Thursday, September 14, 2023

Modjeska Club at the "National Reading" - Orzeszkowa's "Nad Niemnem" in Los Angeles, 9.9.23


Narodowe Czytanie, National Reading 9 September 2023, Los Angeles

Project of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, under the honorary patronage of Consul General, Marta Wolanska 

Collaborating Partners: Polish Parish of Our Lady of the Bright Mount – Sanctuary of John Paul II; Polish Alma Mater - Polish School, the Poland's Millenium Library, and the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles

On Saturday, September 9, 2023, the Consulate of the Republic of Poland, in cooperation with four Polish organizations, presented National Reading, a global cultural event aimed at popularizing Polish reading and literature. This year's topic was the novel Nad Niemnem by Eliza Orzeszkowa, chosen because of the topic of the January Uprising, which, among other things, it touched upon. The year 2023 is the 160th anniversary of the outbreak of this uprising against the Russians occupying Poland since 1795.

Consul General Marta Wolanska

Students, teachers, parents and guests gathered in the Parish Hall of the Church of Our Lady of Jasna Góra in Los Angeles to listen to the reading of fragments of the novel prepared by five adults and five children. Among the adults were: Father Mirosław Frankowski, Consul General Marta Wolańska, Stanisław Jarecki from the Millenium Library, Polish School teacher Mariola Bałazy and Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, event coordinator, actress, and Vice-President of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club.

After welcoming those present by the School Director, Henryka Łazarz, Father Mirek Frankowski spoke, celebrating another example of cooperation between many Polish organizations, the Consulate, and the Church. Consul General Marta Wolańska recalled the wonderful first National Reading, a great event in the Ogrod Saski ("Saxon Garden") park in Warsaw, in which she had the pleasure of participating. Mrs. Consul also talked about the importance of reading books for the intellectual and emotional development of young people and about rediscovering "classics" known from school by adults. Reading does not have to be in Polish, it can also be in English: the most important thing is to read longer texts, not only mini-blogs or messages on social media.

Julian Saleba plays For Elise by Beethoven

The event was planned and coordinated by Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Vice-President of the Modjeska Club, a well-known actress and mother of two students from the Polish School, Antoni and Fabian LeConte, who took part in the youth group. When determining the format of "reading", Śmiechowicz decided to limit the time to about an hour, add musical interludes, and invite adults and children to read. The point is to encourage young people, the future of the Polish community, to read books, so the students' participation was crucial.

Katarzyna Smiechowicz

Although the topic of the 1863 January Uprising was important, Śmiechowicz believed that the most important thing was to show moral dilemmas and conflicts of various value systems between successive generations of nobility, both the rich and the provincial ones, in the Eastern Borderlands. In the previous generation depicted in Nad Niemnem, Benedykt Korczyński, a hard-working estate owner, married a beautiful but pretentious lady, who after many years turned into a bitter "complainer" of constant grievances, hypochondria, and a complete lack of understanding for his hard work and dedication to the family. His only comfort was his children and the joy of life that their love brought. The main characters of the novel were Justyna Orzelska, an impoverished "high-class" cousin of the Korczyński family, and her beloved Jan Bohatyrowicz, a simple and honest but poor nobleman from a small settlement. The landowner family tried to force Justyna to agree to marriage with a rich "great lord", but instead of giving in and succumbing to their persuasion, she publicly announced the engagement to her beloved. Śmiechowicz summed up the situation this way: "It's a beautiful example of fidelity to principles and willpower, as well as a difficult choice: instead of living in luxury with an unloved stranger, the decision to marry for love and work together to create a family and a beautiful future."

As the President of the Modjeska Club, my task was to introduce the 19th-century writer and her work to those in attendance at the National Reading. The text of my essay is below.
Kasper Yoder closes the program with Chopin's Revolutionary Etude

Between the segments of the novel presented by adults and young people, a musical interlude was performed by a young pianist - a student from the Polish School, Julian Saleba, playing Beethoven's For Eliza. Five students read the second part of the novel: Anna-Sophia Kurpiewski, Antoni Leconte, Fabian Leconte, Karolina Czerwczak, and Piotr Brózda. At the end, a graduate of the Polish School, a student of UCLA in the piano department, an outstanding pianist who has already won many competitions, Kasper Yoder, performed. Chopin's Revolutionary Etude (Op. 10, No. 12, in C minor) sounded impressive under his fingers, closing the National Reading with an accent of musical virtuosity and a range of intense emotions.

Special thanks to all the organizers and participants; especially, not mentioned above Lukasz Sochur with his wife, parents of Polish School students, who volunteer to take care of all AV projection, five microphones, slides, and more.

Consul Generaln Marta Wolanska, Katarzyna Śmiechowicz

Adults read: Stanislaw Jarecki, Consul Wolanska, Father M. Frankowski

Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Maja Trochimczyk


A word about the writer and the novel Nad Niemnem

Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, President of the Modjeska Club

Who was Orzeszkowa? Known under the surname of her first husband (Piotr Orzeszko - hence Orzeszko-wa), as a child her name was Elżbieta Pawłowska, and she was the daughter of lawyer Benedykt. She was born on June 6, 1841 on the Milkowszczyzna family estate, but after her father's death (he died when she was only three years old) she lived in nearby Grodno, a city now in Belarus. It used to be a large Polish city in the Eastern Borderlands, near Białystok.

At home she was called Elise, or Lisa in French,  she went to Warsaw to study at a boarding school for noble girls, where she became friends with Maria Konopnicka, later an equally famous writer. Her father had a large collection of books, so there was a lot to read; since childhood, Eliza showed her literary talent. However, she was only 17 years old when her mother selected her husband she was forced to marry. Piotr Orzeszko was 16 years older than Eliza. After marrying him in 1858, she lived on his estate in Ludwinów. During the January Uprising in 1863, they helped the insurgents; for instance. they took care of the wounded leader of the Uprising, Romuald Traugutt, for two weeks. This kindness cost them a lot. An informer denounced them and notified the Russian authorities about this; as a result, Piotr Orzeszko was arrested and sent to Siberia, where he died. The real estate property was taken by the Russian government. Orzeszkowa returned to her family home; she started reading and writing more - short stories, articles, and novels. After selling the estate in 1869, she lived in Grodno until her death and earned her living as a writer.

