Last Sunday 11 November 2018 an Evening of Poetry and Music marking 100 years of Polish independence has been held at St Mary’ Cathedral in Aberdeen. The event drew about 80 attendees – Polish and some locals lovers of European culture.
The musical setting and historical narrative was prepared by Lidia Konar, a history teacher at Saint Stanislaw Kostka Polish School in Aberdeen. Marek Bogaczewicz and Patrycja Iwaszkiewicz presented to the audience the most important events related to the regaining of independence by Poland.
The evening featured Polish military songs from the World War I played by Robert Książek, the pianist, Seweryn Wzgarda, the guitarist and Katarzyna Wesołowska, the flute player, who also helped with reading. In turn, Lidia Konar was leading the singing. However, the audience carried a tune pretty much the entire time. Among others they sang the March of the First Brigade written in 1917 and originally sung by soldiers of the First Brigade of the Polish Legions commanded by Józef Piłsudski, who later also served as the Chief of State and First Marshal of Poland.
The audience also enjoyed listening to a few famous Polish poems written by outstanding writers who lived during the era of the partitions of Poland: Marek Bogaczewicz read Adam Mickiewicz’s immensely popular poem “The Death of the Colonel”, and Agnieszka Gawlak presented “The Old Trail” by Józef Mączka. Young artists also helped in the event: Julia Gawlak, 10, read a poem “What to love” by Władysław Bełza and Amelia Halczyn, 11, reminded attendees the famous poem of Cyprian Kamil Norwid – “My Little Song.”
Participants in the event had the opportunity to see a small exhibition prepared by Joanna Schmitz, the director of the Polish School. The collection included souvenirs such school textbooks from the 1930s, home tools and old photographs.
“Thank you for a beautiful time. There were emotions and tears” said Kasia, one of the participants of the event. Krzysztof, who lives in Norwegian Bergen, could not hide his astonishment: “I’ve been just passing through here. I have not expected such a celebration.”