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About Polonia Music
Bob's Blog includes many entries from 2010 to the present.
CLICK HERE to see what I have been up to. Have fun!
Bob's Blog / About Me

 My name is Bob Johnson.  I am a retired teacher who currently resides in Rochester, New York. I am also an amateur acoustic guitarist who loves Polish music, especially kolendy.  As a boy, for six years I was a member of the St. Stanislaus Boys Choir. Today, I still enjoy the old Polish songs we used to sing under the direction of the Felician Sisters and often play those sweet melodies whenever I feel like kicking back and relaxing. I also have fond memories of my dad playing kolendy and other Polish songs on his violin. How great it would be to have a few recordings of his music and to hear him play again. Unfortunately, such recordings do not exist.

 I have started to put together a collection of kolendy recordings which I hope to share with my family and possibly make available online. Hopefully my grandkids will have a few good songs of their dziadzia playing guitar to remember me by.

 I always thought Christmas -- or any time of year, for that matter -- is best enjoyed when there's a musician in the family. My recordings won’t be “live” of course, but they will be as authentic as an aging choir boy’s musical memory permits. Wish me luck. Here are a few you can listen to now. ( I'm still working on the quality of the recordings.)
I also plan to post kolędy tutorials for the benefit of other amateur guitarists. This will take some time, of course. In the meantime, you can find the lyrics and chords for many or your favorites HERE.

  Mam na imie Bob Johnson. Jestem emerytowanym nauczycielem, który obecnie mieszka w Rochester, w stanie Nowy Jork. Gram również na gitarze akustycznej i kocham muzykę polską, zwłaszcza kolendy. Jako chłopiec, przez sześć lat byłem
członkiem Chlopiecego Chóru Imienia Sw. Stanisława. Dziś nadal siegam do
starych polskich piosenek, które śpiewał kiedyś pod kierunkie Sióstrtr
Felicjanek. Często odgrywam te słodkie melodie i odczuwam to jako powrot do przeszłośći i relaks.
Wspominam rowniez miłe mego ojca grajacego na skrzypcach kolędy i melodie innych polskich piosenek. Jakze wspaniałe byloby mieć kilka nagran jego muzyki aby posluchać Go grajacego ponownie... Niestety takie nagrania nie istnieją. 

  Zaczałem gromadzić zbiór nagran koled, które mam nadzieje przekazać mojej rodzinie i jeśli to mozliwe umiescić je na internetowej stronie. Mam nadzieje, że moje wnuki będą  miały kilka dobrych piosenek nagranych przez ich "dziadzia" przy akompaniamencie gitary, laczać z tym pamięć o mnie.

  Zawsze uwazałem, że Boże Narodzenie - a właściwie żazdy okres roku - cieszy najbardziej, gdy posrod rodziny jest muzyk. Moje nagrania nie będą oczywiście "na żywo", lecz będą na tyle autentyczne na ile pozwala na to pamięć starzejacego sie członka chóru chłopiecego. Życz mi powodzenia! Oto kilka których można posłuchać już teraz (nadal pracuję nad poprawa jakośći nagrań).
Zamierzam także umieśćić poradnik nauki kolęd pomocny dla innych gitarzystówamatorów. To zajmie trochę czasu, oczywiście. Tymczasem można znaleźć tekstyi akordy wielu popularnych koled TUTAJ.

Am-pol Eagle Interview (7/29/2010)
Link to article:

1. Why put up the website?
I think anyone who grew up singing or listening to Polish songs can’t help but love Polish music. Every culture has its music, but I think Polish music, with its beautiful melodies and interesting rhythms is unique. I set up PoloniaMusic.com mainly because I have an interest in sharing the music of our ancestors with others, especially with our children and grandchildren, who nowadays may not have the opportunity to hear the music that many of us grew up with. In Poland, traditional Polish music is still strong, but I feel it’s losing ground among our children. 

When I was a boy, Polish music was enjoyed each and every day. When I attended grammar school, I was a member of the St. Stanislaus Boys Choir and sang Polish songs daily both in church and in class. Years ago, Polish music was also heard at home. My classmates and I knew the very same songs our parents learned when they were children. I don’t think that happens much anymore. I’d like to get Polish music back in the home so children can hear it more often. Ultimately, my web site is for the children.
By setting up a web site that is dedicated to Polish heritage music, and by that I mean the basic songs everyone with Polish roots should know, I hope to provide amateur musicians, like myself, with the resources they need (lyrics, chords, audio, video, and tutorials) to learn a few Polish standards to be shared with friends and family. Non-musicians can also visit the site to learn more about our rich musical heritage. 