She combined artistic talent, careful observation and sensitivity to the melody of language with a positive philosophy of life. She belonged to the so-called group of positivists who were looking for a way for national survival in the era of repressions after the fall of the January Uprising. She believed in the ideals of social justice, the emancipation of women - that is, their education, upbringing in moral, national and religious values, and the right to professional work. Today women have these rights, back then they couldn't even go to college. Let us remember that Maria Skłodowska had to go to Paris to study chemistry and physics. She could not study in Polish lands ruled by Russia.

Orzeszkowa believed in national values related to the community of impoverished and patriotic nobility and peasants, and advocated cooperation between social classes. She admired the traditions of the provincial nobility - they had titles and noble coats of arms, but little money, so everyone worked on their small estates. "A nobleman on the farm, equal to the voivode!" Noblewomen wore white gloves to distinguish themselves from peasant women... When I was a child, my grandmother also wore white gloves and dressed me in such gloves when going to church on Sundays, during holidays in the countryside.

Orzeszkowa's characters lived close to nature; they created close, cordial bonds between people - in the family, in the village, on the estate: they worked together, celebrated holidays, sang and had fun. In a word, an Eden. Arcadia. This model of life, in which everyone can live in a house with a garden, grow their food, and enjoy contact with nature, is an ideal model for all humanity. There is enough space on Earth to make it happen. Apparently all the people in the world could be accommodated in houses with gardens on an area equal to Russia. If they were crammed into apartments, all nine billion of them would fit in Australia, and if they were crammed into large skyscrapers like in Manhattan, New Zealand would be enough for all of humanity. There is enough space for everyone. Only the richest billionaires, owners and controllers of giant corporations, giant financial institutions, do not want this - because independent, proud, self-sufficient people will never be their slaves.

Orzeszkowa did not like the richest of the nobility, denationalized, snobbish, bored, exploiting the peasants - because they did not work themselves, they were "above" the prose of everyday life... She criticized the snobbery, selfishness and leisure of the rich, foreign-educated Poles who cut themselves off from their roots, from national concerns and affairs. She promoted the cult of work as a cure for everything. She also cared about the assimilation and acceptance of Jews, to which she devoted several novels. In total, she wrote over forty novels and volumes of short stories. Let me quote some titles: The Last Love, From the Life of a Realist, In the Provinces, In the Cage, Virtuous, Pan Graba, Marta, Pompalińscy, Meir Ezofowicz, Widma (Ghosts), Sylwek Cmentarnik, Dziurdziowie, Cham, Jędza (Witch), Melancholicy and Bańka mydlana (A Soap Bubble).

In 1904, Orzeszkowa was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, competing with Henryk Sienkiewicz, who ultimately received the award for his masterpiece Quo Vadis. The novel that was submitted for "Elise Orzeszko" for the award was Nad Niemnem. The writer died in 1910 (she was almost the same age as Helena Modrzejewska, 1840-1909) and was buried in Grodno. Józef Kotarbiński said at the funeral: "She was the living wisdom and the feeling heart of the entire era..." Today, there is a monument in her honor in Grodno, and two monuments to Orzeszkowa are in Warsaw.

The novel Nad Niemnem was commissioned by a periodical; it first appeared in serialization in Tygodnik Ilustrowany in 1887. The entire novel was published in three volumes a year later. Nad Niemen shows the life of the nobility - both the richest and the provincial ones - in the Polish Eastern Borderlands, near Grodno. It is based on the author's authentic observations. The action takes place mainly in Korczyn - the estate of Benedykt Korczyński, modeled on the Miniewicze estate of the Kamieński family. Nearby there is a settlement of poor nobility, Bohatyrowicze: it ws a real place, later part of a village called Samostrzelniki... but we don't know whether anything was left of it after the war. My great aunt Antonina Glińska's Skarbkowo near Baranowicze, after her the murder of her husband by Soviets and her deportation with sons to Siberia, was incorporated into the collective farm, plowed up completely, only one pear tree was left in the fields... Aunt Tonia told me about it sadly, and her last pear tree was portrayed in my poem...

The theme of the novel Nad Niemnem was initially supposed to be the misalliance (that was the title, Misalliance) of a lady from a good home, although impoverished, but coming from high society, Justyna Orzelska (a cousin of the Korczyński family) and her beloved, simple and honest Jan Bohatyrowicz, a poor a nobleman from a small settlement. The author gradually expanded the number of characters and topics, thus portraying the entire nobility, various social classes, landscapes and nature in the novel. She devoted a lot of space to descriptions of nature - you can find detailed images of as many as 140 different plants in the text! The events during the action take place in 1886; they are confronted with memories from the past, from the time of the January Uprising of 1863. The decisions, values and fate of the characters "now" are reflected in the mirror of the past, when similar situations led to different decisions and different consequences.

Historian and literary critic Stanisław Brzozowski called Orzeszkowa "Mickiewicz's younger sister" - because she returned to themes and places known from his epic poem Pan Tadeusz, set in Lithuania on estates and in manor houses of the Polish nobility... The immense popularity of the novel Nad Niemnem resulted in the intervention of the Russian censorship that banned the printing of the fourth edition in 1890. Nad Niemnem has been popular for years. It was adapted into two films, made in 1939 and 1987, and a TV series. Two theater plays were also created on the basis of its stories. The wonderful panorama of life on the Niemen River contains many examples of the authentic Polish language from the Grodno area in the Borderlands, especially in the Bohatyrowicz family, the most positive characters of the novel.  Orzeszkowa wrote about this version of the Polish language:

 "One of the most original and interesting features that distinguish these people is their speech, their Polish language. At first, to those accustomed to today's literary and salon language it seems so unusual that some expressions are almost impossible to understand [...] However, after listening to it carefully, for a long time, it turns out to be simply old Polish and completely pure, only so old, that for many words you have to go to Rej [...] It gives the impression of serious, pure speech with a completely native spirit, especially since the syntax, word order and period phrases give a certain old-fashioned tone."

