Remembering Poland’s Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013)

Remembering Poland’s outstanding pianist & composer Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013)

From the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago

Wojciech Kilar, Poland’s renowned pianist and composer of classical music and scores for many films, e.g. Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning “The Pianist” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” died on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 in Katowice.

Wojciech Kilar is considered one of the co-founders of the highly regarded Polish Composers’ School. He cooperated with many Polish and foreign film directors, including: Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrzej Wajda, Kazimierz Kutz, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jane Campion and Francis Ford Coppola.

Kilar composed scores for more than 100 masterpieces of the world cinema. His music for “Dracula” won him the Best Score Composer award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He also received the French national film award César for Roman Polanski Oscar-winning “The Pianist.”

For his outstanding contributions to the Polish culture he was awarded, among others, Poland’s highest decoration, The Order of the White Eagle from Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Wojciech Kilar was born in 1932 in Lvov, a then-Polish city, now in Ukraine. He spent his childhood in Rzeszow and Krakow in southern Poland before moving to Katowice in Poland’s region of Upper Silesia, where he lived most of his life and which he considered his “little homeland.” He was also deeply attached to Czestochowa where he often celebrated his birthdays.

Wojciech Kilar graduated with top honors from the State Music Academy in Katowice in 1955. He launched his career in the late 1950s. From the early 1960s he co-founded, together the renowned Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, the Polish avant-garde school and a new approach to musical composition in contemporary music called sonorism.

“Over the past half a century Wojciech Kilar’s symphonic, sacral and film music accompanied us nearly every day. Sometimes we are not aware that a well-known motif or theme was written by Wojciech Kilar. He was a widely admired artist,” said Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

“Wojciech Kilar was a leading world-class composer. His works are characterized by quality, diversity and perfection,” said Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister for Culture and National Heritage.

“Poland has lost one of the most individual voices in 20th and 21st-century music,” said Jerzy Kornowicz, Chairman of the Polish Composers’ Union.

Wojciech Kilar will be buried in Katowice on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

More at the Consulate’s website: www.chicago.mfa.gov.pl
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Polish government prepares to sell stake in Energa

The Polish government is gearing up for central Europe’s biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in two years as it prepares to sell a stake in electricity company Energa. The Polish State Treasury has started the process of selling 141.5 million shares (a 34.2% stake) in the country’s third-biggest utility company, raising up to $913 million. Shares have been set at a maximum price of $6.50 each, according to a prospectus published on Energa’s website, with Bloomberg News reporting that the state, whose share will fall to 50%, plans to sell its shares for at least $4.85 each.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Druhna Chris: 2014 Schedule of Events

Well first of all, I hope that everyone is enjoying their holiday season, shopping, decorating and baking. I know that at this time of year everyone gets really busy, so I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope that Santa brings you everything you want and that you get to spend lots of time with family and friends celebrating, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

2014 looks to be another exciting year for the Polish Falcons of America. The Walking Program continues, and all paperwork should be turned in by Feb. 1, 2014. I have already started the search for new and unusual prizes for everyone. If you need copies of the Walking Program paperwork or have any questions, feel free to email me and I can send you what you need.

The Polish Falcons of America Third Annual Future Leaders Conference will take place the weekend of Feb. 21 – 23, 2014. Invitations will be sent to the individuals who are invited to attend. I am hoping to be able to fill all of the spots this year. The Future Leaders will be presented with information that will help them to understand the inner workings of the PFA and to prepare them to become leaders in their Nest, District, or even at National Headquarters. I am looking forward to working with these youth Members again.

The Adult Volleyball Tournament will be held the weekend of March 14 -15, 2014. A special “Thank You” goes out to the Officers and Members of Nest 86 Hamtramck, Mich. for hosting this year’s event. Play will take place at the Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy in Warren, Mich. The entry fee is $60 per player and $30 per guest. We will be staying at Comfort Inn Warren in Warren, Mich. The number to call for reservations is 586-268-9020. The cost is $69 plus tax per room per night with breakfast included. The deadline to book a room is March 1, 2014. The deadline for entry into the tournament is March 3, 2014. All of the information and entry forms will be on the website under the Adult Programs tab. Just download the application and mail it with your check to: Druhna Chris Puskar – Volleyball, Polish Falcons of America, 381 Mansfield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.

Zlot-Banner

The biggest event of 2014 will be the 36th Polish Falcons of America National Zlot. The Zlot will take place the week of July 6 – 12, 2014 at Edinboro University in Edinboro, Penn. The campus is about 120 miles north of Pittsburgh and should give us everything we need to have another great gathering of youth Members.

The Zlot may look a little different in 2014, as we are adding some things and bringing back some things. Hopefully we can reach out and give everyone something that fits their interests. We will have our usual events of Volleyball, Track and Field, Drill Competition, Gymnastics and Swimming.

