Polish Arts Club of Elmira hosts ACPC Board Meeting
October 29-30, 2010

by Jo Louise Winters, ACPC PR Chair

The American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) held its Fall 2010 Board meeting in Elmira, NY. ACPC Pres. Debbie Majka and Dr. Maria Winnicka, President of the ACPC Affiliate Polish Arts Club of Elmira, NY cooperated to make this meeting one of accomplishments and enjoyment of our Polish culture.

Pres. Majka presided over the business sessions wherein various committee chairs and coordinators presented their reports. A report was made by Cecilia & Raymond Glembocki who were recently appointed as co-chairs for the National Conference for the Social Studies (NCSS) program regarding their planning for the 2010 Conference, titled "Visions, Vistas and Voices", scheduled for Nov. 12-13 in Denver, Colorado. (see report) This annual conference is the largest of its kind where over 4,000 social studies professionals from all over the world attend. The theme of our exhibit, Polish Perspectives was designated as the core of the exhibit to be supported by comprehensive teaching aids including a CD, which includes lesson plans about Poland’s history and contributions of many Poles to American history. Mr. & Mrs. Glembocki indicated that they were building on plans and formats developed by ACPC’s previous exhibit chairpersons, Barbara Lemecha and Henrietta Nowakowski. They will be offering the acclaimed new DVD entitled "Nine Days that Changed the World" with an accompanying lesson plan (information) developed by Meg Heubeck of the University of Virginia and Vince Haley from the Gingrich Fdn. A full accounting of the ACPC’s highly successful participation in the 2010 Social Studies Conference will be reported to the Polonia press shortly.

During the course of the business sessions, Pres. Majka presented a plaque and a framed Certificate of Appreciation to Mr. Raymond J. Winieski, MA, Ed. The plaque was a Career Achievement Award in appreciation of his support for the goals of ACPC in spreading knowledge of Polish Achievements. The Certificate referred to Mr. Winieski’s exemplary personal services throughout the past five decades, which have included co-founding in 1973 St. Casimir’s Polish Arts Club, known today as Polish Arts Club of Elmira; 30 years of service as Director, Polish Choir, St. Casimir’s Church; Master of Ceremony for performances by the "Tatra Dancers"; published book in 1986 "Elmira Poles — St. Casimir’s Century of Service"; 1989-1999, Guest Lecturer at Elmira College on Polish topics; 2008, published book of his poetry and aphorisms, "Pieces — Kawalki: poetry and thoughts for quiet hours." The beautiful Awards Plaque and the Certificate of Appreciation expressed the ACPC members heartfelt gratitude for Raymond’s life dedicated to promoting Polish culture and heritage in the U.S.

Board members were treated to a distinguished luncheon speaker, Dr. Frank Kozlowski, who disclosed fascinating aspects of the life and accomplishments of Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

Born in Pennsylvania’s coal mining districts, Dr. Frank Kozlowski attended Catholic grade and high schools. He quit his college studies to join the Marine reserves, 1969-72 and remained in military services for four years. Returning to the university, he earned Bachelor‘s and Master’s degrees in History. After teaching for several years, he returned to the university and obtained a PhD in History. Dr. Kozlowski has a strong fondness and admiration for Ignacy Paderewski. His presentation at the Board meeting of Paderewski’s career as a pianist and influential political personality was fascinating. When Paderewski gave a concert in London in 1891, critics named him "one of the greatest pianists ever" and he became the wealthiest pianist in the world at that time. Paderewski toured the U.S., Europe, as well as the Orient. While performing in the U.S. he became acquainted with Pres. Woodrow Wilson and influenced the president to support Poland’s independence, as a result Poland won its free nation status. Paderewski became the first Prime Minister of Poland. He ran into problems as Poles criticized him for the limited Eastern Border of Poland as well as his residence in Switzerland and called him an expatriot. Paderewski resigned as Prime Minister ten months after taking office. He died in 1941. Dr. Kozlowski portrayed Paderewski’s genius as a pianist as well as his genius in using his influence with Pres. Wilson to establish the Free Polish territory. Thus, the audience was influenced to appreciate and honor once again Ignacy Paderewski’s genius and remarkable achievements.