The values and ideals that Orzeszkowa promotes in the book are certainly not old-fashioned. She presents a vision of a dignified and just life, based on family relationships and national traditions, moral principles, respect and love for loved ones. These values are not antiquitated but timeless. It is a life close to nature; a peaceful existence in houses with gardens, in houses surrounded by fertile fields, where each family can grow everything they need and earn enough for a life of dignity and peace. This ideal was promoted by Orzeszkowa, a visionary in the 19th century; this ideal is valid both for us and for the whole world, for today and tomorrow.

Maja Trochimczyk

Sunday, September 3, 2023

50 Years of Art at Modjeska Club - Exhibition Opening at Vienna Woods, 23 Sept. 2023, at 6pm


50 Years of Art: Artists of the Modjeska Club is an exhibit of artwork by five eminent Polish American painters and artists (here listed in chronological order, below by last name): Stanislaw Szukalski, Leonard Konopelski, Zbigniew Nyczak, Slawek Wisniewski, and Janusz Maszkiewicz. Held at Vienna Woods Gallery, 351 South  La Brea Blvd, Los Angeles 90036, the exhibition will be on view from September 23 to October 22, and the opening reception will take place on Saturday, 23 September 2023, at 6 pm. RSVP to to 20 September 2023.


Leonard Konopelski is a painter and graphic designer. Born in Poland in 1942, he was educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, graduating with a M.A. in 1973. In addition to painting, Konopelski designs film and theater posters, theater set and costumes. For over 25 years he served as professor teaching design and painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and is now its Professor Emeritus.  Earlier he has taught in CalArt, CSU Long Beach, CSU Fullerton, USC Los Angeles, University of Kansas, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, Mexico, University of Ulsan, South Korea and UMCS Lublin, Poland.


Konopelski is a member of the Krakart Group of Polish-American artists in California and often exhibits his works jointly with this group. He is also an art collector and samples from his collection of Polish Film Posters that he donated to the Art Center were recently exhibited in Pasadena.


Andrzej Kolodziej, Maja Trochimczyk, Leonard Konopelski at Antonina Konopelska Photo Exhibition, Vienna Woods, 2018

Konopelski is the designer of the poster for this Exhibition as well as of the logo of the Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club that has been in use since the 1990s. The image of the Polish eagle symbolizing the nation, placed atop a classical Greek column in Ionic style, symbolizing cultural pursuit is a perfect expression of the Club’s mission, dedicated to the promotion of Polish Culture. In addition, Konopelski hosted many meetings of the Club, interviewing artists, or presenting films about artists or the arts. 


Founder of Vienna Woods, painter Janusz Maszkiewicz is a proficient craftsman, sculptor and a preeminent artist in the field of marquetry veneer inlays. He studied art restoration and chemistry at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. At the same time, he attended classes in drawing and painting. At the end of the 1970s, he was active in the artistic environment of Toruń. In the 1980s he lived in London. In 1989 he emigrated to New York, where he was represented by the Stendahl Gallery on Broadway in Soho. 

Maszkiewicz, Untitled, oil on canvas, 150 cm X 150 cm

In 1993, he moved west, to Santa Monica, California. There, he opened his own company, which dealt with the construction and design of furniture, as well as the restoration of works of art. Eventually he settled in Los Angeles at 351 South La Brea, where he opened his own gallery. "His large-format compositions are a testimony to great culture, artistic sensitivity and an extremely sublime, valuable synthesis" - says one of the curators of our exhibition, prof. zv. dr hab. Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz. Maszkiewicz is a member of Krakart Group in Los Angeles and often exhibits with this group in California, New York, and Poland.  

Janusz Maszkiewicz – Nocturne, oil on canvas, 60’ X 60’


Zbigniew Nyczak is a graduate of the Faculty of Interior Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1976 – 1981). He has been living and creating in Los Angeles for over forty years. His paintings have won recognition in many circles of the artistic world; his artwork is also enjoying the interest of art sponsors and collectors both in the United States and abroad. His works have been presented in many renowned art institutions, including galleries, museums and exhibitions, to mention only the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, the Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles, the Old West Museum in Cheyenne and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery of American Art and Portraiture in Washington, where his portrait of William Schomaker has become part of the permanent exhibition. Three years ago, this image was printed as a 30-foot banner and placed on the façade of the building as a unique advertisement for this renowned museum. 

Nyczak's work can be seen in many cities, including New York, San Francisco, San Antonio, Palm Springs, Lexington, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Pasadena and the Simic gallery on the famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. In addition, his works have also found their way to international locations such as Warsaw, Dubai, Vienna, Paris and Nairobi. As a representative of the United States, he was invited by an Arab sheikh to Dubai, where he presented his series of racehorse paintings, focused on the world's best horse races. In the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah, he also taught painting classes at the local university for the son and daughter of the reigning sheikh. 

Nyczak was also invited to Poland by the producers of the historical epic film Ogniem i Mieczem (With Fire and Sword) to create documentation in the form of oil paintings, which served as elements of the film's promotion. These works have been featured in exhibitions and TV broadcasts, and all 20 paintings have been sold in an online auction conducted for a week on the morning programs of the TV station Polsat. The artist also created an oil portrait of Hugh Hefner's residence, Playboy Mansion West, which was used in the artist's successful promotion at a major gala, and then entered the host's private collection.

In Laguna Beach, Nyczak opened his own art gallery, where, as president of the artistic group of artists Contempo Art Association, he also supported other artists. Thanks to his intense artistic activity, he gained recognition and interest from many sponsors, including such prominent figures as Aaron Spelling, Hugh Hefner, Dick Kelly (Clinton's stepfather) and the Shoemaker Foundation. The subject matter of his works is extremely diverse, and his motto is: "It's not important what we paint, but how we do it." Zbigniew Nyczak is also a member of prestigious art organizations such as Oil Painters of America, American Plains Artists and California Art Club. 