2. What does Polish music mean to you?
What does it mean to any Pole or Polish-American? It means a great deal. I’m like anyone else. Just go to any of Polonia’s festivals or concerts and watch how our eyes light up when the band begins to play, or how our pride swells when we see folk dancers perform any of Poland’s national dances, or how our eyes well up with tears when we hear a hymn like “Serdeczna Matko”. Polish music is in your soul and it unites us all.

3. What is your favorite song? Favorite koledy?
I come from a musical family. My dad’s older brother, Victor Johnson, was the “upstairs organist” at St. Stan’s Church and my Aunt Ursula was the organist for the downstairs chapel before the turn of the last century. Another aunt, Sister Mary Nathaniel, was a  organist and choir director at various schools and churches; and my dad played the violin. I don’t know the name of the song, but there’s a mazurka my dad used to play that’s been on my mind since he passed away. Whatever this lively tune is called, it’s my favorite Polish melody. So far, no one seems to know its title. I also like Hej Sokoły, an old folk song that relates the emotions of a Polish soldier who had to leave his sweetheart to defend his homeland. As he lay dying on the battlefield, he calls out to falcons flying overhead and begs them to carry his love back to her, though he knows he will never see her again. Hej Sokoły is the first song you will hear when you enter my web site.

My favorite koledy is “Śliczna Panienka”, but there are so many, it’s hard to choose.

4. What memories of Polish music are important to you? Describe them.
I have two favorite musical memories. The first is singing for midnight mass every year after our Christmas wigilia. The second is listening to my dad and sister play koledy duets on violin and piano. They were great! I have always felt that folk music is truly the best music there is. I also believe a family with one or two musicians willing to stir things up from time to time, is a family blessed with good fortune. Music that is handed down from generation to generation has withstood the test of time. I hope we don’t lose what has taken centuries to build. I hope it isn’t too late.

5. Who should visit the website and why?
Everyone is welcome, of course. Please visit PoloniaMusic.com if you would like to learn more about Polish music, or simply if you would like to be entertained. Many people visit just to watch the videos I have posted of various professional and amateur performers. I attend many events within the Polonia community and try to showcase our local talent whenever I can. Currently, the polka page and the section that features our Western New York and Southern Ontario dance ensembles, like Cracovia, the Harmony Polish Folk Ensemble and the Polish Heritage Dancers are getting the most hits. If you don’t know the difference between a polonaise and a krakowiak, or between push-style and honky-style polka music, you might consider paying us a visit. The Chopin playlist is also popular: just turn it on, close your eyes and enjoy.  As the Christmas season approaches, I’m sure the koledy pages with lyrics, chords and tutorials will grow in popularity. Just keep in mind that the site is still in its infancy, and new information is being added everday.

PoloniaMusic.com was launched on May 26, 2010

Bob's Blog
It goes without saying that Polish music has always been an important part of Polonia's musical heritage. If you attended St. Stanislaus School in Buffalo, New York, you may be interested in this rare photo of the St. Stan's Boys Choir. The photo is of the Lennon Sisters (of the Lawrence Welk Show fame) posing with our choir at a Christmas concert at Kleinhans Music Hall. Kolendy were a staple of every Christmas repertoire. If you are interested, I am third row from the front and second from the right.
The Lennon Sisters (and Felician Sisters) with the St. Stanislaus Boys Choir 
 Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, NY 
December, 1959
1. Po co tworzyć strony?
Sadze, ze kazdy kto wyrosl spiewajac lub sluchajac polskich piesni, pozostanie milosnikiem polskiej muzyki. Kazda kultura ma swoja odrebna muzyke, lecz sadze ze muzyka polska, ze swoimi pieknymi melodiami i ineteresujacymi rytmami, jest wyjatkowa. Zalozylem strone PoloniaMusic.com przede wszystkim aby dzielic sie muzyka naszych przodkow z innymi, przede wszystkim z naszymi dziecmi i wnukami, ktorym brak zapewne mozliwosci sluchania tej muzyki, wsrod ktorej wielu z nas wyrastalo. W Polsce tradycyjna polska muzyka jest nadal powszechna, ale czuje, ze traci ona popularnosc posrod naszych dzieci.

