II Polish Music Festival at the Polish and Slavic Center


The 2nd POLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL is the most attractive promotion of Polish culture, not only in the Polish community, but especially in the American community. This unique cognitive method allows the youngest Polish-American citizens to become acquainted, in an interesting way, with the very rich history of both Poland and Europe. Joint “artistic exchanges” performances of Polish artists on New York stages and vice versa (Polish youth in Poland) are a unique culmination of artistic achievements on international stages. The Polish-Slavic Center in Greenpoint is the Polish leader on the East Coast. The organization has excellent facilities, perfectly prepared rooms for both smaller and larger meetings, including a Gallery room, where there is an appropriate stage, sound system and lighting. The CPS Gallery hosts meetings of artists, exhibitions, musical presentations of choirs and individual artists. Virtually every Polish organization finds a place for its activities here. This year’s Festival was once again a great success of the Polish-Slavic Center, under the Honorary Patronage of the Consul General in New York. The main organizer of the artistic program of the 2nd Music Festival was Bożena Konkiel – a member of the Board of Directors of CP-S, supported, as she admitted, by the Board of Directors. In terms of content, the entire ceremony had a multi-layered character: honoring the Polish May National Holidays: May 1 – Labor Day (recognized as a national holiday since 1950), May 2 – Flag Day of the Republic of Poland and the Day of the Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad, May 3 – anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, marshal’s ceremony Parades of the Pulaski Polish-Slavic Center, together with Miss Polonia and Junior Miss Polonia and Little Mr. Polonia, of this organization, and organizing a lottery for a scholarship fund for Polish youth – CPS members.
The ceremony was started by the president of the Polish-Slavic Center, Paweł Pachacz, who, together with the Board of Directors, recalled the best ideas and programs that guide CPS as a charitable organization, i.e. supporting the weakest – seniors, especially single people, Polish youth through scholarships and supporting Polish organizations and Polish communities. artists, thus promoting Polish tradition and culture.
PROGRAM – it was very diverse and very attractive, perfectly selected by the organizer Bożena Konkiel, the artists presented (regardless of age) high quality performance. The announcements were made by students from Polish schools: Juliette Gorczyca and Julia Greer
PERFORMED: talented pianist Marcin Zarkowski -Etude in C minor Opus 10 No. 12 F. Chopin. An excellently prepared choir – The Copernicus Children’s Choir, conducted by Bożena Konkiel and accompanied by the famous pianist Nicholas Kaponyas. Soloist Sandra Dąbrowska, accompanied by Piotr Mrózek, performed the famous song “Can These Eyes Lie” – winning great applause. Gabriella Robert at the piano Nicholas Kaponyas “Marsz, march Polonia”, this favorite song of the entire Polish community, once again won the hearts of the audience. The Krakus Choir (seniors from CPS), conducted by soprano Katarzyna Drucker, accompanied by Ola Watras, performed: There is such a country, sung by J. Pietrzak, music by M. Raj and Karolinka – folk song, the seniors finished the performance with loud shouts and applause. Soloist Sylwia Zawrotniak and guitarist William Beaufort are a famous pair of performers, during the performance they create a unique atmosphere by performing selected songs and delight the audience: “Instead” lyrics by M. Czaplinek, musician W. Korcz “Go in your direction” lyrics by J . Kofta, music by K. Dąbrowski. The charming youth band Krakowianki i Górale, conducted by Maria Bielska, Halina Kalitka, Joanna Biz and Elżbieta Hetnar, sang and played: “Kujawiak” and “Orkiestra”. Soloist Monica Chibowski, accompanied by Nicholas Kaponyas, performed a very interesting “I love you life” with rep. Edyta Geppert. The Jutrzenka Choir, conducted by Marek Filatov and Nicholas Kaponyas, dedicated its speech to all mothers – “Mother’s Hands” by A. Kowalski and Evening Song by Moniuszko. Polish choirs enjoy great recognition in our community, they are the support and decoration of every Polish event.