Born in 1959 in Poland, Wisniewski is an American artist, living in Southern California, Los Angeles area. He studied medicine in Poland (M.D. Diploma), however was always involved in the creative arts, mostly oil painting on canvas. His first shows date back to the 1980s (Honorata Gallery in Lodz, Poland). He is a member of Zwiazek Artystow Plastykow Rzeczypospolitej-Polska.


Hyperinsomnia by Slawek Wisniewski, oil on canvas, 48’ X 36’

Wisniewski successfully showed his art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was affiliated with the gallery ARSG for five years; he is currently represented by Saatchi Art Gallery, For several years, he worked with a group of NOHO-artists called EVA.

Just Once – City Painting by Slawek Wisniewski, oil on canvas, 48’ X 36’

 His paintings in surrealist styles include trompe l'oeil still life imagery. Currently, he works on a series of paintings showing expressions of Los Angeles, using color for its emotional impact in his interpretations of the city. In new works he uses also scribbles, as automatic form , intuitive and emotional ,non-linguistic visual signs to display reference to landscape or semiotic expression of thoughts. There are also some lines of poetry chosen from Rilke.  Some of the works are done in genuine Yves Klein Blue/IKB/. 

Blue Violin- Mixed media IKB,wood violin,pencil 24 in x 36in


Szukalski and Ossetynski, From Archives of Valerie Dudarew-Ossetynska-Hunken.  


Szukalski was a sculptor, whose education alternated between Poland and the U.S. In Poland, he founded a Slavic art group Szczep Rogatego Serca (The Horned Heart Tribe) and in America he was a part of the Chicago Renaissance. Szukalski's dynamic and symbolic artworks bright together influences from ancient cultures (Egyptian, Slavic, Aztec), and modernist techniques of cubism or expressionism. Known as Poland's "greatest living artist" in the 1920s, he lost all his sculptures and designs, destroyed by Germans in the bombing of Warsaw at the beginning of 1939. He was buried in rubble during another bombing in Katowice, but survived and several months later was allowed to leave Poland with his American-born wife, Joan. 

After the war, he settled in California and continued to design sculptures and monuments. Alas, he was only able to complete small models, portraits, paintings and medals and no large-scale sculptures were built. At the same time, he worked on developing an all-encompassing original, and bizarre anthropological theory of “everything” – races, languages, mythologies, etc., that he called the “science of Zermatism.”

Ossetynski, Mira Ziminska-Sygietynska (of Mazowsze) and Szukalski.
Archives of Valerie Hunken.

In the Californian period, he designed monuments of 1) Copernicus, 2) Polish officers, Prisoners of War, murdered in Katyn by Soviet NKVD, 3) French Guerilla Fighters of WWII, and 4) Helena Modjeska. Copies of two sketches of the Modjeska Monument are on display, thanks to Glen Bray of the Szukalski Foundation in Chatsworth. 

Building the Modjeska Monument was among pet projects of Leonidas Dudarew-Ossetynski (1910-1989) the founder and first President of the Club, who served on a Helena Modjeska Memorial Committee as its Executive Secretary, along with Pola Negri, and other Polish American activists. Szukalski was associated with the Modjeska Club in its first decade, 1971-1978; when he served on the Board of Directors as one of five Art Advisors with Roman Maciejewski, composer; Stefan Wenta, dancer and choreographer (Modjeska Club’s Honorary Member), Stefanie Powers, actress; and Yolanta Wojkiełło-Martusewicz, fiber artist.

Modjeska Monument by Szukalski, 1955 reproduction in a program of Modjeska Players,
a theatrical group of Dudarew-Ossetynski and Lidia Prochnicka. The exhibit will show a copy of the color original. 

Two designs of the Modjeska Monument will be shown. In an undated letter to Ossetyński, kept in the Polish Museum of America’s archives with an inscription “Helena Modjeska Memorial Committee” on its back  Szukalski wrote about his intention to portray the actress in his sculpture as a dancer that held a heart, a crown, and a moon in her hands. Posed asymmetrically like a flamenco dancer with her castanets, Szukalski’s Modjeska was towering above a knee-high model of St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków, Modjeska’s hometown. Szukalski described this building as both “the most characteristic monument of Kraków” and “the most beautiful temple.” In this design, the sculptor's intention was for Modjeska to become “a reflection of her national origin” so that she “radiates onto the audience of foreign nations with her proud heart.”

Friday, August 18, 2023

Report from 2022-2023 & Preview of Fall 2023 Events of the Modjeska Club


Maja Trochimczyk, President 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to describe the effects of our work during the first year after the official end of the COVID-19 pandemic and the return to the format of events, in which we can finally participate in person, after two years of activities conducted in the Zoom format. During the General Meeting on June 25, 2022, I presented a report on the previous four years and was elected, along with the new Board, for the two-year term: 31 votes were cast for me as the President and the new Board, and there were 7 votes against (this number is significant). The work of the previous Board, under my leadership, was approved after the General Meeting voted to accept the report of the Audit Committee submitted by its Chair, Danuta Żuchowska. On the new Board I was joined by: the well-known actress KATARZYNA ŚMIECHOWICZ as the Vice-President, for the first time in our group, and four ladies with whom I have cooperated in the last two years (although in different functions): BEATA CZAJKOWSKA as the Secretary, MARIA KUBAL as the Treasurer, and SYL VES and ANNA SADOWSKA as Directors. Since the first Board meeting on July 9, 2022, we have been working in a four-person team: Maja Trochimczyk, Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Anna Sadowska (Treasurer since July 2012), and Beata Czajkowska. I will write about the reasons for these changes and other  administrative matters separately. Let us now examine the results of our work.

