Choruses of the POLISH SINGERS ALLIANCE OF AMERICA from the USA and Canada met during the weekend of May 24th to the 27th at the Albany Marriott Hotel for the 48th INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION which was dedicated to the memory of Professor STANISLAUS A. BLEJWAS and celebrated the musical genius of KAROL SZYMANOWSKI.
The convention was hosted by the DISTRICT SEVEN choruses with Christine McMullan and Janusz Wolny co-chairing the pre-convention planning committee. All participants went home satisfied and happy they had the chance, once again, to get together to prove that the PSAA carries out its mission and the convention's theme of "Preserving our Polish Heritage through Song!"
Business sessions went along as planned. MICHAEL G. BRESLIN, Albany County Executive, warmly welcomed and addressed the delegates. Robert Maycan, representing the Polish National Catholic Church Choirs, likewise greeted all.
The new Officers of the Central Administration for the next three-year term (2007-2010) are as follows:
PRESIDENT: Mary Lou T. Wyrobek
Vice Presidents: Daniel J. Kij and Janina Mazun
General Secretary: Adeline S. Wujcikowski
Ass't. Secretary: Adrianne Kusmierczyk
Treasurer: Theresa Rogowski
General Choral Director: Dr. Thomas Witakowski
Ass't. Choral Director: Izabella Kobus-Salkin
Librarian: Josephine Wozniak
Co-Librarian: Izabela Bozek
Frances X. Gates
Honorary President, Bernice D. Gruszka, Honorary General Secretary, Barbara R. Blyskal, and Honorary Choral Directors, Wladyslaw Budweil and Piotr Gorecki were also introduced.
Representatives of the eleven participating choruses, drew their positions for the competition. In order of appearance, participating in the competition were:
HEJNAL CHORUS #323, Brooklyn, NY - director: Janusz Sipajlo
POLONIA PADEREWSKI #287, New Britain, CT - director: Andrzej Mazur
SYMFONIA SINGING SOCIETY #291, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - director: Michael Newnham
CLUB FILARETS #293, Detroit, MI - director: Dr. David Troiano
ARIA #303, Wallington, NJ - director: Alicja Rusewicz Pagorek
CHOPIN SINGING SOCIETY #182, Passaic, NJ - director: Alicja Rusewicz Pagorek
CLUB FILARETS #313, Detroit, MI - director: Dr. David Troiano
OGINSKI MEN'S CHOIR #283, Hempstead, NY - director: Dr. Barbara Miluk-Kolasa
POLONIA PADEREWSKI #311, New Britain, CT - director: Andrzej Mazur
FILARETS FEMALE CHORUS #331, Detroit, MI - director Robert Barnhard
JUTRZENKA SINGING SOCIETY #226, Brooklyn, NY - director Izabella Kobus-Salkin
A Dinner-Dance brought the singers and their guests (many of them from the local PNA groups and the Polish American Congress) together in a spirited fashion, dancing the night away to the lively music of "WISLANIE" in the hotel's main ballroom. Before the festivities began, Rev. Carl Urban, pastor of Church of St. Adalbert in Schenectady, NY, gave the invocation.
On Sunday morning, half of the ballroom was transformed into a chapel. Holy Mass was concelebrated by Rev. Gerard Sudol, a member of CHOPIN # 182 of Passaic, NJ, and assisted by Rev. Bogdan Milosz, Chaplain of the FILARET CHOIRS of Detroit, MI. Their homilies about sharing our heritage and music with everyone around us became especially meaningful when non-Catholic youngsters from a soccer tournament came into the makeshift chapel. After staying for the Mass and having questions answered quietly by the PSAA's new president, Mary Lout Wyrobek, they remarked about the beauty of the Catholic Mass and the spectacular singing of the Seventh District and combined PSAA choirs.
At the Brunch that followed, Deboraj Majka, Convention Chair, introduced Professor Boleslaw M. Biskupski of Central Connecticut State University, friend and colleague of Professor Stanislaw Blejwas, author of our PSAA history book. It was Prof. Biskupski who saw the history book through to its publication by the University of Rochester Press, after the untimely death of the author.
Prof. Biskupski held young and old spellbound as he spoke about the period in history when Poland was restored as a nation and under the leadership of Jozef Pilsudski. This was the era of the Polish "Soldier Songs," such as "Przybyli Ulani Pod Okienko," etc., which we all still sing today. Prof. Biskupski translated those songs into English as he related how the new Polish army went eastward to fight the Russian foe and had to explain their mission to those they encountered, to those who had known only foreign soldiers until then. Second and third generation Americans had their eyes opened, while Polish-born singers and guests, who remembered those times or learned of them first-hand from their parents, were filled with nostalgia.
Thunderous appluse followed the Professor's speech, then erupted again when the names of the new HONORARY MEMBERS of the PSAA were announced. (See "New Honorary Members page). The PSAA bestows Honorary Membership to individuals who have served the community and/or the PSAA in some outstanding ways.
Then the new PSAA officers were intorduced by outgoing president, Teresa Krenglicki and were then sworn in by Honorary President, Bernice Gruszka.
A GALA CONCERT culminated the "Singers Holiday" with choral music sung by the mixed, male and female combined choruses, and lastly by all choruses combined, bringing up on stage over 300 singers. Joining those who sang in competition were members of the CHOPIN SINGING SOCIETY #219, Buffalo, NY, KALINA #223, Buffalo, NY, MARCELLA KOCHANSKA SEMBRICH #321, Philadelphia, PA, KOLKO MLODZIEZY POLSKIEJ #117 and POLISH HERITAGE SOCIETY #327 of Johnstown, PA.
Bouquets were presented to all the Choral Directors and trophies were presented to the winning choruses: In the Mixed Category, ARIA #303 of Wallington, NJ in First Place; CLUB FILARETS #293 of Detroit, MI in Second Place; and SYMFONIA #291 of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in Third Place.
In the Male Category, OGINSKI #283 of Hempstead, NY in First Place; FILARETS #313 of Detroit, MI in Second Place; and CHOPIN #182 of Passaic, NJ in Third Place.
In the Female Category, FILARETS #331 of Detroit, MI in First Place; JUTRZENKA #226 of Brooklyn, NY in Second Place; and POLONIA PADEREWSKI #311 of New Britain, CT in Third Place.
Highest Points overall were given to the OGINSKI MALE CHORUS #283 of Hempstead, NY and earned them the coveted CARDINAL HLOND TRAVELING TROPHY.
BRAVO! and STO LAT! to all participants.
God willing, the singers will gather again for the 49th time, at their next Triennial International PSAA Convention in Buffalo, NY in 2010.
Gora Piesn Polska! Hail Polish Song!