Gdy bylem chlopcem, polska muzyka cieszyla nas kazdego dnia. Gdy uczeszczalem do szkoly podstawowej, bylem czlonkiem Choru Chlopiecego Imienia Sw. Stanislawa
i spiewalem polskie piesni codziennie, zarowno w kosciele jak i w klasie. Przed laty polska muzyka rozbrzmiewala rowniez w domach. Moi koledzy szkolni tak jak i ja znali dokladnie te same piesni, ktore nasi rodzice znali z
dziecinstwa. Nie sadze, aby mialo to miejsce obecnie. Chcialbym przywrocic polska muzyke do domow, tak aby dzieci mogly jej czesciej sluchac. W koncu moja strona internetowa jest wlasnie dla dzieci. Zakladajac strone internetowa dedykowana polskiej tradycyjnej muzyce, a mam
na mysli podstawowe melodie i piosenki ktore kazdy z polskimi korzeniami powinien znac, mam nadzieje udostepnic amatorom muzykom, takim jak ja sam,
potrzebne srodki (teksty, akordy, audio, video i poradniki) do zapoznania sie z podstawowymi zasadami Polskiej muzyki, ktore mozna propagowac w gronie przyjaciol i w rodzinach. Pozostali moga znalezc na tej stronie internetowej
dodatkowe informacje na temat naszej bogatej spuscizny w dziedzinie muzyki.

2. Jakie ma znaczenie polska muzyka dla kazdego z nas?
Jakie ma ona znaczenie dla kazdego Polaka i Polaka-Amerykanina? Ma ogromne znaczenie. Ja mysle i czuje tak jak kazdy z nas. Wystarczy wybrac sie na jakis polonijny festiwal lub koncert i mozna zauwazyc jak nasze oczy blyszcza gdy zespol muzyczny zaczyna grac, lub jak rosnie w nas duma gdy widzimy ludowy zespol taneczny wykonywujacy jakis polski taniec, lub jak nasze oczy wypelniaja sie lzami gdy slyszymy hymn taki jak "Serdeczna Matko". Polska muzyka jest w naszych duszach i laczy nas wszystkich.

3. Jaka jest Twoja ulubiona piesn? Ulubiona koleda?
Ja pochodze z muzykalnej rodziny. Starszy brat ojca, Victor Johnson, byl organista w "gornej czesci" kosciola Sw. Stanislawa, a moja Ciotka Ursula  byla organista w kaplicy w "dolnej czesci" kosciola u schylku ubieglego wieku. Inna ciotka, Siostra Mary Nathaniel, byla organista i dyrygentem choru w roznych szkolach i kosciolach. A moj ojciec gral na skrzypcach. Nie pamietam tytulu tej piesni, lecz byl to mazurek ktory moj ojciec grywal, ktory utkwil mi w pamieci od czasu Jego smierci. Jakkolwiek ta skoczna melodia jest nazywana, jest to moj ulubiony polski utwor. Jak dotad wydaje sie, ze nikt nie zna tytulu tej melodii. Lubie takze "Hej Sokoly", stara polska ludowa piosenke ktora opiewa uczucia
polskiego zolnierza, ktory musial zostawic swoja luba aby isc bronic ojczyzny. Gdy lezy umierajacy na polu bitwy, wola do sokolow krazacych wysoko i prosi o to by przeniosly jego milosc do ukochanej, lecz wie, ze nie zobaczy jej juz wiecej. "Hej Sokoly" to pierwsza piosenka ktora uslyszysz otwierajac moja strone internetowa.

Moja ulubiona koleda jest "Sliczna Panienka", lecz jest tych koled tak wiele, ze trudno wybrac.

4. Jakie wspomnienia zwiazane z polska muzyka sa dla Ciebie istotne? Opisz je.
Ja mam dwa szczegolne wspomnienia zwiazane z muzyka. Pierwsze to spiewanie na pasterce (mszy o polnocy) po naszej Wigilii Bozego Narodzenia. Drugie to sluchanie koled, ktore moj Tato i Siostra grywali na skrzypcach i pianinie. Byli wspaniali! Zawsze czulem, ze muzyka ludowa jest prawdziwie najlepsza istniejaca muzyka. Wierze takze, ze rodzina z jednym lub dwoma muzykami chcacymi wprowadzac wir muzyki od czasu do czasu, jest rodzina obdarzona dodatkowym lutem szczescia. Muzyka ktora jest przekazywana z generacji na generacje wytrzymuje test czasu. Mam nadzieje, ze nie utracimy tego co wymagalo wiekow do wytworzenia. Mam nadzieje, ze nie jest za pozno.

