Monday, June 23, 2008

Wawel Goes to Milwaukee

On the longest day of the year, members of the Wawel Folk Ensemble found themselves in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the annual Polish Fest. They put the extra day light on June 20 and indeed the rest of the weekend to good use.

Milwaukee’s Polish Fest is the largest Polish festival in the United States and features Grammy award winning polka bands, a variety of Polish foods, folk art and folk dance groups. Since 1998, Wawel has annually visited Milwaukee to attend Polish Fest. The 2008 edition was held from June 20 – June 22.

On June 21, Wawel performed on the cultural stage in a performance with the Syrena Folk Ensemble from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During this performance, Wawel presented its Nowy Sącz and Podlasie suites. Podlasie is the newest addition to Wawel’s repertoire. In 2007, Wawel participated in the Polish Folk Dance Association of the Americas (PFDAA) festival which featured dance workshops teaching the region of Podlasie.

Later that evening, Wawel participated in the PFDAA gala concert on the cultural stage. In addition to Wawel’s performance of its Krakowiak, Nowy Sącz and Podlasie suites, performances were given by Syrena and Syrenka from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Polish Falcons from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lajkonik from Chicago, Illinois and Wici from Chicago, Illinois.

As the gala concert concluded, the skies around the festival ground opened up with a brief, but torrential downpour, which sent the dancers scrambling to make sure none of their folk dress items were damaged by the rain.

On Sunday, June 22, Wawel participated in procession at the annual Polish Fest mass. This year’s mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas Paprocki, an auxiliary bishop in Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago’s liaison to Polonia.

After mass, members of the Ensemble passed through the vendor booths looking for that last minute souvenir said their good byes to new and old friends and began the long trek home to Detroit – happy with the weekend and looking forward to Polish Fest 2009.

With the Polish Fest performances completed, Wawel now shifts its focus to preparing for its trip to the Rzeszow festival in July. The group’s next Metro Detroit area performance will be July 11, 2008 at the American Polish Century Club Polish Festival held at Freedom Hill Park in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Gotta Have Art

On Friday, June 6, 2008, members of the Wawel Folk Ensemble performed at the International Institute’s All World Market, which was part of the 22nd annual Festival of the Arts held on the Wayne State University Campus in Detroit, Michigan. Wawel has participated in this event annually going back to when the event was held in the fall and in Southfield.

Wawel presented the Krakowiak, the Karolina Polka, its Nowy Sacz suite and debuted its newest suite, songs and dances from the region of Podlasie. Wawel has long been preparing the Podlasie suite and participated in workshops featuring the songs and dances of Podlasie when the ensemble traveled to Chicago in the summer of 2007 to participate the Polish Folk Dance Association of the America’s festival.

Wawel will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to participate in the annual Polishfest the weekend of June 20 through 22, 2008. This will be a milestone Polishfest appearance for Wawel as they first appeared at Polishfest in 1998. After Polishfest, Wawel will perform at the APCC Polish Festival on July 11 held at Freedom Hill Park in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Three days after the Freedom Hill performance, members of the Ensemble will board planes as they travel to Rzeszow Poland to participate in the triennial Rzeszow Folk Festival. In addition to lots of dancing, the Ensemble will tour visit several cities in Poland including Krakow, Zakopane and Wroclaw.

For the past several months the Ensemble has been busily preparing for these summer performances with twice a week practices.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Upcoming Events

It's shaping up to be an exciting summer for the Wawel Folk Ensemble. If you're in the area, be sure to check out the Ensemble at the following events:

June 6 - Detroit Festival of the Arts (Wayne State University Campus, Detroit, Michigan)
June 20-22 - Polishfest (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
July 11 - APCC Polish Festival (Freedom Hill County Park, Sterling Heights, Michigan)
July 17 - 24 - Rzeszow Folk Festival (Rzeszow Poland)
August 9 - Pierogi Festival (Sweetest Heart of Mary Church, Detroit, Michigan)
August 16 - Summer Festival (St. Malachy Church, Sterling Heights, Michigan)
September 1 - Labor Day Parade (Hamtramck, Michigan)

Hope to see you there!

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