To celebrate Chopin’s 200th Anniversary of his birth, Pres. Winnicka and her committee planned a concert honoring Chopin’s creative genius. We are grateful to Marilyn Kozacko for making arrangements to hold the concert at the beautiful high ceilinged auditorium in Elmira College. The youthful performers at the concert obviously enjoyed this singular opportunity to display their talents on the day honoring Chopin. Sara, Rebecca and Kate spent many hours preparing for this piano performance. Sarah Burn’s Prelude opus 28, no. 4; Rebecca Burn’s Waltz and Kate Nicole Hoffman’s Nocturnal were played with precision and zest. The smiling faces of their parents reflected their pride in the performances of their children, which made all the hours of practice worthwhile.

Concert pianist Frances Orr McLaren began piano studies at an early age, received Masters of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon Univ. She taught Prep School at the University, was accompanist for Elmira Symphony Orchestra for four years and currently serves as accompanist for Elmira’s Common-Time Choral group. Ms. McLaren presented six Chopin compositions. She conveyed the emotional content of Chopin’s music by reflecting it in her technical proficiency, her fingers playing various moods from exalted Polonaise rhythms to intense reveries. The explosive pace of her performance that ranged from quiet lyrical movements to ecstatic eruptions was applauded with enthusiasm by the admiring audience.

Soloist Scott Frye, a graduate of Ohio State University, has participated in 35 operas and has given recitals in Elmira. This evening, he sang Chopin compositions, "My Darling" (Moja Piesczotka) and "Reverie" (Marzenie). The audience appreciated the romantic Polish versions of these beautiful Chopin melodies. Mr. Frye received warm applause as he smilingly and graciously acknowledged the audience.

During the reception, which followed the concert, ACPC members felt honored by the presence of Elmira College President Thomas Meier and his wife Mila. We learned from Richard Kozacko, a personal friend of the Meier’s that Dr. Meier is the 12th President of the college and has held that honor since 1987. He holds a PhD in English literature from Columbia University. Dr. Meier received a Medal of Merit from the Elmira College Alumni Association and was named Administrator of the Year by the Elmira student body. In addition to writing over six dozen scholarly articles on literature, he is the author of a book on Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe. Incidentally, Elmira College holds an important place in history being the first college in the world to offer college education and degrees to women.

Members and officers of the ACPC were somewhat overwhelmed by their feelings of comradeship and joy after attending the Fall Board Meeting hosted by President Dr. Maria B. Winnicka and the Polish Arts Club of Elmira. The very detailed summary of Ignacy Paderewski’s life presented by Dr. Frank Kozlowski was an inspiration, strengthening our admiration of the genius of Paderewski, his superb musical talents and his involvement in Poland’s political development, restoring Poland’s independence by influencing President Woodrow Wilson’s support. The piano concert and vocal presentation of Chopin’s music was a classic cultural event, which mesmerized the audience by the efficiency and most of all the harmonious beauty. They will linger in everyone’s hearts as superior performances that measured to high cultural standards. The membership expresses its gratitude for the outstanding planning by Dr. Winnicka and her committees, including vital help from Jackie Droleski, Marilyn & Richard Kozacko, and Jane Stalica.

Mr. Richard Wiermanski announced that the next ACPC Board Meeting will be held in April 2011 in Chicago, IL, hosted by the Polish Arts Club of Chicago, Dr. Vivian Walkosz, Pres. (see details)

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1. Ray Winieski, recipient of ACPC Achievement Award and Maria Winnicka, President, Polish Arts Club of Elmira

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2. Members of the Polish Arts Club of Elmira, congratulating Ray Winieski

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3. ACPC Board members: Carolyn Meleski, Alice Laning, Judi Tompkins, Alicia Dutka, Jackie Kolowski

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4. Scott Frye, our kontusz wearing singer of Chopin's songs and ACPC President Debbie Majka

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5. Part of the concert audience at Elmira College ...
the young ladies in the front row were the student pianists (right to left) Kate Nicole Hoffman, Rebecca Burn, Sara Burn

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6. Post concert refreshments

Elmira Board Meeting - Oct. 29 - 20, 2010