excellent customer service, time management and organizational skills.

Growing up around entertainers, Tanja always enjoyed listening to her family’s musical band “Veseli Vandravčki” while performing at banquets, weddings, picnics, festivals as well as during a tour through Slovenia in 1988.

She was also a member of the Mladi Glas Folklore Dance group for many years and toured Slovenia with them in 1995. 

Tanja has been a part of the community at Slovenski Park since she was a child and has been an official member with her young family since 2005. 


Majda Pusic

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Majda Pusic  is founding member of the Canadian Slovenian Button Accordion Championships, and founding member and Director of the Button Akordion Rocks, Slovenian cultural club.

Majda has worked in the information technology business for several decades in a variety of roles such as systems engineer, database architect, business intelligence consultant, and manager for a number of computer hardware/software/services companies. For the past 20 years she has been self-employed, providing consulting services to clients in a wide range of industries including telecom, banking, retail, health care, and government.  

Over the years, Majda has volunteered in a number of community and cultural organizations, including:
- Board of Director and Executive Committee member - Sloveniski Park (Cambridge, Ontario).
- Founding member and Board of Director - Le Club, Before and After School Child Care Program (Thornhill, Ontario).
- Past member of the Nagelj Folklore Dance Group (Toronto).
- Past member of the Veseli Vandravčki musical band for over 20 years (Toronto).

Majda continues to nurture her love of music by singing in a choir and entertaining her family at home on the ukulele, piano and most recently on the diatonic accordion.


Sarah Larsen

Sarah Larsen is an award-winning screenwriter, digital/broadcast producer, experienced editor and creative thinker. Some of her past work includes writing on a number of drama TV series (Aftermath, Darknet, Good Witch), filming promo videos in Bali for a yoga studio, producing a documentary for a Canadian charity building schools in Guatemala, and leading the postproduction department at a digital content agency. 

Born in Canada, with a dual Slovenian and Norwegian heritage, Sarah is very passionate about exploring stories on identity, ancestry and the importance of celebrating your cultural roots. 

As an active community volunteer in several non-profit organizations, Sarah has produced short films for Canadian Slovenian Youth Day in 2010, the Canadian Slovenian Button Accordion Championship in 2016 and 2018, and the first annual Pečenkafest at Slovenski Park. 

Sarah's love of music started at an early age when she would listen to her family’s musical band “Veseli Vandravčki” performing at banquets, weddings, picnics and festivals. She was also a member of the Mladi Glas Folklore Dance group for many years and toured Slovenia with them in 2010. Sarah plays the saxophone, guitar and piano.


Matthew Lebar

Matthew Lebar was lead Judge at the Canadian Slovenian Button Accordion Championships in 2016 and 2018. 

Matthew was born in Dolnja Bistrica, in the Prekmurje region of Slovenia in 1943. He began his musical career at the age of 16 when he started taking accordion lessons. His first band experience was playing in Triglav Orkester for about four years in the early sixties and then in his own band known as the Matt Lebar Ensemble in which he still performs today. 

Throughout the years Matt's band has enjoyed many successes across North America and the Caribbean. His band has provided backup on several occasions for Myron Floren of the well known Lawrence Welk Show fame, as well as for John Candy and Eugene Levy of the SCTV television series. The band has provided backup for singing stars from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on North American tours.

Matt was employed by the Metro Toronto Separate School Board where he taught band music for ten years. In addition, Matt taught private classes to young Slovenian Canadians for many years. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that through his tutelage and example, Matt has inspired more young musicians to enter the music business than any other Slovenian in Canada.


Dave Pusic

Dave Pusic is a founding member of the Canadian Slovenian Button Accordion Championships  and committee member since 2016.

Dave has worked in the construction industry for over 15 years, and currently manages his own company, Mastered Masonry, serving the west GTA.

Outside of work, Dave's hobbies include reading and sports, with a specific passion for baseball, which he has played from the age of 8 to the present day. Dave has been manager of his baseball team for over 15 years and has won multiple championship trophies over that time.

Dave has been an official member of Slovenski Park since 2009, but has been coming to the Park with his family pretty much all his life. He served on the Executive Committee for four years, first as a manager of construction projects and then as the Executive President for two years.

Dave has some musical genes too. He played trumpet during high school and danced with Mladi Glas Slovenian Folklore dance group for many years. 


Danny Šuštar

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Danny Šuštar is an audio impresario with over 40 years of technical music industry experience. He was given his first mixing console at age 13 and has never looked back.  His mixing and recording abilities include many aspects of the music industry including television, live broadcast, studio recording, radio, music production, movie soundtracks, digital mastering, live band mixing, outdoor festivals, stadiums, theatres and clubs.  

Danny has recorded and mixed music for over 500 television dramas and movie soundtracks for television networks including CBS, NBC, CBC, CTV, SN, TSC, CITY-TV and ABC. He has recorded countless indie bands and classic older bands. 

Danny currently works full time at City-TV on two of their most popular shows, Breakfast Television and Cityline.  He gets to meet a lot of interesting people but has the most fun mixing the bands on BT. Danny was even sent to LA to mix the red carpet show for the Grammy’s broadcast on City-TV across Canada.

He is also freelancing at MF Music’s recording studio mixing award winning TV and radio commercials. Danny’s specialty is surround mixing for which we won a New York Promax BDA award. He mixes various tracks for the Toronto Maple Leafs , Blue Jays, and Raptors sports teams.

Danny was inspired to start a Slovenian band at age 12. He formed his first band called “Valovi Krke” and later formed the band “Kvintet Soča”. Danny directed and played accordion for Mladi Glas & Planika Slovenian Dance group. He even played for the MGP dancers during their last tour in Slovenia with Sašo Avsenik in 2017. Danny also is the musician for the newly formed Plesati Slovenian Dance group in Ottawa which came in 2nd at the 2019 Canadian Slovenians Have Talent competition.

Danny hopes to bring his professional technical expertise to Button Akordion Rocks Club. He will be responsible for all of their technical requirements at the festivals, competitions and picnics. 

© Martin Pusic 2016 - 2019
martin.pusic@rogers.com