Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wesolego Alleluja

On Sunday, March 23, 2008, members of the Wawel Folk Ensemble celebrated their 30th Anniversary of participating in the Resurrection Mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church in Detroit, Michigan. In addition to participating in Easter services, Wawel regularly participates in holiday and special liturgies at Sweetest Heart.

In 1978, Sweetest Heart parishioner and Wawel member, John Zaporski approached Sweetest Heart’s then pastor Fr. Bohdan Kosicki with idea of Wawel’s participation in the Easter Resurrection mass procession in Polish folk dress. Fr. Kosicki enthusiastically approved.

Wawel was sent an invitation to participate which accepted by Wawel’s then Director and Choreographer, Marcia Lewandowski, and the members of the ensemble. The ensemble made an immediate and positive impression on Sweetest Heart’s congregation as the prepared to take their place in the procession. The ensemble was attired in the elaborate folk dress of the town dwellers of Zywiec, Poland. Members of the Ensemble also brought their families for Wawel’s first Easter Mass at Sweetest Heart. For many of the members, it was their first time in the Church.

Members of the Ensemble were awestruck at the beauty and majesty of the church although in 1978, the interior of the church was in dire need of restoration and repair. Paint was peeling off the walls in certain areas and there was visible damage to certain areas of the gold leaf canvas ceiling. Still, the Resurrection Mass of 1978 is remembered as one of the most beautiful masses celebrated at Sweetest Heart. The mass featured the singing of Sweetest Heart’s choir, an increase in mass attendance and Wawel’s participation.

The Wawel Folk Ensemble’s participation in Sweetest Heart’s events has grown throughout the years to include participation in the Christmas Eve Pasterka procession, several May crownings, and performing at the parish’s annual Pierogi Festival since the festival’s inception.

For Easter 2008, the Wawel Folk Ensemble, attired in folk dress from the region of Kaszuby, processed in the beautifully restored church interior. Wawel continues to participate in Sweetest Heart of Mary’s vibrant parish community with its pastor, Fr. Mark Borkowski dedicated to the preservation of the Polish Heritage.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Marching In

On March 1, 2008, members of the Wawel Folk Ensemble participated in the first annual Festival of Polish Dance sponsored by the Polish American Cultural Center in Troy, Michigan. The event featured 31 different performances by Polish Folk Groups from the Metro Detroit area. Wawel presented its Rzeszow suite to a standing room only crowd and also had a table at the event with information about the group's history, performances, and booking.

On March 2, 2008, Wawel participated in the 6th annual blessing of the Polish American Folk Dance Ensemble's mass at St. Hyacinth Parish in Detroit, Michigan. This is a now annual event started by St. Hyacinth's pastor emeritus, Fr. Frank Skalski. Wawel has participated in this event since its inception.

Wawel's will next appear in procession on Easter Sunday at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church for their Resurrection Mass. 2008 will mark the 30th Anniversary of Wawel's participation in the Easter Sunday services. In addition to participating in Easter services at Sweetest Heart of Mary, Wawel annually participates in their Pierogi Festival and in procession at their Christmas Eve Pasterka Mass.

Wawel will next perform at a private event on April 12 and then again on April 27, 2008 at Transfiguration/ Our Lady Help of Christians' Parish for their annual Spring Festival.

If all that wasn't enough, the members of the Ensemble are hard at work rehearsing the Polish suites and American novelty number they will present at the Rzeszow Folk Festival in Rzeszow, Poland this summer.

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