As a reminder, in the period 2018-2020, together with the previous Boards, whose composition changed occasionally, I organized 24 events (including 16 club meetings and 8 events held in cooperation with other organizations). We presented our Annual Modjeska Prizes to JADWIGA BARAŃSKA (2018), MARIA NOWOTARSKA & AGATA PILITOWSKA from the Polish Theater in Toronto (2019) and ANDRZEJ SEWERYN (2020, virtually). In the two years of the 2020-2022 pandemic, we prepared 21 meetings, with six held in person, including a wonderful 50th Anniversary Ball on 10 October 2021 at the University Club in Pasadena. At this ball, in the presence of about 100 people, our Modjeska Prizes were received by BEATA POŹNIAK in person and JAN ENGLERT virtually. WOJCIECH KOCYAN played Chopin's waltz for us, and MAREK PROBOSZ, the Master of Ceremonies, with his wife, Małgorzata, led us all in an unforgettable polonaise. There was also a mini-exhibition about the history of the Club, and the first presentation of our 50-year history book. With a great effort of a large group of volunteers, we published a 380-page Album 50-lecia Klubu Kultury im. Heleny Modrzejewskiej (50th Anniversary Album of Helena Modjeska Culture Club), in PDF format in free distribution, due to a grant from the Consulate of the Republic of Poland ($2,000). There were also hardcover and softcover editions, sent to libraries. Since the publisher is my Moonrise Press, and since, per our tax-exempt Corporation's Articles of Incorporation (Article V), corporation officers or members may not "receive net income or other assets" from the Corporation, all net proceeds from the publication of the Album are donated to the Club's treasury. This wonderful, colorful Album is a great document of our history and numerous achievements. There are too few such works about the Polish community on the American West Coast.

Audience at W. Wysocki's performance Zyciorys, Illusion Magic Theater, 7 May 2023

Another achievement of the previous term was the restoration of our website, closed by the internet provider GoDaddy's decision to change their software system in the spring of 2019. The Club’s page was saved by ELŻBIETA CZAJKOWSKA, who as a volunteer made copies of all materials – over 350 texts and 1600 photos. Then, in the spring of 2022, she designed and built a new website for us, or rather two sites, because she divided the information into an English version,, and a Polish version, For her work on the Club’s website and graphic designs for the 50th Anniversary Album, Elżbieta Czajkowska received honoraria from grants that I obtained for this purpose from the Consulate of the Republic of Poland and the State of California. Thanks to Elżbieta's talents and hard work (including many hours for free, because the fees covered only part of her time) before the General Meeting in 2022, the Modjeska Club had in place wonderful, modern, informative websites, featuring all the materials collected by the Club since 1996, although in a different format. Instead of hundreds of separate reports, Elżbieta made PDF files with sets of reports for relevant years and placed a special PDF reader on the website, wherein you can even turn virtual pages! In addition, the archives contain the entire 50th Anniversary Album (plus separate chapters in each part of the archive) and video from Zoom meetings and other Club programs from the past.

Anna Sadowska and Maja Trochimczyk  with Jan Englert and his awards, 24 September 2022

So we started our 2022-2024 term in great shape. In the first year of working as a new Board, from September 2022 to July 2023, we prepared 11 Club events. The first two meetings in the 2022-23 season were related to the arrival to California of the Artistic Director of the National Theater and the legend of Polish theater, JAN ENGLERT with his wife, BEATA ŚCIBAKÓWNA, to personally receive the Modjeska Prize, which took place at the residence of Maria and Jerzy Menclewicz in Orange County on 24 September 2022. The visit in September 2022 was jointly prepared by four organizations: the Modjeska Club, the PAPA Club from Orange County, the Jaskółka Amphitheater from San Diego, and the Theater Department of the University of California in Los Angeles. UCLA hosted a seminar on Polish theater for university professors and students on 22 September 2022. In Orange County, we presented the Modjeska Prize during a party co-organized by the PAPA Club on Saturday, 24 September 2022. At the same time, Jan Englert talked about his career and received diplomas from the California State Senate (Sen. Antony Portantino), Los Angeles County (Kathryn Barger) and Orange County (Chairman of the Board Donald P. Wagner).

On Sunday, 25 September 2022, in the Auditorium of the Beverly Hills Public Library, Jan Englert and Beata Ścibakówna showed their mastery of the stage in the performance of fragments of the epic poem Kwiaty Polskie (Polish Flowers) by JULIAN TUWIM (1894-1953). In this work (a long time ago already presented at the Club), the poet reflects on the heroism, suffering and resilience of the Polish nation. This memorable poetry and music performance was in Polish, with my English translation of the text published in the program booklet. Interludes with Chopin's music were selected and performed by the outstanding pianist Dr. WOJCIECH KOCYAN, professor at Loyola Marymount University and member of the Club since 2018. Kocyan played on the Blüthner upright piano from Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. (such a master on the upright piano? That's a separate story, there was a real battle to bring to the Library even this small upright piano….). Nonetheless, I had the great pleasure of driving the Englerts to meetings from Vista in San Diego County, where they were staying with the hospitable Halina and Marek Brzeszcz, the owners of the Jaskółka Amphitheater. Over 120 people came to Englert and Ścibakówna's performance in Vista; there were just as many viewers in attendance in Beverly Hills, and a hundred more at the reception in Orange County. The seminar at UCLA had about 30 attendees. A great success!

Darek Świątkowski, Beata Ścibakówna, Marek Brzeszcz, Jan Englert, Halina Brzeszcz, Grażyna Świątkowska & Maja Trochimczyk after the Modjeska Prize presentation for Jan Englert, 24 September 2022.

 Before the beginning of the season, on 17 August 2022, the funeral of STEFAN WENTA took place. He was an Honorary Member of the Club since 2011, an excellent dancer and choreographer, a former Opera and Ballet star from the Grand Theater in Warsaw.  In the first decade of the Modjeska Club’s activity from 1971 to 1978, Stefan Wenta was among the five Artistic Advisors of the Club and often hosted its meetings in his studio, at a time when Leonidas Dudarew-Ossetyński (1910-1989), prince-actor-director-journalist, served as the President. At Stefan's funeral, the Polish church in Los Angeles was filled to the brim with his students, dancers and choreographers, while the Club itself was represented by four people. The representation of the Club at the funeral of Daniela and Marian Kosiński was similarly meagre, though Ms. Daniela was even the Vice President of our organization ... but their farewell was touching, with a flight of white doves and a white-and-red wreath from the Club that I brought from Los Angeles (5 October 2022).

