Post Eagle Newspaper


Apr 14, 2024

45°F, few clouds
New Jersey

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Singers’ 63rd District Convention – A Success!

The singers must have been doing something right, prior to and during their 63rd Seventh District Convention hosted by the HEJNAL MIXED CHORUS #323 of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, since the Good Lord blessed them with blue skies and comfortable temperatures on June 8th and 9th, leaving all with pleasant memories of a job well done!

Delegates met Saturday morning on Sutton Street at the First Polish Baptists Church of Greenpoint for their Business Sessions. They were greeted warmly by Pre-Convention Chairman, Kazimierz Zebrowski, at which time President Janusz Wolny officially opened the Convention. Officers and choral reports were then distributed.

Selected as Chairman of the convention was John Budzinski -Chopin #182 of Passaic, NJ assisted by Debbie Majka – Marcella Kochanska Sembrich #321 of Philadelphia, PA. Secretary Mary Wozniak was assisted by Halina Fabianska – Hejnal #323 of Greenpoint.

Pertinent issues were discussed. The newly elected officers for the next two-year term, sworn in by the Honorary President of the PSAA Bernice Gruszka, are as follows:

District 7 President -Janusz Wolny – Oginski #283

First Vice President -Adele Iwachow – Jutrzenka #226

Second Vice President -Bogdan  Rozewicz – Hejnal #323

Secretary (English) -Mary Wozniak – Jutrzenka #226

Secretary (Polish) -Stanley Tokarz – Oginski #283

Treasurer/Financial Sec’y – Frances X. Gates – Jutrzenka #226

Librarian -Mariusz Bryszkiewicz – Hejnal #323

Sergeants-at-Arms – John Budzinski – Chopin #182; Yaga Chudy – Aria #303

Flag Bearers – Jacek Borkowski – Oginski #283; Ryszard Kozikowski – Oginski #283

Publicity – Barbara R. Blyskal  (English); Cecylia Bidiuk (Polish) – Jutrzenka #226

District Choral Director – Izabella Kobus-Salkin –  Jutrzenka  #226.

Before the sessions came to an end and committees were dissolved, the President of the Polish Singers Alliance of America, Mary Lou Wyrobek, who arrived from Buffalo, NY, greeted all with a message from the Central Administration, inviting all to participate in next year’s International Convention of the PSAA to be held in Detroit, Michigan; celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the organization.

Now came the time for CHORAL COMPETITIONS.

Upon arrival, choruses met at St. Stanislaus Kostka School for warm-ups in preparation for choral competitions which took place at the Baptists Church commencing at 1:00 pm.

In order of appearance, singing first were choruses of the MALE category: OGINSKI #283 of Hempstead, NY, directed by Malgorzata Strzelecka, followed by CHOPIN #182 of Passaic, NJ, directed by Anthony Tabish.

Next, in the FEMALE category, MARCELLA KOCHANSKA SEMBRICH FEMALE CHORUS #321 of Philadelphia, PA under the direction of Janusz Sporek sang first, followed by JUTRZENKA SINGING SOCIETY #226 of South Brooklyn, NY, directed by Izabella Kobus Salkin.

Lastly, the MIXED category was represented by POLONIA PADEREWSKI #287 of New Britain, CT, directed by Adrian Sylwen Mackiewicz, ARIA #303 of Wallington, NJ, directed by Dawid Perkowski, HEJNAL #323 of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, directed by Bogna McGarrigle.

Saturday evening, a time for relaxation and camaraderie, was well represented by singers, their families and friends at the Gala Convention Dinner Dance held at Basia Konopka’s Princess Manor in Greenpoint, NY.

Sunday morning began with a Convention Brunch at the Polish and Slavic Center at which time the results of the competition were announced. Only choruses which placed first received trophies. First place in the male category was given to OGINSKI #283;  female category: Marcella Kochanska Sembrich #321, and mixed category: ARIA 303. POLONIA PADEREWSKI #287 came in second as did JUTRZENKA and CHOPIN, while HEJNAL came in third in the mixed category. Scores were extremely close and all choruses with their directors need to be commended for their fine work in preparing themselves for the competition. All choruses received a diploma, stating their score and place.  Bravo, once again, to ARIA for receiving HIGHEST score of all!

Choruses proceeded to St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church for the 1:00 pm Polish Mass at which time the combined choruses sang the Entrance, Offertory, Communion, and Recessional Hymns to the congregation’s delight. The Gala Convention Concert followed, at which time each chorus sang individually as well as together.  Enhancing the concert program were solo presentations given by 12 year old – 6th year student of Bozena Konkiel, Sylwia Wadolowski,k playing Chopin’s Mazurek Op. 7 No.1; soprano Klaudia Morelowska, a student at Queens College who sang Bellini’s Per pieta bell idol mio; an octet chamber group made up of members of ARIA which sang popular songs; Izabella Kobus Salkin, mezzo, sang Niewiadomski’s Latawica accompanied by Roman Markiewicz who later played Mozart’s Sonata in F Major KV 332.

The concert was free of charge and the audience certainly got their money’s worth plus more.

Participating choral directors got the chance to direct individual pieces presented by the combined choruses.

Some choruses are on a short two month summer “break”, eagerly awaiting September when they can begin preparing for their busy schedules of Polish Heritage November events, Christmas and Easter programs, and the chance at singing at the Polish Singers Alliance of America’s upcoming Convention in Detroit, which will be focusing on PSAA’s 125th anniversary come May 22nd through 25th in 2014.

If you have a good voice, have sung in choirs, want to relieve personal stress and contribute something worthwhile to your fellow man (and woman), do plan on joining a chorus in your vicinity so you, too, may help the singers of the PSAA fulfill their mission of fostering Polish Culture through song! Gora Piesn Polska! – Hail Polish Song!