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$100k for the 100th Campaign –
A Pianoforte Success”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Republic of Poland celebrated the 100th anniversary of its regained independence on November 11, 2018. The entire calendar year was declared to be the Centennial Jubilee Year of 2018. It encompassed the official “100 for 100” campaign – a giant kaleidoscope of celebrations, events, concerts and programs, enacted by Poland in league with the Polish diaspora, that were all generously imagined in conjunction with the seminal independence moment in time and the celebration of Poland’s reborn freedom.

In Photo: The Sweet Sounds of Success. Celebrated pianist Brian Ganz is depicted adroitly performing various Chopin compositions on the new Steinway grand piano during its formal inaugural at the Residence of the Polish Ambassador. The piano was generously gifted to the Embassy of the Republic of Poland after a private $100,000 fund raising campaign.

     But undoubtably one of the most imaginative and unique of all of the undertakings was that taken by the $100k for the 100th Committee to raise $100,000 for the purchase of a Steinway grand piano to be gifted to the ambassador’s residence. The spacious residence was purchased by the Polish government in 2008 and underwent extensive and major renovations. Its grand salon easily accommodates 300 attendees for concerts, and it can also accommodate many more guests when reconfigured for diplomatic events and large receptions.

     But sadly, the stage in the spacious salon has remained bereft of a requisite piano lo these many years … until now. The $100k for the 100th Committee, a small and independent group, led by Chairperson Wanda O’Brien-Trefil, Ph.D, bravely undertook the daunting task of raising $100,000 for the purchase of a Steinway grand piano to be gifted to the government of Poland and ensconced in the residence of the ambassador here in Washington. The committee’s labor of love came to fruition after sponsoring fund raising concerts utilizing the anointed piano at the residence, and the solicitation of magnanimous donations.  A very clever funding tactic was to allow personal sponsorship of the piano’s keys and chords, along with its major components, which proved to be very successful. This resulted in the piano’s expense being fully funded by November, 2018.

     A black-tie donor’s dinner, coupled with the inaugural concert of the Steinway, took place took place on March 22, 2019 at the residence of Ambassador Piotr Wilczek. The exquisite dinner was followed by a captivating concert of Chopin melodies with pianist extraordinaire Brian Ganz mastering the keyboard. The event began with both welcoming and thank you addresses by Ambassador Wilczek and committee leader O’Brien-Trefil, and concluded with the piano’s deed being officially presented to Ambassador Wilczek by O’Brien-Trefil.

     A major highlight of the historic evening was the awarding of the prestigious Americus Poloniae (Friend of Poland) Award from the hand of Ambassador Wilczek to the members of the $100k for the 100th Committee members as follows: Chairperson Dr. Wanda O’Brien-Trefil, Gregory Butler, Margret Butler, Brian Ganz, Thomas Pandolfi, David Slan, Dr. James Trefil and Sasha Kay. It was a most special and richly deserved recognition they all received for the accomplishment of an amazing achievement.

     Just imagine now how much the diplomatic and cultural mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland will be enhanced over the coming years – and numerous decades – with the complementary addition of the magnificent Steinway piano now available to provide amazing music for the guests.

     With a heartfelt dziekuje to the phenomenal aforementioned friends of Poland, the attendant Polonia, and to all the other contributors, the imposing residence of Poland’s Ambassador to the United States is now fully befitting of the present and future diplomatic representatives of Poland.

Text & Photos by
Richard P. Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau
April 15, 2019