In October 2022, lovers of contemporary music could listen to a conversation with Prof. dr hab. HANNA KULENTY, a composer known all over the world, who previously visited our Club in 2017. On Sunday, 9 October 2022, at the Newman Recital Hall, Prof. Kulenty gave the Annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital,  combined with a concert of her music (organizer: Center for Polish Music of the University of Southern California). A letter of congratulations from the Club appeared in the Lecture’s program, funded by a donation from my publishing house Moonrise Press (the Club did not have enough funds for its annual PMC donation). Before the conversation with our Club Members on Saturday, 8 October 2022, in the music studio of Róża Kostrzewska Yoder and Douglas Yoder, Hanna Kulenty conducted a fascinating seminar on improvisation for their students. Unfortunately, the recording of this lecture illustrated with musical examples "from the keyboard" has not survived, although it was broadcast over the Internet.

For Saturday, 5 November 2022, we invited members and friends of the Club as well as students, teachers and parents from the Polish School to a special concert of the founder of the Piramidy group, singer, composer and guitarist PIOTR KAJETAN MATCZUK from Warsaw. Matczuk previously visited us in the spring of 2019 and we enjoyed his performance very much. The solo concert, entitled The Most Beautiful Songs From Polish Films and TV Series, took place in the parish hall of the Church of Our Lady of the Bright Mount / Sanctuary of John Paul II in Los Angeles. Admission was free for students up to 18 years old and for members of our Club; other listeners had to pay for tickets, $25 per person. Unfortunately, very few people attended the concert: instead of the expected one hundred people from the Polish School and the Parish, only about 40 Club members and their friends came. As promised, we donated the proceeds to the Church and School.

At the end of November, an outdoor concert took place in Venice Beach, advertised, but not organized by our Club. The REBEL BABEL ENSEMBLE concert from Poland, together with an international group of musicians, was entitled The Brasswood California/Beats 4 Peace and took place on Sunday, 27 November 2022. As the organizers wrote: "This amazing event aims to promote, expand and cultivate cooperation between musicians from Poland, the USA, Ukraine and other countries in the fields of art and education” and was planned by the leader of the Rebel Babel Ensemble, Łukasz L.U.C. Rostkowski.

The Modjeska Club and friends met on Saturday, 17 December 2022, at the annual CHRISTMAS CAROLING to celebrate the holidays, break the Christmas wafer (“opłatek”) with best wishes for the next year, listen to Chopin played by prof. WOJCIECH KOCYAN, sing Christmas carols with OLIVIA KIERDAL and enjoy an excellent, traditional Polish dinner prepared by the hosts, Helena and Stanley Kołodziey from Beverly Hills and the Club's Board. Kocyan needs no introduction; the Gramophone magazine recognized his CD as one of the 50 best recordings in the world! Olivia Kierdal was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and since 2019 has lived in Los Angeles. She is a pianist, singer and songwriter who has over 2 million listeners on Spotify, where she has published 15 songs. She led the Club members in singing Christmas carols so wonderfully that even the Consulate of the Republic of Poland posted one of these carols  on its Facebook page.


Honorary Members: Alicja Bobrowska (recognized in December 2022).

 In 2022, the Club made two presentations of honorary membership. In the summer of 2021, the Board adopted a resolution to grant Honorary Membership to Consul General JAROSŁAW ŁASIŃSKI. The presentation was to take place at the 50th anniversary ball, but at the time he was in mourning after the death of his wife. Therefore, the award ceremony took place before the Consul's return to Poland, in Santa Monica in August 2022, with the participation of Maja Trochimczyk, Anna Sadowska, Beata Czajkowska, Elżbieta Trybuś and Chris Justin. Consul Łasiński supported the activities of our Club primarily with the joint project of Kate Liu's ceremonial concert at the Colburn School of Music, on the occasion of Independence Day in November 2018, financed by a grant from the Polish National Foundation. During our twice-extended term, 2018-2022, Consul Łasiński approved three grants for the Club: for the concerts of the band Piramidy, Wiktoria Tracz with Krzysztof Dzikowski in 2019 and for the publication of the Album of the 50th anniversary of the Club in 2021. The Consul also honored our Club with a letter of congratulations and a special plaque on the occasion of our 50th anniversary in October 2021.

Jarosław Łasiński with representatives of previous Board for 2020-2022: Anna Sadowska, Maja Trochimczyk, Beata Czajkowska, and dr. Elżbieta Trybuś.

The presentation of Honorary Membership to ALICJA BOBROWSKA, actress, artist, model and the first post-war Miss Polonia (1957) was made during the Christmas Caroling Party in Beverly Hills. The program of the event and online materials featured a biography of the artist, born in 1936, crowned Miss Polonia in 1957, participating in Miss Universe in California in 1958, working in Polish film and theater until 1981, when she came to USA and stayed here permanently, participating in Club meetings as its member. Unfortunately, our winner could not attend the meeting, so she received diplomas from the Club and the state of California by mail. In return, she donated to the Club Archives a valuable souvenir, a photograph of Helena Modjeska with her signature, which Bobrowska received from the grandson of the famous factory owner and friend of the legendary actress, Mr. Kronenberg in 1958.


Alicja Bobrowska joins the group of outstanding creators of Polish culture, members of our Club, who for many years actively participated in the events and meetings of the Club and were awarded the title of Honorary Member. Among them are: the distinguished film director JERZY ANTCZAK, his wife, the legendary star of theater and film JADWIGA BARAŃSKA (awarded our Modjeska Prize in 2018), actress of Polish origin STEFANIE POWERS, very active in the first decade of the Club as a student of the founder of the Club Leonidas Dudarew-Ossetyński, and the above-mentioned dancer and choreographer STEFAN WENTA. Honorary members of the Club were also consuls at the end of their terms in office: JAN SZEWC, ROMAN CZARNY, MACIEJ KRYCH, and KRZYSZTOF KASPRZYK. I admit that I do not know this for certain, because previous historians of the Club did not maintain a complete, updated list of Honorary Members (except those former presidents and others who still do not pay dues, as a reward for volunteering 20-40 years ago). Recently, for example, I discovered that Dr. FRANCISZKA TUSZYŃSKA became an Honorary Member of the Club in 1984; she had served as the Vice President on the Ossetyński's board, a Secretary on the Jerzy Gąssowski’s Board, and a director of the Polish School in Los Angeles since 1972.