We have added an Arts & Crafts competition this year. The theme of the competition is “Friendship.” There are four categories: Polish Crafts, Painting and Drawing, Photography and 3-Dimensional Art. You prepare the artwork at home and bring it with you to the Zlot. The art pieces will be judged on Construction and Materials, Difficulty/Complexity, Finishing and Display, Neatness and Best Representation of Theme. Awards will be given in each age group.

The other event that is new to our Zlot is a Singles Bowling Tournament. Everyone will participate in the COED Tournament. The age groups will be the same as in all our competitions. The Preps will bowl two games with bumpers. All other divisions will bowl three games. The Tournament will be held at Eastland Bowling, the same place as the 2013 Adult National Bowling Tournament was held.

Following the bowling, we will be having dinner at Nest 123 Erie, Penn. Special thanks to Nest 123 for their hospitality. After dinner, Druh Larry Kozlowski, our Cultural Commissioner, will host a Cultural Workshop for all the participants at Nest 123. It should be a fun-filled evening.

Friday will be the last day of activities for the Zlot. We will have our Closing Mass and our final dinner on campus that day. Of course that evening we will have our Closing Dance complete with Druhna Trish’s snack smorgasbord! I know I can’t wait for that!

I hope that you will get excited and get all the youth Members that you know to join us for some fun-filled competition and camaraderie. Come and see your old friends and make some new ones. If you have never been to one of our events, this would be a good one to start with attending. You will find out what an amazing organization you are a part of and how many amazing people there are in the PFA. If you are not a Member, now is the time to sign up and join in the fun!

I know that some of our youth Members have already started the countdown to the Zlot. I am not sure whether they do it just to get excited or to stress me out! Either way, I am glad that the Zlot is an important event in their lives and I hope it will be another Falcon activity that can be kept forever in their hearts and memories!

I am working and planning to help all the Nests to be able to participate in 2014.

As always, if you have any questions about any of our activities, please feel free to contact me and I will do whatever I can to help. Email is probably the best way to get in touch with me but you can call the office too. My email is cpuskar@polishfalcons.org and the phone number at the office is 800-535-2071 toll-free or 412-922-2244.

Once again Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

NATO Secretary General praises Polish involvement

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who came to Poland to monitor NATO’s Steadfast Jazz 2013 military exercises on November 7, 2013, said that Poland is an important part of NATO operation, adding that he expects the country to continue its involvement in the Alliance after the ISAF mission in Afghanistan is completed in 2014.

“Large exercises, such as Steadfast Jazz, are crucial for NATO,” Rasmussen said. “During these exercises our commanders, soldiers and training efforts are concentrated in one place, to emphasize the solidarity of the Alliance, to improve our skills and show that NATO is ready, willing and able to respond to all challenges in the future,” he said.

“Poland is an important member of our operations, since for many years it has been present in Afghanistan, especially in such a difficult province as Ghazni. I am counting on Poland’s further involvement in the Alliance after 2014, when the mission in Afghanistan is finished,” Rasmussen said adding Poland is “a loyal and devoted member of NATO.”

He thanked Poland for organizing the drills at Drawsko Pomorskie training ground, which involved about 6,000 personnel from NATO member nations and partner countries Sweden, Finland and Ukraine, and were the Alliance’s largest war games in seven years. They were designed to test NATO’s ability to defend an ally if it comes under attack.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said that Solidarity is the most important principle of NATO operations. According to the president, modern states need modern armies; however, modernity also means the tested solidarity principle.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry

REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY
MEETING WITH STAFF AND FAMILIES AT THE U.S. EMBASSY, WARSAW
November 5, 2013

Distributed by the Polonia Media Network

Ambassador Mull: All right, good morning, people and (in Polish). One of the most momentous things that can happen in any embassy is for the Secretary of State to come visit. But today, we have something even more momentous, and that’s the opportunity to welcome a fellow Red Sox fan to Warsaw. (Laughter.) So I present to you, Mr. Secretary, team Warsaw. Welcome to Poland.

Secretary Kerry: Thanks very much. Wow. Thank you. Dzien dobry.

Audience: Dzien dobry.

Kerry: Good morning. Nice to see everybody. Thank you for being out here and freezing. How long have you been out here? (Laughter.) How long have you been out here?

Participant: Over an hour.

Kerry: Long enough for your teeth to be chattering. (Laughter.) Well, I’ll get you indoors really fast. I apologize for ̶ everybody. But it’s good New England weather. Any New Englanders here?

Audience: Yes.

Kerry: What? One, two? That’s it? All right. Well, thank you very much. Well, how come — everybody else is a Red Sox fan notwithstanding, right? (Laughter.)