5. Kto powinien odwiedzic te strone internetowa i dlaczego?
Kazdy jest mile widziany, oczywiscie. Odwiedzaj strone PoloniaMusic.com jesli chcesz dowiedziec sie czegos wiecej o polskiej muzyce, lub gdy po prostu szukasz rozrywki. Wielu odwiedza po prostu aby obejrzec video odtwarzajace nagrania roznych zawodowych muzykow i muzykow amatorow. Bywam na wielu spotkaniach w polonijnym kregu i probuje rozpowszechniac nasze lokalne talenty gdzie tylko mozna. Obecnie, strona dotyczaca "polki" i dzial dotyczacy grup tanecznych z Zachodniego Nowego Jorku oraz Poludniowego Ontario, takich jak "Cracovia", "Harmony Polish Folk Ensamble" oraz "Polish Heritage Dancers", sa najczesciej odwiedzane. Jezeli nie wiesz jaka jest roznica pomiedzy polonezem a krakowiakiem, lub miedzy "push-style" i "honky-style" muzyka "polka", mozesz zechciec odwiedzic nasza strone. Lista nagran muzyki Chopina jest takze popuplarna: Wlacz odtwarzanie, zamknij oczy i upajaj sie ta muzyka. Jestem pewien, ze gdy nastapi okres Swiat Bozego Narodzenia, to wtedy wzrosnie popularnosc stron ze slowami koled, akordami muzycznymi i poradnikami nauki gry. Prosze wziac pod uwage, ze moja strona jest nowa i nadal w poczatkach swegorozwoju.

Wiadomo bez slow, ze polska muzyka byla zawsze wazna czescia tradycji muzyki polonijnej. Jezeli uczeszczales do Szkoly Sw. Stanislawa w Buffalo, w stanie Nowy Jork, moze jestes zainteresowany tym rzadko osiagalnym zdjeciem Choru Chlopiecego Sw. Stanislawa. Jest to zdjecie "Lennon Sisters" (ze slawnego "Lawrence Welk).
"Choć po nas pamięć zginie, 
Już za niedługi czas, 
Niech piosnka w dal popłynie 
Póki jesteśmy wraz."

"Though thought of us will soon perish,
With the great sands of time,
May songs we love and cherish,
Ring out in happy rhyme.

3rd row up, second from the right
Polonia Music Year in Review: 2010
At the turn of the new year, Polonia Music has been online for just a little over seven months and I am happy to report that it has been very well received by the Polish-American community, especially by guitarists who are interested in Polish music.Thank you to those of you who have expressed an appreciation for my efforts.

From a strictly personal standpoint, putting Polonia Music together has been a very rewarding adventure. Since I began working on it last May, I have made many new friends and attended many music-related Polish-American cultural events that have, among other things, brought me back to my Polish roots and greatly enriched my life. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Without question, the most dramatic moment of the year for me was the discovery that my mother's cousin, Henryk Adamski, was one of the twelve Polish-Americans known to have been victimized in 1940 by the Russians in the Katyń Forest. Certainly I never would have made this discovery if I had not been an acquaintance of  Andy Golebiowski.  I had met Andy on Dyngus Day in Buffalo while videotaping the event for what was to soon to become www.PoloniaMusic.com. This time I was the one with the camera, and Andy, a WGTZ-TV photojournalist and Polish-American advocate, had temporarily set his camera aside to help out with a fundraising effort to benefit the Polish Legacy Project-WWII. When I saw a familiar photo of an Adamski from Buffalo posted on Andy's Facebook wall, I hurried down to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library to see what going on. (Read more)Thank you, Andy, for bringing the Katyń Massacre Traveling Exhibit to the community's attention! 

  • If that weren't enough, I got to wondering whatever happened to Henryk's wife and daughter, Stanisława and Danuta, after the Katyń Massacre.  I was shocked to discover their story was just as compelling. (Read more). With great joy, I can report that I was able to locate Danuta, who has lived in Australia since 1950, when she and her mother eventually found freedom after many years of struggle and hardship. Just a week ago, I was able to exchange Christmas wishes (and virtual opłatek and hugs) with Danuta and other Adamski cousins I have been able to find in Podolsze, Poland, and much closer to home in Cheektowaga, New York.

Res. Lieutenant Henryk Franciszek Adamski
Stanisława, Danuta and Henryk                                   Nancy Adamski               Bob Johnson        
  • From my perspective, perhaps the best thing about building a website like this is the knowledge you pick up along the way. There has never been a doubt in my mind that traditional Polish music is an immense treasure chest packed with enchanting melodies and rhythms. From working on my website, I have discovered that our musical heritage is much deeper than I had imagined. The deeper one digs, the more precious the gems one finds. I only hope I will be able to adequately display these treasures as I continue to showcase our musical wealth. I realize I have so much more to learn and to discover, which means I have much to look forward to in the new year.

