April, 2016 - Western New York enjoyed beautiful weather on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately the day after, Dyngus Day was cold, windy and rainy. The poor weather of course did not effect any of the many indoor parties, but the participating in or viewing the parade required heavy winter gotki, hats boots and gloves. In a way we were lucky, however, because a week later the weather got much worse with snow and temps in the teens and twenties. Check out my parade video and view my pics HERE.
Here's my second video featuring my new Hohner piano accordion. People should realize I am just starting to learn to play the accordion seriously. Having taken piano lessons as a boy, I have always been able to fake my way through one or two simple songs on the accordion, but it's only now that I am beginning to study it more seriously. Learning a musical instrument takes practice and I think now that I have a more compact accordion at my disposal, I seem to have the desire to learn the instrument to my personal level of satisfaction.
Wish me luck.
Words and music to Czerwony jagody (Red Berries) are HERE.
Urszula Gacek, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York
Friday, April 15th, 7:30 pm
Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester River Campus
When I was a rookie teacher in Northern New York, one of the other teachers asked me what I wanted to do when I retired. I had never given retirement a thought. Really, I was just happy to have job and the means to support my young family. So I gave him no answer, just a blank look. Wish I had a clue.
Another teacher, an English teacher, said he wanted to lock himself up in some secluded cabin and write the great American novel. That was not for me I thought, but good for him. Yet another teacher said his dream was to acquire a good collection of musical instruments and spend his time learning to play them. Hmm, that sounded pretty good to me.
Throughout my career I thought about the latter teacher's response and wondered if I could ever be so lucky. Guess what, I am! I have enough instruments now to keep me busy for years. Only recently have I acquired a good accordion (my Hohner. Yes, I know there are fancier accordions, but I like this one.) Only now am I taking the time to learn a few numbers on an instrument that many of my friends mastered forty or fifty years ago. Better late than never! Actually I just started applying myself about four weeks ago. I took piano lessons when I was young, so it isn't like I am starting from scratch.
Hope you like this number: Czerwone jabłusko (Red Apple). Hope you like my hat too!
There is a lot going on in my neck of the woods over the next few weeks. Here are some of the events taking place:
April 23, 2016
- Am-Pol Eagle Citizens of the Year Awards - Mass at 5:30 PM followed by Awards Presentation at St. Adalbert's Basilica, Buffalo, NY
- Kalina Singing Society 115th Anniversary and Scholarship Dinner - Millennium Hotel, Cheektowaga, NY. Doors open at 5:30 PM, short program 6 PM, dinner to follow, Tickets $25, Judy Sielski at 716-668-1420.
- Screening NINE DAYS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: 2 pm - The Ring of Knowledge main floor of the Downtown Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY.
April 25, 2016 - The Polish Community And The Pan-American Exposition: Buffalo, NY 1901
a media presentation by Jacqueline Ornsby and Anthony Kunz, Piano. The presentation is Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at Canisius College, Regis Room on the 2nd Floor of the Richard E. Winter '42 Student Center on Hughes Avenue. Buffalo, New York.
May 1, 2016 - Polish Constitution Day Celebration, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY.
Sunday, May 1, 3 - 5 pm, Bernat Room in the Falcone Library. Open house celebrating the 3rd of May Polish Constitution and see the entire de Ropp Polish Art Collection.
Librarian Inga Barnello will describe the history and hopeful future of the paintings and tapestries.
May 9 (1 pm) & May 11 (6 PM) - Screening KARSKI & THE LORDS OF HUMANITY - Amherst Theatre, Amherst, New York. $10. View trailer on YouTube: CLICK HERE
May 15, 2016 - Benefit for St. Stanislaus Parish - Hosted by Chopin Singing Society for "The Mother Church of Polonia" - Villa Maria College Auditorium, Cheektowaga, New York - 3:30 PM. Includes performances by White Eagle Dancers - $10, $5 Children.
Saturday, May 21, 7 PM: POLAND IN WORLD WAR II
Skalny Welcome Center at St. John Fisher College - As part of the Polish American Historical Association Board of Directors Meeting at St. John Fisher College, the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester is pleased to host a presentation by Dr. James S. Pula.
May 26, 2016 - Unveiling of Restored Katyń Sculpture in City Hall
Thursday, May 26 at 12:30 PM
Buffalo City Hall Lobby
65 Niagara Sqaure
Buffalo, New York 14202
I hope I will be able to attend this event. Here is your invitation: CLICK HERE.
Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester River Campus
Consul General Gacek (on right)
And thank you Jacquie Ornsby and Anthony Kunz for the wonderful multi-media presentation on the Polish Community and the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. (Presented by The Permanent Chair of Polish Culture at Canisius)
Dr. James S. Pula
The City of Buffalo has restored the sculpture commemorating Polish citizens murdered in the Katyń Forest Massacres, which hangs in the lobby of City Hall.
Mayor Byron Brown invites the entire community to take part in an unveling of the restored plaque on Thursday, May 26 at 12:30 p.m.
The bas-relief plaque of hammered copper, was created by noted Polish artist Józef Sławiński in 1980, to mark the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the massacres. It was commissioned and installed on the initiative of Karol Tomaszewski, President of the Polish American Citizens Organization, who worked with families of the victims of the massacre to convince Mayor James Griffin to place the memorial in City Hall.
The number of victims of the Katyń Forest Massacres is estimated at about 22,000 officers, priests, rabbies, and other members of Poland's elite. Additional mass graves are currently being investigated.
May 27, 2016 - I am happy I was able to make to Buffalo City Hall for the unveiling of the bas-reliefplaque. It was a very moving ceremony with speeches made by a number of Buffalo-area dignitaries from both the city and the Polish community. The video at right provides a close-up view of the restored plaque.
WBFO's Michael Mroziak reported on the event. Here is the link: CLICK HERE.
Thank you Tricia Bullock Bush for posting the following photo on Facebook. The photo was originally published in the St. Lawrence Plaindealer the summer my French students hosted guests from France. We traveled to France the year before, where my students were paired with students at the Collège Benjamin Franklin. My counterpart was Mme Yoland Chère, their English teacher. It was a wonderful experience.