The festival lasts several hours, so the organizers include a break and refreshments. The second part began with the well-known (from an early age) Polish soprano Patrycja Posłuszna, accompanied by the equally recognizable pianist Nicholas Kaponyas, privately the son of Mrs. Bożena Konkiel, songs: “The child is dying to us” St. Moniuszko and “Song to the Moon” by Dvorak. The young pianist Antoni Zarkowski boldly performed Etude in G minor Opus 72 No. 2 M. Moszkowski. Mark Filatov, a famous tenor, accompanied by the pianist Nicholas Kaponyas, performed Moniuszko’s “The Spinner”, the performance was very much appreciated by the audience. One of the most recognizable choirs – Bugle Call, under the reliable conductor of Sabina Nemtusiak with pianistic support from the multi-talented Łukasz Pliś, performed “The Polish Land, There’s My Home” and “My Song”. Magdalena Garandza – clarinettist, accompanied by Nicholas Kaponyas, performed “Dance of Death” by M. Chyrzyński with exceptional dynamics. Capstan: Sławomir Uścinowicz, Grzegorz Zmirek Ryszard Derba – guitar, presented the shanties “Wielorybnicy Greenlandzcy” and “Branka” with sailor charm. Angelina Podkalicki – sang “Polish Flowers” – everyone joined in singing. Kasia Drucker – soprano, with her well-known sensitivity, performed “Dream about Poznań” – (unofficially the city’s anthem -) accompanied by the famous pianist David Alan James (she repeated the sequences for an encore). The Angelus Choir, conducted by Nicholas Kaponyas, performed Verdi’s most outstanding piece “Chorus of Slaves” from the opera Nabucco and Monte Casino by A. Schutz. The Polish-American Dance Company, conducted by Andrzej Buczek, danced “Krakowiak” and “Polka” in original costumes, with such rhythmic applause, one can safely say, everyone in the room danced.
As part of artistic cooperation with Poland, the Res Musica Choir from Gryfino, conducted by Iwona Wiśniewska-Salamon, guest performed with great enthusiasm: they sang “Hej od Krakowa, Zdrowaś Maria, Polsko Moja, Laudate Dominum”, the Polish choristers delighted the audience with their expression and quality of workmanship. The audience assessed all the performers in a similar way, i.e. singing together, shouting and standing applause, which accompanied the performers during the festival evening.
Becoming Marshal of the Pulaski Polish and Slavic Center Parade
The Marshal of the Parade of the Polish-Slavic Center Contingent for 2024 was Bożena Konkiel, Miss Polonia Zuzia Smolaga, Junior Miss Polonia Amelia Żabiński, Little Mr Polonia Lukas Robert.
The year 2024 is Bożena Konkiel’s fortieth year of teaching work. The birthday girl graduated from the music department at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. After graduation, she worked as a music teacher at the Primary School in Karniewo, was a choreographer of a folklore group, a conductor of a children’s choir and a rhythm teacher. Then she was promoted and became the director of the local community center, where she ran various interest groups for young people and was also active in scouting. In 1998, she was appointed by the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association as the National Consultant for Scout Teams. She received many awards for her teaching and educational work: several times the award of the School Principal, the Inspector of Education, the Board of Education and the Minister of Education and Upbringing. Another educational institution where Bożena Konkiel worked was Primary School No. 6 in Ostrołęka, where she also taught music and led a choir, dance and instrumental ensemble.
In 1992, Bożena Konkiel came to New York. After only half a year, she opened KOBO Music Studio, where Polish youth still learn to play musical instruments. The studio has educated many musicians and music consumers. Bożena Konkiel’s former students include lecturers at American universities, concert pianists, graduates of prestigious music schools, conductors and members of music bands. For many years, together with students and parents cooperating with KOBO Music Studio, she organized actions to financially support many families from Poland who found themselves in difficult life situations. After graduating from Touro Graduate School and obtaining a New York teaching certificate, in addition to music lessons, he also teaches mathematics at St. Patrick’s School. Stanisław Kostka. Her students achieve some of the highest scores on state math tests in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Her great achievement are the musical performances that she prepares every year together with the school’s students. In recent years, Bożena Konkiel has been writing musical plays herself and performing them with students. During thirty-one years of work in New York, Bożena Konkiel organized dozens of concerts, to which she often invited Polish youth from all over New York. She recorded two albums with children and teenagers with Polish Christmas carols sung in Polish and English. Her students took part in recording several music videos with Polish and American music. Bożena Konkiel’s students have performed in many prestigious venues in New York, such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Kosciuszko Foundation, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, Donna Library, Lincoln Center, Galeria Kuriera Plus, Columbia University, Polish-Slavic Center and others. KOBO Music Studio students also graced meetings of Polish organizations and played at Christmas parties for the homeless and for people living in senior centers. In the 1990s, Bożena Konkiel cooperated with Dziennik New York. He has been cooperating with the weekly Kurier Plus for several years. She writes articles thematically related mainly to education, which is closest to her. In 2017, Bożena Konkiel was honored by the Children Smile Foundation for her work on behalf of disadvantaged children. In 2018, Bożena Konkiel was elected marshal and led Greenpoint in the Pulaski Parade. Since 2021, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Polish Slavic Center, actively participating in the organization of events organized by the center. He also serves on the center’s scholarship committee. In 2023, Konkiel received the Silver Cross of Merit for her social activities among the Polish community and promoting Polish culture in the United States. That same year, on the occasion of National Heritage Month, she was recognized by Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Mayor Antonio Reynoso and Greenpoint-Lincoln Councilman Restler. Bożena Konkiel is the originator and organizer of the Polish Music Festival. The aim of the festival is to promote Polish music among young people and adults, integrate the Polish community, and raise funds for a scholarship program.