  • To date I have posted the lyrics and guitar chords for more than forty Christmas songs and a growing number of folk and religious songs and hymns. In most cases, either audio or video samples have been included to provide visitors who are unfamiliar with our Polish heritage a chance to hear what the songs are supposed to sound like. Although I was able to post many demonstration videos (and in some cases, the guitar tablature) for the benefit of those interested in fingerpicking these songs, there were some problems. Unfortunately, I  experienced recording problems along the way that in my opinion result in inadequate video and audio samples. I hope to resolve these issues soon, however. Wish me luck!

  • I also got to read a lot. You can't be involved in a project like this without wanting to learn more about the history of Poland and its people. Also, I advertise a number of Polish books on my site, so it is only right that I read some of them too. When I was young, my dad always told me the works of Henry Sienkiewicz were a must read. I finally read Quo Vadis,  a few years after he passed away in 1977. Dad was right. Quo Vadis is still the best novel I have ever read! Twenty-five years later, I read With Fire and Sword, with every intention to ultimately read the remainder of the Sienkiewicz's trilogy and this year, I finally got around to read The Deluge; both of which I found just as fascinating as Quo VadisDiane Ruszczyk, a major contributor to this site, recommended The Polish Way, which I enjoyed very much. I also read (and recommend): The History of the Polish Americans by John J. Bukowczyk, Jadwiga's Crossing by Aloysius and Richard Lutz, and The Last Fine Time by Verlyn Klinkenborg and Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin. I should also mention I did read some other works that I cannot recommend. Diane also recommended Pimsleur's Conversational Polish, which I find very useful in my lifelong pursuit to improve my very limited Polish language skills. The Am-Pol Eagle Newspaper and the Polish American Journal are also publications I subscribe to and recommend.

  • A special thrill and challenge for me has been the opportunity to play kolędy i pastoralki in public. I'm do not play guitar professionally; I'm just a guy who likes to kick back and relax with a guitar in his hand waiting for music to happen. I have been playing many or our Polish Christmas songs during the holidays for many years, but only for pleasure. This year, as a result of the increased frequency of playing these songs for YouTube, I decided I knew them well enough to attempt to perform them publicly. Polska Chata European Delicatessen in Irondequoit, NY was the ideal venue for such an adventure. The setting is very intimate and relaxed, and the proprietors and staff are very welcoming. Besides, the food was great! The next time you are in the Rochester area, be sure to pay them a visit.
I now consider myself to be a seasoned performer because I have learned not to stop right in the middle of a song when my dinner is being served. 

  • The website proved to be a good excuse to travel to the Detroit area to see Orchard Lake and to check out the annual Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Polish Festival in Wyandotte, Michigan. It was a blast! Now I have to decide where to go this summer. There are so many Polish communities I would like to visit, but I'm not too worried yet. I'm still young.

  • Finally, I was lucky to get to see Mazowzse with my daughters when the world renowned dance troupe visited Buffalo in November. I'm sure we would have gone anyway, but the experience was enhanced by getting to see a few new friends I have made since launching the website. Good times!

Well that's it for 2010. Thank you for taking the time to read all this. I wish you the best in 2011.

Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!
Happy New Year!

Polonia Music Year in Review: 2011
July 26, 2011

In addition to working on this website, I have had the opportunity to attend or participate in numerous events throughout the spring and summer months. Some of the highlights include:
  • The Wadowski-Bak Art Exhibit at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York. The exhibit runs through to November 27, so be sure to see it. While I was there, I picked up a copy of Fr. Czesław Krysa's beautiful book, "A Polish Christmas Eve: Traditions and Recipes, Decorations and Song."
  • Dyngus Day in Buffalo, at which I videotaped Melody Lane at Central Terminal, the main Dyngus Day venue, and at Dnipro Ukranian Center on Genesee Street. Melody Lane is a talented band that performs a wide variety of musical material in different languages.  I was able to hear and videotape them again at Polska Chata in Rochester, and look forward to seeing them at St. Stanislaus Kostka's Polish Festival in Rochester on August 5 and 6.
  • A visit to the Polish Room located in Room 517 of the Lockwood Memorial Library on the North Campus of the University at Buffalo
  • The Saint John's Eve celebration at the Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle located at 612 Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo.
  • The Polish Heritage Festival in Hamburg, New York, where I met Kenneth K. Koskodan, the author of "No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland's Forces in World War II". I think everyone should read this book. Also, it was there where I met Laurel Keogh from the Polish Genealogy Society of NYS, who helped me locate the cemetery where my great-grandfather was buried. It turns out he was indeed buried at St. Hyacinth's Cemetery in Dunkirk New York, but there is no marker at his gravesite. By the way, his obituary and his cemetery records have him listed as Ambrose Jasick, which is a misspelling of his Polish name, Jasiek. Thank you Laurel!

