The highlight of my summer travels was a visit to St-Pie, Quebec to spend time with my friends Ghyslaine and Pierre and to Kaszuby and Wilno, Ontario, where almost everyone is or speaks Polish. Thank you John Gora for the invitation and for taking the time to show me the sights.) Kaszuby is truly a slice of Polish heaven. Photos and videos are HERE.
Kaszuby, Ontario: Just for a moment, I forgot I was not in Poland.
<--- Kaszuby Region / Three Crosses --->
(Double click to view fullscreen)
August 7, 2013
I attended the International Polka Association banquet in Independence, Ohio last weekend. The late Jan Cyman was inducted posthumously to the Polka Hall of Fame and I had the pleasure of attending the event with Jan's wife and children and other family members. By the way Jan's wife, Judy, was my brother's sister-in-law. It was nice to see the Cyman family again; I hadn't seen them since my brother Frank passed away two years ago. You can see photos and my video of the presentation on Jan Cyman's page.
Polka Family at the IPA Festival in Independence, OH
Jill Krzeszewski was the Mistress of Ceremonies.
August 12, 2013
Just the other day I received an email from Dolores Karniewicz Ferguson who is helping to index St. Stanislaus B&M's baptismal records in order to make them available online. What a great resource this will be! While doing her work, she noticed an entry for Zofia Jasiek/Johnson from 1899 (my Aunt Sophie) which included the German name of the village where her mother was born. Another mystery solved: we knew our paternal grandmother Ewa Stopińska was from the Grudziądz area, but until now did not know exactly where. The name listed is "Kerberode", but the Polish name is Nowe Jankowice, located 17 miles east of Grudziądz. I researched it online a bit and apparently it is famous for its studs (horses).
When I get around to it I will try to get the local church records to verify the family connection.
Maybe another trip to Poland lies in my future?
Thank you Dolores. Your work is greatly appreciated.
ABOVE: Nowe Jankowice is located east of Łasin.
LEFT: Frequency of the name "Stopiński'' in Poland (2002 Census).
Today is Labor Day and I probably should be out at a parade or picnic, but I am spending my time doing reseach on the Stopiński and the Skrobacz family lines (and biking). From the above map I can see Stopińskis are well represented in north-central Poland, where my babcia is said to have lived. You'd Here are the maps showing the locations of the Jasieks and Skrobacz's in Poland. I won't post the map for the Adamskis because there literally all over the map.
Lately I also have been spending time playing my latest musical instrument, the Stagi-Hayden concertina. Here is a video of me playing "Laura i Filon" at the Lilac Arches in Rochester's Highland Park. The tune is based on Chopin's Fantasy in A major Opus 13.
I forgot to mention that a couple of weeks ago I was caught on camera eating a fried bologna sandwich at Dożynki. I appear in the video at 0:09. I can only say I am grateful things didn't get as messy as they once did for George Costanza.
September 18, 2013
I am thrilled that another Polish folk group will be using my music for their performances. This is an immense honor for me and I am on cloud nine. The group is called KALINA (See above photo) and they are from the town of Pont-à-Mousson located in north-eastern France. Here is thelink to their website: Kalina
September 16, 2013
I managed to attend the Roncesvalles Polish Festival in Toronto again this year. It's really a fun time with lots of folk dancing, street performances, polka music, and of course Polish food and drink. Be sure to view my photos and videos HERE.
September 11, 2013
This evening graffiti artist and City Youth Services graffiti project manager Shawn Dunwoody discussed his experiences representing Rochester during Krakow City Days. The presentation took place at the Skalny Welcome Center, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York and was extremely informative.
Krakow and other European cities have a major problem because chemical products used to remove graffiti from centuries-old iconic buildings are too caustic. Shawn was able to communicate to participants at the graffiti removal conference in Poland that there is another solution. Shawn pointed out that the problem is more of a vandalism problem and not solely a graffiti problem. Cities like Rochester have provided places where graffiti artists are able to showcase their art, resulting in reduced vandalism and increased neighborhood pride and beautification. The Europeans were very receptive to this idea and are considering doing the same in their respective cities.
Kudos to Shawn and his talented group of artists for their accomplishments. This was an exceptionally interesting presentation.