Katarzyna Smiechowicz and Marek Probosz with Modjeska Prizes.    

The Award Ceremony of the Modjeska Prizes for 2022, with awardees selected by the previous Club Board in the spring of 2022, was  postponed to February 19, 2023. The winners were a member of the Club and the current Vice-President, actress KATARZYNA ŚMIECHOWICZ and a great friend of the Club and a frequent participant in its events, the outstanding actor MAREK PROBOSZ. The award ceremony took place at the artistic residence of Monique Chmielewski Lehman and her husband, former NASA manager and Navy officer David Lehman in Pasadena. Two videos showed a montage of achievements of our laureates, and I conducted the interview with the actors, as the host of the event. I was also, together with Beata Czajkowska and Anna Sadowska, the head of the provisioning section and the cleaner. During the same evening, diplomas from California authorities with thanks for years of work as volunteers were presented to JADWIGA INGLIS and SŁAWOMIR BRZEZIŃSKI. More than 80 people filled the small living room at the Lehman residence, where there were not enough chairs, but plenty of food and drinks for everyone... Our awards received wide coverage in the press: Polish American Journal, Gwiazda Polarna, Culture Avenue, Post-Eagle, Polish Filmmakers Association, and Super Ekspress!

Jolanta Zych, Leonard Konopelski and Polish fonts, at Polski Projekt Exhibition 
on 16 February 2023 at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. 

In February and March, in our correspondence to Club members and guests, we noted other events related to the promotion of Polish culture in Los Angeles. On 16 and 17 February 2023, the Polski Projekt Exhibition showed the history of Polish fonts accompanied by posters from the collection of Leonard Konopelski at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; guests could meet artists on February 16 and watch Polish films on February 17. On Sunday, 5 March 2023, we invited our members to a performance of Kazimierz Braun's Norwid’s Return in an unforgettable performance by Marek Probosz, accompanied by pianist Łukasz Yoder at the Odyssey Theater (the play received our donation of $500). 

Poster of the Krakart Group exhibition at Vienna Woods, 17 March 2023, Los Angeles.

The Krakart Group invited us to the opening of the painting exhibition in Vienna Woods, Los Angeles (17 March 2023). On Saturday, 18 March 2023, a vocal and instrumental recital by mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sadej and pianist Wojciech Kocyan took place at the Murphy Recital Hall, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. It was a fantastic program of fairy tales, including songs by Szymanowski, Dvorak, Duparc and Debussy. The Club was not the organizer of this concert, but we encouraged everyone to listen to the wonderful recital of our member Wojciech Kocyan and Katarzyna Sądej from Canada, who had sang for us in 2018.

Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, dir. Henryka Łazarz, Katarzyna Winnicka, teachers, students at a lecture by Curator Katarzyna Winnicka at Polish School, 4 March 2023, Los Angeles.  

The next meeting organized by the Club at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga was a great success: "Icons from the 15th-19th centuries and the work of Zdzisław Beksiński in the collection of the Historical Museum in Sanok." The lecture by CURATOR KATARZYNA WINNICKA on Saturday, 4 March 2023 presented the most important examples of icons from the largest such icon collection in Poland and Europe. Icons are sacred paintings (Marian, Christological or Hagiographic), painted on wooden boards and used as religious artefacts in Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches. The lecture was given in Polish, with color slides. The second part of the lecture, at the special request of our Club Members, covered the work of Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005), one of the most famous contemporary Polish artists. In 2001, Beksiński bequeathed his entire artistic output to the Historical Museum in Sanok, to which he donated about 300 works during his lifetime. 

Alexander Rybak, Maja Trochimczyk, & Katarzyna Winnicka.

Mrs. Winnicka's visit to California was organized together with Jerzy Barankiewicz from the Polish Art Salon in San Diego, where she gave a lecture on 11 March 2023. On Saturday, March 4, Winnicka also made a presentation about icons in the Parish Hall for children, teachers and parents from the Polish School in Los Angeles, I looked after a guest myself, organizing trips to the Huntington Library and the Getty Center; then JADWIGA & ANDREW INGLIS took over, providing the Curator from Sanok with hospitality and the next series of trips. To enliven the lecture at Bolton Hall Museum, I invited as celebrity guest the Belarusian-Norwegian violinist ALEXANDER RYBAK. He played one violin solo piece at the beginning and sang, accompanying himself on the violin, a fragment of the famous 2009 hit Fairytales, winner of the Eurovision festival, on the “greatest hits” charts in nine European countries. I met him while playing with my kites in our local mountains in Sunland!

In the same Historical Monument no. 2 of the City of Los Angeles, i.e. the Bolton Hall Museum, an interesting meeting was held on 25 March 2023 with the former Consul of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, writer and editor MARIUSZ M. BRYMORA. The topic of the meeting was the newly published book by Romuald Spasowski, entitled The Ambassador's Confession, edited from over 3,000 pages of materials, reduced to 750 pages by Mr. Brymora. During the event you could buy books and get an autograph, with the editor's dedication. For his services to the Club during the presidency of Andrew Z. Dowen (2013-2018), Mr. Brymora received Honorary Membership.