Yeah. Thank you. It’s a great, great privilege to be here, and I’m particularly happy to be able to get to my first bilateral in Central Europe. And I’m glad it’s here in Poland because obviously the relationship with Poland is very, very special. And last night I went out to the former Prime Minister’s gravesite, and it was so moving in the night to be standing under all those birch trees, and you could smell the aroma from the birch and the flowers around the many graves, and they were all lit with candlelight. It was just very, very dramatic and a special introduction, if you will. So I was grateful for that good moment.

I want to thank our great Ambassador and his wife, Cheri. Thank you very, very much, both of you, for your terrific job. We – he really is one of the most experienced people in the Foreign Service. He’s been everywhere all over the place, served as Executive Secretary, worked as an assistant to Bill Burns. He’s had ambassadorships and been in so many trouble spots. And this is not a trouble spot, so it’s probably soft landing for him, but it’s a very special spot. Thank you for your great work. I really appreciate it.

And I guess – and Doug Greene – where’s Doug? Doug’s over there. And Randa, is she here somewhere hiding in front? I understand that when they’re not pouring beers at the Salty Dog, they can be found on YouTube making a new hit – recording something. What do you guys – what do you play?

Participant: Well, we just sing along to other songs.

Kerry: You sing along to other songs? Is it worth listening to, folks?

No answer necessary. I know – I want to protect your promotions. (Laughter.)

Let me just say that what you do here, I think you all know this, is – apart from freezing – is really, really important. Last night after I came back from the cemetery, I took the time because I wanted to go just sort of read up a little bit because I know how special Warsaw is. And the history of Poland is just absolutely remarkable. This city, which was razed by Hitler, and about 85% of it destroyed, which has been occupied and reoccupied and assaulted and re-assaulted and names from the Bolshevik era to Napoleon are associated with the battles here. And always the people of Poland have fought back in the most incredible way.

We think of Warsaw and you think of Warsaw Convention, Warsaw Pact, Warsaw ghetto, Warsaw uprising in all of these amazing moments of history that are affiliated with this city. And the brilliance of its rebirth is a great story for everybody in the world. And I get to walk through downtown today and walk up to the old wall of the old city, and I wish I had had more time. But to look at the rebuilding and the way in which the care has gone into trying to restore what was there. How many cities in the world, how many towns, villages, have that sense of history, that connection and the willpower to try to make that kind of replication take place for all of its cost and all of its difficulty.

It’s really a great story. And I think a story that is particularly reflective of the people in this country.

As many of you know, we in Massachusetts have a particular link to a fellow named Casimir Pulaski who came to Marblehead, Massachusetts and wrote a letter to George Washington in which he offered himself up saying I’ve come here for freedom and I’m willing to fight and die for freedom here and became this Revolutionary War hero to us and a great figure in all of history. That is the connection between the United States and Poland.

And now we have special modern day linkages – the commitment to the missile defense and to NATO. We’re about to celebrate the 25th anniversary of freedom, the 15th anniversary of NATO, the 10th anniversary of the membership in the EU.

All of these things are signals of a great evolution for Poland that now makes it one of the powerhouses economically and security-wise within the European community.

So that’s what you’re all a part of. And every day that you engage in this relationship – I think we’re about, what, 120-strong as Americans here, or something like that? And 350 or so foreign nationals? And whether you’re Foreign Service or Civil Service or a local employee or whatever – foreign national working here – every one of you are ambassadors for the United States of America. And every one of you, every day in your interactions, are America. You may be, in many cases, the only American someone will meet or get to know or be the first face they get to see when they come to the Consulate, to the – particularly consular affairs, visa, or whatever it is to be able to travel the country and reunite with family members and so forth.

So, President Obama and I really want to thank you for helping to sustain and grow a vital relationship. Hopefully in the next days the leadership of Poland and the region can help to bring Ukraine into the Eastern Partnership. That will be a very important thing, along with Moldova and Georgia. And a very significant growth of European possibilities. And also the TTIP – the TTIP as we call it. That has the ability to transform both of our economies and create one of the largest marketplaces in the world, which will raise the standards of doing business and assist us to be able to have a race to the top, not a race to the bottom, as can happen in so many places.

So I’m going to end your torture in the cold, stop your freezing, and just sort of wrap up here and have a chance to say hello to you and do a few photos. But you’re doing something unique. It’s not a lot of jobs – believe me, I ran for president, I went all around America. I met people all over the country, many of whom I found didn’t love the jobs they were in, but go to work every day so they can do the things they want to do raising their families. This is a job you get to love every day, because you’re making a difference for your country. You’re making a difference for other people. It’s tangible. It’s rewarding. And as a result, our country is projecting our values and our interests in ways that you can take pride in.

So a profound thank you to each and every one of you. I’m proud to serve as Secretary of State, and I promise you, as long as you have my back, I’ll have yours. Thank you all very, very much. Take care.

(Applause.)