ZUZIA SMOLAGA – Miss Polonia CP-S 2024, graduate of the Academy of St. Stanisław Kostka in Greenpoint, currently a third-grade student at Townsend Harris High School. Zuzia has been involved in the life of the Polish community since childhood. From an early age, she danced in the Krakowianki i Górale band, and attended the Saturday Polish language school. Maria Konopnicka, and currently attends the Cyril and Methodius school, where he is preparing for the Polish language exam. He has been playing the piano for many years and takes part in annual concerts organized by KOBO Music Studio. Since 2023, Zuzia has been singing in The Copernicus Children’s Choir and taking part in many events organized by Polonia. Assists in events organized by the Polish-Slavic Center and the Academy of St. Stanisław Kostka. She studies very well, thanks to which she got into the Arista Honor Society, which is an honor. He is also the director of school plays. He takes part in the Festival of Nations, which is a dance performance. He also publishes photos in the school magazine.
Amelia Zabiński – Junior Miss Polonia – Student of the Academy of St. Stanisław Kostka in Greenpoint. From an early age, she has been dancing and singing in the Krakowianki i Górale band. Amelia plays the piano and sings in The Copernicus Children’s Choir. He attends the Polish language school. Cyril and Methodius. He likes playing volleyball and represents his school in interschool competitions. Very active in the life of the Polish community, she performs at various events organized by Polish organizations.
Lukas James Robert – Little Mr. Polonia, is a student of grade 3, speaks and reads Polish fluently, has been singing and dancing in the Krakowianki and Górale group for 4 years, sings in the Kopernikus band and plays the piano. He is a finalist in many poetry and mathematics competitions at the Polish Saturday School, and his most important performance was the Copernicus concert at Carnegie Hall. After school, he likes to play football and build Lego.
After raffling the distinguished people, there was a lottery for which sponsors prepared wonderful items: e.g. Apple watch, paintings by Polish artists, jewelry, gift cards, Broadway tickets, etc., over $8,000. The proceeds from the lottery are entirely intended for scholarships for Polish students-members of CPS
PSFCU, Ewa and Marek Giernicki, Robert and Aleksandra Chibowski, Patrizia’s Pizza & Pasta, Pułaski Parade Committee, Broadway Stages, Monika Bolkun–Robert & Carlos Robert, Edyta and Andrzej Kadzielawski, Fortunato Brothers, E & H Sky Flowers, Beata and Tadeusz Puk , Driggs Meat Market – Danuta Kurzyna, Syrena Bakery, Family Dental Care – Bożena Piekarz Lesiczka, Janusz and Iwona Opiola, Barbara and Kazimierz Wadołowski, Greenpoint Toys, Peter Pan, Met Food market of Greenpoint, Veselka Restaurant, Kiszka Meat Market, Restauracja Karczma , Bogdan Kujawski, Elzbieta Milko, Tatiana Serafin, Lupinski family, Melania Smolaga, Bozena Konkiel, Nicholas Kaponyas, Teresa Puk, Ann Marie Gorczyca, Marzena Zabinska, Zofia Kazior, Alice Lepicka-Obrycki, Katarzyna Gnatek, Irys Florist