Fraternalist of the Year 2013

Ken Decker

Polish Falcons of America wishes to congratulate this year’s Fraternalist of the Year recipient, Kenneth Decker of Nest 307 Southington, Conn.

Kenneth currently serves as the Nest 307 Treasurer. He has held that position for the past two years. Prior to becoming Treasurer, he was the Nest’s Financial Secretary.

Kenneth participates extensively each year in the Nest’s largest fundraiser, The Apple Harvest Festival, which is held every October, spanning two weekends. Kenneth works the Nest’s booth at the festival from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. He gives of his personal time, along with his wife, to design the Polish float for the festival’s parade. In addition, the Deckers invite all of the Nest’s youth Members to their home to assist with the float. Following the parade, the Deckers provide food and refreshments for fellow Nest Members.

Decker Family

Kenneth, a wonderful cook, also makes pierogi on Thursday nights as a fundraiser for his Nest. He participates yearly in the Nest’s Penguin Plunge, golf tournament, Easter and Christmas parties, amongst other picnics and celebrations.

Beyond his work with the Falcons, Kenneth organized a fundraiser in his community, raising $1,000, to send a local special needs child to camp. Along with his children, Kenneth has volunteered his time making Easter food baskets, as well as loading and unloading trucks, at The Southington Community Center on Saturday mornings.

Richmond native wins Sembrich vocal award

The American Council for Polish Culture has announced that Soprano Sarah Kate Walston has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Voice Award. The Award was presented on Aug. 4, 2013, at the ACPC’s annual Convention in Baltimore, Md.

Walston, a native of Richmond, Va., received a Bachelor of Music Degree at Lee University and a Master of Music degree and Graduate Performance Diploma at the Peabody Conservatory. She has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony and the Virginia Symphony. She has attended Lorin Maazel’s Castelton Residency for Young Artists program, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and was engaged as a Virginia Opera Spectrum Resident Artist during the 2010-2011 season. She has played numerous operatic roles including Musetta in “La Boheme”, Despina in “Cosi fan Tutte” and Zerlina in “Don Giovanni,” among others. She has received numerous enthusiastic reviews from music critics nationwide. According to the Cleveland Daily Banner, “To possess a voice so silvery that it soars among the more memorable classical timbres has made Sarah Kate Walston a musical must see.”

Walston’s August 4th recital included selections from Donizetti, Mozart (“Le nozze di Figaro”), Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss. The broad spectrum of her repertoire ranged from these classical pieces to a selection of Songs from “Kurpie Opus 58” by Karol Symanowski, which the artist sang in Polish, to popular tunes by Duke Ellington and traditional spirituals. The accompanist for the recital was pianist Joy Schreier of Maryland.

Walston was introduced by the chair of the ACPC Music Committee Alicia Dutka of the affiliated Polish Arts Club of Chicago, who presented the soloist with the 2013 Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Award. Members of the Music Committee include Jaroslaw Golembiowski, of the Chicago Chopin Society; Robert Synakowski, of the Polish Heritage Club of Syracuse, N.Y.; and Dr. Wanda O’Brien Trefil, of the Polish American Arts Association of Washington, D.C., who has accepted the appointment as Chairman of the Music Committee at the ACPC August National Convention.

Since its inception in 1948, the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) and its national affiliates have produced a wide range of programs supporting and promoting artists, scholars and musicians who have helped to advance an awareness and appreciation of Polish culture in the United States. For over forty years, the ACPC’s Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Voice Competition and Vocal Award have been foremost among these initiatives. Each year, through a national competition, the ACPC Music Committee selects one emerging young vocalist as the recipient of the $1,500 Vocal Award in support of the young artist’s career development. As part of this process, the selected vocalist is invited to present a recital at the organization’s annual convention.

The Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition and Award honors Polish vocalist Marcella Kochanska Sembrich, a coloratura soprano who is regarded as one of the most brilliant representatives of the vocal art of all time. The Polish artist was born in 1858 near the former Polish city of Lwów in the Austrian administrative region of Galicia. Kochanska Sembrich had an important singing career, chiefly at the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, and was a tremendous favorite at the Italian Opera in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Polish coloratura made her American debut in 1883 with the newly founded Metropolitan Opera Company after a sensational European career. Her retirement in 1909 was a gala affair at the Met, but she continued to give recitals until 1917. Kochanska Sembrich then taught privately and at the Juilliard and Curtis schools for as long as her health permitted. She died in New York in 1935. Throughout her life, Kochanska Sembrich was a great Polish patriot. During World War I she served as President of the American-Polish Relief Committee of New York. She was wholly devoted to raising money, food stuffs and clothes for her suffering countrymen.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Nest 163 walking team wins award

The newly-formed Nest 163 walking team won its first award, the “Most Team Spirit” award, on Saturday, May 11, at the Slaughterhouse Boys Festival 5k Run/Walk. The 5k race benefited the Benton Pennsylvania Junior High wrestling team. Fifteen participants and one infant represented Nest 163, ranging in age from 1 to 65. The team, coordinated by Instructress Michelle Metcalf and Treasurer Jeff Appolo, included Member Jimmy Zarr, who just had a knee replacement a month ago! Second Vice President Linda Milakovik took home first place in her age group! The team wore t-shirts with the PFA logo on the front and a slogan on the back reading, “Stagger Falcon Style,” a parody on the popular Gangnam Style. T-shirts are available for purchase at the Nest with proceeds being donated to breast cancer research. Nest 163 will walk in a benefit for ALS research next Saturday.

Mike Olendorf and son, Tyler, enjoying the day.

Mike Olendorf and son, Tyler, enjoying the day.