My future summer plans include the following events:
  • Blessed Mary Angela Summer Festival Dunkirk NY, August 14

Wow, this is one wild and crazy summer!

Before ending this entry, I should mention two things: Resurgence and the release of my Christmas CD.

Mary Jane Masiulionis of Buffalo is spearheading a project to research and document "the rich folk, classical, and patriotic music of Polonia". Her project is called "Resurgence" and I am looking forward to supporting her in this worthwhile cause. You will hear much more about it in the very near future.

Graj, Panu, Graj!
You may recall my writing that is website is an offshoot of my desire to record myself playing kolędy for my children and grandchildren. The collection of 23 of my favorite kolędy i pastorałki is finally near completion and will be released for download or in CD form this November 1. I hope you will purchase a copy. I am in the process of creating a page dedicated to the album, but it is still under construction. Go ahead - CLICK HERE for a peek!

October 19, 2011
I was delighted to travel to a number of festivals since my last update. Each was a lot of fun and I hope to do it all again next festival season. Two of the most interesting trips I took me across the border into Polish Canada. The dozynki I witnessed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario was incredible. (Photos) and the three day celebration at Toronto's Roncesvalles Polish Festival was a hoot. My only regret is the festival was so large, I did not get to see it all! This is why I must return of course. Check out my pics and vidz HERE.

I would also like to extend my congratulations to Andrew Golebiowski who was named 2011 Buffalo Bisons Polish-American of the Year. Andy is a true Pole and a powerful advocate for our Polish community. Needless to say, Andy truly deserved the honor of throwing out the first pitch for Polish-American Night at Coca Cola Field in Buffalo, N.Y. Good arm, Andy! Congratulations!!!

Of course the big thing for me is getting everything together to release my first Polish Christmas album. My friend, Mary Jane Masiulionis recommended Dan Haskin of Data Design Group for the cover art and, I must say, he certainly did a wonderful job. Thank your Dan, and thank you Mary Jane.

Over 200 people shared opłatek and sang Polish Christmas Carols at the the Opłatek and Kolęda held on Jan. 17, 2011 at the  St. Stanislaus Msgr. Peter Adamski Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The carolling was led by Fr. Czesław Krysa and the Polish Heritage Dancers. 
Jacob Johnson
Graj, Panu, Graj!
23 Instrumental Kolędy i Pastorałki Treasures
Performed by
Bob Johnson
Hard copies of "Graj, Panu, Graj" 
are now available.

The most important part of the Christmas recording project was getting audio clips of my four grandchildren and working their parts into the music. Their young voices can be heard in two carols: "Lulajże Jezuniu" and "Północ już była". (Two of the children were just a few days old when they recorded their parts.) Personally I feel the inclusion of their voices adds a great deal of meaning to the music because they represent the future of Polonia. The innocence heard in their voices will hopefully be a joy to anyone who hears them.
But another part of my task was to link the future to the past. I tried to accomplish this by playing the pizzicato part of "O Gwiazda Betlejemska" on my father's violin. I do not play the violin, but I think the simple "plink-plink" I managed to get out of that old violin not only serves as an homage to my dad but to all family musicians who brought Polish music into our homes. To me, their music lives on.

The CD is now ready. Order yours now so you can enjoy it throughout the Christmas season.

October 20, 2011
Wow, I just sat down to read the Am-Pol Eagle newspaper and noticed that author and Warsaw correspondent Robert Strybel ("The Polish Answer Man") has extended international recognition to PoloniaMusic.com by mentioning this website in his column:

Thank you for the plug, Pan Strybel. Your endorsement is greatly appreciated.

