The Echoes of Poland was founded in the fall of 1967 when Paulina Tul-Ortyl was asked to prepare a group of young people to perform some of the traditional aspects of the Polish Christmas celebration. She gathered some of her friends from the Nebraska Avenue and Lagrange Street areas for the church pageant. During the first few years, the troupe held practices once a week. They were asked to participate at many local festivals and church functions. At that time, the ensemble practiced at several places including St. Anthony's, The Argonne Post, Polish Falcons, PNA Hall and the Lagrange-Central Center. Today, we practice at the P.R.C.U.A. hall on Tuesday, and Thursday nights.
Through the weekly practices, Mrs. Ortyl has instilled in her members a great sense of pride and love for Polish folk customs through dancing and singing. A non-profit organization, the Echoes of Poland have performed at festivals and concerts throughout the United States and in Canada. In 1977, the ensemble traveled to Rzeszow, Poland for the Triennial World Festival of Polish Folk Dancers. Since 1979, we have staged our own concerts in the Toledo area to show our full repertoire of regional and national dances. In 1980, a Kapela, a Polish band, was added. The dancers certainly enjoy dancing and singing to live musician.
1980, the In ensemble attended the festival again, and out of the sixty-four groups attending, the ensemble won the highest honor for authentically portraying Polish Folk culture by performing the Dozynski, the Polish Harvest Celebration. The Ensemble has made the trip to the Rzeszow Festival seven times and always performs admirably. We have many trophies for first in authentically portraying dances and songs.
During the mid-seventies, Mrs. Ortyl began a children group to train the young members for the adult ensemble. By starting at a young age, the children become familiar with many of the rudimentary skills in the art of song and dance.
On October 16, 1983, The Echoes of Poland Folk Song & Dance Ensemble held their Fifteenth Anniversary. Mrs. Ortyl was honored for her dedication in perpetuating Polish culture among hundreds of youth in the Toledo area.
In 1996, WGTE Public Broadcasting was putting together a special on the Polish people of Toledo for their Cornerstones series entitled "The Polish in Toledo" and contacted Paulina about providing the music for this endeavor. Paulina got some musicians together and recorded all the folk music for this 41-minute tribute to the Poles in Toledo.
In 1997, The Ohio House of Representatives recognized the members of the Echoes of Poland for their valuable contribution to the preservation of our Polish culture through song and dance. Representative John Garcia was at one of our performances and he came back and awarded us with our certificates.
On January 16, 1999, the ensemble had the honor to welcome Lech Walesa, former leader of Solidarnosc and former President of Poland, to St. Adalbert for an informal meeting with the Polish community.
In the spring of 2000, the Echoes of Poland became affiliated with the P.R.C.U.A. organization. We feel this is where we belong. We are home.
In the Spring of 2002, Echoes of Poland celebrated their 35th Anniversary. Paulina Tul Ortyl is the only Choreographer and Director the ensemble has ever had. Paulina was presented an appreciation award from PRCUA and recognition award from Polish American Congress at the Annual Spring Concert for all her years of dedication. Sto Lat Paulina!
The Echoes of Poland under the Director/Choreographer Paulina Tul Ortyl performed their first television show in America, "Polka Bandstand" in October 2004. They performed a suite of dances from the Lublin region and Kujawac Obarac to an enthusiactice live audience.
The Echoes of Poland performed in Rzeszow, Poland in 2005 for the 10th time. STO LAT Echoes and keep the traditions alive.
If anyone is interested in joining The Echoes of Poland, please contact Paulina Tul Ortyl at 419-531-8658.
Text from The Echoes of Poland website