As I mentioned on the previous page, I just returned from two weeks in Poland where I was able to visit two of the towns where my grandparents lived before coming to America. My trip is discussed in considerable detail HERE, and I hope you will take the time to read about my experiences and view my photos and videos. For me, it was a wonderful experience, and I am happy I was able to make the trip while still young. (No snickers, please.)
DOM POLSKI: One of two surviving Adamski family homes in the beautiful town of Podolsze, Poland, where my maternal grandparents lived before coming the America. I never dreamed I'd ever see their house and this town. Wow!
Soon after returning home, I heard that President Komorowski of the Republic of Poland was invited to place a wreath at the Kosciuszko Monument at the West Point Military Academy. Originally I thought I would have to miss the ceremony because I was supposed to have jury duty on that day. As luck would have it I was dismissed from serving, so I was indeed able to travel to West Point to take part in welcoming Poland's president. You can view my video and photos of the event HERE.
President Bronislaw Komorowski of the Republic of Poland honoring Tadeusz Kościuszko at West Point United States Military Academy. Many proud Polish Americans were in attendance.
So what's next on the calendar?
My friends, Chet, Mark and Daria of Melody Lane, will be performing at the Back Nine in Pittsford, New York on October 4. I cetainly do not want to miss that. Melody Lane is always a blast.
My buddy, Eddie Zawadzki, invited me to attend an event in Oil City, PA. I will have to find out more about it, but I will probably go.
The Am-Pol Eagle has chartered a bus for those interested in traveling to the Golec concert in Mississauga, Ontario on October 14. I will surely join them.
That's it for now! See ya!
Melody Lane put on a great show a Polish Happy Hour on October 4 in Pittsford, New York. If you live in the Western New York area, please consider joining us soon. Polish Happy Hour is held every first Thursday of the month at the Back Nine Grill, just down the road from Saint John Fisher College on East Ave in Pittsford.
It turns out the event in Oil City that Eddie Zawadzki invited to attend is scheduled for next year. I guess I misunderstood. Also the trip to the Golec concert in Mississauga was cancelled; but no matter, there are enough Polish cultural events closer to home to keep me busy. Here are some of the events I attended:
- There was a Karol Szymanowski celebration at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The performers were mostly Eastman music teachers of students and each was absolutely brilliant.
- Both Rochester and Buffalo held their annual Polish film festivals, so I was able to see several films
- Tim Snyder, author of "Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin" gave a talk at Canisius College in Buffalo. There is in great interest in his book among both historians and the general public. "Bloodlands" is a must read.
- World famous jazz musicians Grażyna Auguścik and Paulinho Garcia gave a special concert at the University of Rochester. Garcia is a master of Latin guitar (think "Girl from Ipanema") and vocally, their voices blend together perfectly. I really enjoyed the show.
- The Polish Heritage Society of Rochester held their annual Wigilia at St. John Fisher College. As usual it was wonderful to meet with friends, savor traditional Polish Christmas dishes, and sing kolędy. Thank you to everyone who works so hard to make Wigilia possible every year.
- Of course let's not forget that my second album was released during the month of December. The album is called "Treasured Polish Folk Melodies" and is selling very well online. [To order a copy, CLICK HERE.]
You can also pick up copies at Polska Chata Deli and
Bernunzio's Uptown Music on East Ave in Rochester. In the Buffalo area, you can pick up a copy of my Christmas CD at the Am-Pol Eagle officer on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga.
I also had fun selling my CD's at Buffalo's Broadway Market. Check out the photo:
My CD's and my hat were both a big hit at the Broadway Market!
Sales of my Christmas album and my new CD were very strong over the holidays. Recently, I received two emails concerning my music that really amazed me. One was from my cousin, Danuta, who told me how much she appreciated how my music transported her back to a time when she was a Polish scout after WWII at the Kidugala Refugee Camp in Tanzania (Tanganyika), Africa. Danuta told me that she and the other scouts sang these folk songs sitting around campfires in the jungle. I am just amazed that Polish folk songs would ever remind anyone of life in the jungle! Danuta and her mother spent ten years in Siberian work camps and as refugees in Asia and Africa before being resettled in Australia.
The second email was from a lady living in London who ordered several copies of my CD's as gifts for Polish priests living and working in the Vatican. I must say I never expected my music to make it to Rome. I sure hope they like my music!
Polish refugee camps in Africa
March 1, 2013 -
Another big mystery solved!
For years I have been trying to identify the source of a tune my dad used to play on his violin. The fragment of the melody imprinted in my mind was undeniably a mazurka, but who was the composer and how did the rest of the piece go? From time to time I would ask people if they recognized the melody, but no one knew.
Last Sunday at the Katy Carr concert, I hummed a few bars for Al Kania, a legendary musician from the Buffalo area, and with a big smile on his face began humming along with me. Al said Wieniawski wrote that tune and I would likely have no problem finding the music for it. I swear, Al Kania is a walking encyclopedia of Polish music, to say nothing of his enormous talent as a performer. Thank you, Al! You rock!
"Kujawiak" by Henryk Wieniawski
Another photo St. Stanislaus Boys' Choir has recently surfaced on Facebook. Here we are again circa 1960:
May 31, 2013 -
Here are some of the Polish-related events I attended or participated in over the past few months:
February 24 - Katy Carr Concert, Canisius College, Buffalo, New York
February 27 - Lecture by Professor Jan Lencznarowicz at the University of Rochester Skalny Center, Rochester, New York
March 20 - Lecture by Professor Jan Lencznarowicz at the University of Rochester Skalny Center, Rochester, New York
Also, I picked up a Stagi-Hayden Concertina recently. Check this out:
Wigilia at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York
June, 2013 -
This year I finally had a chance to participate in the annual pilgrimage to the Polish Soldiers Burial Ground in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Before the USA entered World War I, Polish Americans not eligible for the draft were allowed to join the French and the Brits, who were already engaged in the fighting. They were trained in Canada and assigned to fight with a French outfit known as Haller's Blue Army. While in training, a number of the Poles were stricken with Spanish flu and died. Since 1917, Americans and Canadians have jointly honored their sacrifice at their place of burial in Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can find out more HERE.
So what's next? The Polish Scholarship Festival is coming up at Clinton Square in Syracuse, New York. Maybe I'll see you there! Also, in July, I will be traveling up north to Kaszuby, Ontario to check you the Polish Scouting rally and breathe some of that clean Canadian air, then head for St-Pie, Quebec to see my pals Pierre and Ghyslaine. Then in August I plan on attending the International Polka Association celebration in Cleveland, and later in November, I'll joining Melody Lane and John Gora on my first cruise to the Caribbean.