You can find interesting things about Polish music and culture, learn the words and guitar chords to various Polish hymns, songs and carols as well as hear different kinds of Polish music online at http:// www. poloniamusic.com.
Robert Strybel 
("The Polish Answer Man")
November 22, 2011
Every two years in Cleveland, Ohio, local Polish folk dancers get together to put on a performance for the community called "Zatańczmy" (Let's dance). I attended this year's celebration, and I must say it was spectacular. The video on the right provides a good overview.  CLICK HERE to view additional photos and videos of the event. Consider seeing the show live in 2013.
November 25, 2011
Early sales of my Christmas CD are strong. One of the first people to order a copy was someone named Zasada from the Buffalo area. I thought there was a chance she might be related to my old cubmaster, when I belonged to St. Stanislaus' Pack 1 and Troop 1 in the late '50's. Mrs. Zasada wrote back and told me she was indeed related, but sadly her husband, the scout leader, passed away years ago at the young age of 53. She included of a photo of several scouts posing at the entrance to our scout rooms on Townsend Street. I was amazed to see that one of the scouts was my brother, Frank. What a coincidence! Here's the photo:

She also told me that another one of our scout leaders, Mr. Lewandowski, is a resident at a nursing home in Cheektowaga. I hope to visit him soon to thank him for at the time and energy he put into providing hundreds of us with the opportunity to take part in scouting. Those guys were my heroes.

Of course Mr. Zasada and Mr. Lewandowski have been on my mind lately, so I was surprised to see a photo of Mr. Lewandowski and his wife a few nights ago when I visited the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle on Fillmore Ave. I am sorry the photo is so bad; I only had my pocket camera with me but I'll get a better image the next time I visit AMLDC.
My brother, Frank  ===>
Mr. Lewandowski
Some of PoloniaMusic.com's photos of Polish folk dancers are now part of a permanent display in the newly renovated Applebees Restaurant on Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga, N.Y. The photos are intended as a tribute to local dance troupes, especially the Harmony Polish Folk Ensemble  and the Polish Heritage Dancers of Western New York, that work so hard to promote our Polish heritage. If you would like to read the Am-Pol Eagle article, CLICK HERE. Thank you, dancers!

December 22, 2011
The town where the Johnson's paternal ancestors are from has been identified: Piaseczno, Poland. There are quite a number of villages named Piaseczno in Poland, the most well-known being the town of Piaseczno located just south of Warsaw.  Our Piaseczno is in the north-central part of the country within walking distance from the town of Sępólno Krajeńskie. Finally, we know where the Jasiek's are from.

On December 10, I took part in the Wigilia put on by the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester. It was a magnificent affair featuring kolendy and a traditional Wigilia dinner.

CLICK HERE to view photos and videos of the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester's 10th Annual Wigilia Dinner 

Cicha noc /  Silent Night
The recently remodeled Applebees Restaurant at 1785 Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, New York now displays photographs of the Polish Heritage Dancers of WNY and Polish Harmony Folk Ensemble on some of its walls. Dancers from the Lechowia Polish Dance Ensemble from Toronto, Ontario are also featured.

January 12, 2012
Now that Christmas is over and Polonia Music is entering a new year, I am happy to announce I have decided to record a second album. The new CD will be a collection of my favorite Polish folk melodies. I think I might call it  "Dziadzia's Favorite Polish Folk Melodies" which is direct and to the point.  

Thank you to everyone who purchased my Christmas album and to those who took the time to write how much they enjoyed the music. Your comments were very encouraging and heartwarming.

February 23, 2012
A few weeks ago, I received a congratulatory message from one of my Facebook friends; the trouble was he did not say exactly what he was congratulating me for! Little by little other FB friends did the same, but I had no idea what they were referring to. About two hours later my copy of the Am-Pol Eagle Newspaper arrived in the mail and I discovered that I was chosen by the Am-Pol Eagle to be this the 2011 recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award for culture. I consider this a great honor and appreciate the recognition. I also would like to extend my congratulations to the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester, to Facebook buddy, Mary Lanham, and all the others being honored this year by the Am-Pol Eagle. You can read more about it on their website. CLICK HERE, then scroll down to the bottom of the page.

I just completed revamping my page for the Polish Heritage Dancers of Western New York, which includes photos and videos of the annual Pączki Day Celebration last weekend at the Heartstone Manor in Depew, N.Y. Check it out HERE.

Eddie Zawadzki, author of "The Poles in the New World" will be appeared at Polska Chata European Delicatessen in Rochester, N.Y. on Saturday, February 25 and on Sunday, February 26th at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church right after mass. It's always good to see Eddie and his mom, plus I am always looking for an excuse to eat at Polska Chata!

March and April, 2012
There is always a lot going on in Western New York:
  • General Pulaski Wreathlaying took place on March 2nd in dowtown Buffalo. This year we had extraordinarily fair weather for the ceremony. Photos of the ceremony are on this site's Polish in Buffalo page and can be viewed HERE.
  • St. Casimir's Oratory in Buffalo, New York had a pre-Easter event (EasterFest) featuring Easter traditions and customs from a variety of cultures.Photos can be viewed HERE. The event was a huge success and I do believe they will hold again next year... and the next...
  • We had a nice day for the yearly drowning of Marzanna. So long winter, hello spring! A video of the drowning can be seen on the Polish in Buffalo page. Thanks to the Harmony Polish Folk Dancers, Amy Smardz, and the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle for organizing this and other cultural events throughout the year.
  • For Święconka, I traveled to Syracuse. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, just down the street from the Polish Home is beautiful and worth the drive in my opinion. See Polish in Syracuse.
  • Dyngus Day 2012 - What can I say? It was HUGE! Super duży! The best part about it was I got to enjoy the parade with my daughter and my granddaughter, the latter of whom had a blast catching the candy the paraders were tossing from their floats. The Polish Cafe, put on by the Polish Legacy Project, was great. (Too bad they only open for Dyngus Day.) Standing room only! Later I caught the folk dance performance at Polish Cadets on Grand and Amherst Streets and then went to Dnipro's on Genesee Street to see my pals, Melody Lane, put on another great show. The band known as Melody Lane (Chet, Daria, and Mark) will be performing at 58th Polish Scholarship Festival at Syracuse's Clinton Square June 8, 9 and 10, 2012. Details are HERE.

  • On April 21, I was among a number of individuals and organizations honored by the Am-Pol Eagle Newspaper at St. Adalbert's Basilica in Buffalo, New York. I am grateful (even stunned) that I was recognized for my efforts to promote Polish culture through this web site. For the complete list of 2011 Citizen of the Year Award recipients, CLICK HERE. Than you.
  • The month of April ended with a viewing of the film "An Officer's Wife" at The Little Theater in Rochester. You can read my review of this excellent an extremely moving film HERE.

I recently created quite a buzz on Facebook when I announced I bought a "Vette'. Actually my new accordion is a Carvette made in Italy. Sweet ride!
May and June, 2012
  • I spent Memorial Day weekend in Old Forge, New York at the 15th Annual Adirondack Polka Festival. The weather was beautiful and I had a nice time. Check out my pics HERE.
  • A few days later, I had the pleasure of attending a polka party at St. Stan's Kostka Church in Rochester featuring the inimitable John Gora & Gorale. What a blast! Everyone had a great time. In fact, people are still talking about it months later. Photos and a videos HERE.
  • ​On June 23, I attended the Wianki festivities at the Polish Consulate in Toronto, Ontario. Wreaths were cast into Lake Ontario after an afternoon of music and dance. The folk dance troupe, Radość-Joy, was sensational, and so were the other performers. Such a beautifl view of the Toronto skyline from the Consolate gardens too:
CLICK HERE to get to the Wianki page.
View of the Toronto Skyline from the Polish Consulate in Toronto, Ontario
July and August, 2012
I suppose I should mention that I finished recording my second CD, which is a collection of many of my  favorite Polish folk melodies. "Treasured Polish Folk Melodies" is largely an instrumental effort, although I do sing one of the songs, "Nie chodż Marysiu do lasa". The CD should be ready for distribution sometime in the fall. Hope you like it. 

So what else happened? Here are some of the highlights:
  • Melody Lane at Polish Happy Hour (Sponsored by the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester)

Of course, the biggest thing is I left for Poland on August 25. You can follow me as I visit the villages where my grandparents lived before emigrating to America. Follow me HERE.
Historic Wawel Hill in Krakow is such and amazing place. I'm glad I finally got to visit this beautiful land.

Bob's Blog continues...
  • Daily work on this website and my presence at various Polonia events has motivated me to do a better job in researching my Polish roots. By accident, the history of the Adamski side of the family took care of itself. But what about the Johnson's? Much has been written about my paternal grandfather, Jacob Johnson (Jasiek), in the St. Stanislaus Parish fifty-year jubilee publication and in other resources that focus on the early history of Buffalo's Polish community, but little is known about his parents and their journey to America . With the help of Monica Rzepka, a Buffalo genealogist, the Honorable Walter F. Drag (Judge, Dunkirk City Court, Cornell University, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and the Chautauqua County Clerks Office), I was able to clear up a few mysteries about my great-grandfather, Ambrose Johnson (Ambroży Jasiek), who in 1857 was one of the earliest Polish immigrants to settle in Dunkirk, NY. I plan to continue researching my family tree in 2011. If you have any information on the Dunkirk Johnson's (of Polish descent), please let me know. [E-mail]