Grażyna and Mariusz Brymora, Maja Trochimczyk, Andrew and Lila Dowen, Beata Czajkowska with certificates of Honorary Membershiph for Mr. Brymora, Bolton Hall Museum, 25 March 2023.                                                                  

In yet another multi-club cooperation, we presented the HYBRYDY THEATER of the University of Warsaw in the performance Life is a theater in Polish. The show took place on Sunday, 2 April 2023 at the Illusion Magic Theater (formerly known as Magicopolis) in Santa Monica. The event was part of the Spring of Polish Culture in the Western United States program, supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. The Consulate awarded grants for three of our projects: 1) Katarzyna Winnicka's lecture, 2) Hybrydy Theatre, 3) Wojciech Wysocki's play with live music by Piotr Matczuk. The grants paid for the venue rental and AV technician costs. Life Is a Theater was announced as a concert of hits by the masters of Polish song, Agnieszka Osiecka and Wojciech Młynarski, graduates of the University of Warsaw and co-founders of the Hybrydy Theatre, whose lyrics keep delighting and entertaining subsequent generations of Poles. Their most beautiful hits in new arrangements were to be intertwined with funny skits from the literary cabaret from pre-war and post-war Poland. MAGDALENA ROSSOWSKA, DOMINIKA ŚWIĄTEK, and the director of the theater MACIEJ DZIĘCIOŁOWSKI performed with playback accompaniment. Unfortunately, the program disappointed more than half of the very large audience, including the organizers. I was even more sorry that I hosted Hybrydy musicians at home and took them on trips, e.g., to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Previously, they performed in Los Angeles in 2013 (Hybrydy) and in February 2020 (Dominika Świątek with pianist Andrzej Perkman). It was great then, but not now. Pity. However, it is true that members of other Polish organizations where the Hybrydy Theater performed were very happy – in San Diego, Yorba Linda, Sacramento and San Leandro.

We were not disappointed, however, by the wonderful actor Wojciech Wysocki in a poetic monodrama based on Zbigniew Herbert's texts, entitled Życiorys, Curriculum vitae. Written, directed and performed by WOJCIECH WYSOCKI, the show had live music composed by PIOTR KAJETAN MATCZUK. The performance took place on Sunday, 7 May 2023, at the Illusion Magic Theater (formerly Magicopolis) in Santa Monica. The play is a presentation of carefully selected poems by Zbigniew Herbert, combined by the actor-director into a vivid whole, telling the story of a person's life from birth to death. We were pleased to see over 110 people in the audience; admission was free due to a grant from the Polish Consulate that prohibited the sale of tickets. Wysocki and Matczuk also performed in Yorba Linda for Klub PAPA.

Wojciech Wysocki and Piotr Kajetan Matczuk on stage at Illusion Magic Theater; the play Życiorys , 7 May 2023.

For the last Club meeting before the summer break, we booked a trip to ARDEN, Helena Modjeska's Historic Home and Gardens in Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, on 8 July 2023; 18 people signed up; eight canceled the day before and three cars got lost. It turned out that GPS lead guests astray, pointing out that the Modjeska House was either at the very beginning of the canyon or at its end, i.e., it was impossible to find it without entering the whole address, including the property number. The name alone was not enough! And thus our trip took place with just two people: I drove Beata Czajkowska, Secretary of the Board, because Kasia Śmiechowicz and Anna Sadowska were in Poland. 

At Arden, ROB BROWN, a volunteer-docent, prepared an interesting presentation of slides, with photos that were unknown even to me, and I have been studying Modjeska’s life as a historian since 2011! He also recounted the history of this residence and of the Modjeska family. Mr. Brown invited us to further cooperate with Arden in the future. We accepted the invitation and will participate in the "open house" in Arden on 7 October 2023, commemorating the star's birthday of 12 October 1840.

On that day, there will be a presentation of Celebrating Modjeska in California: History of Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club, an English-language volume of our history, supported by a grant from the Stowarzyszenie Wspólnota Polska in the amount of PLN 38,500. SWP previously assigned to us a grant for the performance of Wysocki and Matczuk, but we received funds for this purpose from the Consulate of the Republic of Poland, so we had to give it up, due to the double-financing rule. The SWP funds were instead assigned to the book. The publisher will be Moonrise Press and all net proceeds will be donated to the Club. The grant will cover the costs of layout by Ula Jaskółka Beaudoin, as well as printing and library distribution. For 2022-2023 we were promises $3,000 by the Consulate, and we used $2,500 (the rental and AV costs were lower). For 2023-24, we already have a promise of about $9,000! Excellent!



The season 2022-23 was also the time of farewells. Long-time member MARIAN KOSIŃSKI† died on 24 September 2022 and his wife DANIELA KOSIŃSKA† on 29 September 2022; she served as the Club’s Vice President in the past, and they were close to their 60th wedding anniversary.  The funeral of MONIKA KRÓL†, also a dedicated Club member for many years, was on 29 October 2022. They will live on in our memories; we are grateful for their presence in the Modjeska Club.


Janusz Maszkiewicz, Sunrise

We are planning to start the fall season on 23 September 2023 with an exhibition of Artists of the Modjeska Club at the Vienna Woods gallery in Los Angeles. So far, LEONARD KONOPELSKI, the author of our most popular logo, an outstanding painter and retired art professor from the Art Center College of Design, ZBIGNIEW NYCZAK, whose work is even at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. and SŁAWEK WIŚNIEWSKI, a painter with limited experience as a member of the Club, but with an impressive artistic output, have promised to participate. We are glad that d the host of the gallery, JANUSZ MASZKIEWICZ, will also show some of his artwork. Finally, the Szukalski Archives allowed us free display of STANISŁAW SZUKALSKI’S designs for a Helena Modjeska Monument. 

ZBIGNIEW NYCZAK will tell us more about his art and his 40-year career on 21 October 2023 at Centerpoint Club in Playa Vista. We will breeze through 150 slides of his paintings and enjoy watching videos. Special thanks to Dr. and Dr. Targowski for securing for us the space.

Monique and Artur Chmielewski at Museum Powstania Warszawskiego, May 2023.

The Club will then meet on 18 November 2023 at the Lehman residence for the presentation of the book of memories about Henryk Chmielewski, or Papcio Chmiel, written by his children, MONIQUE & ARTUR CHMIELEWSKI. They both presented their childhood memories during a book tour in Poland, organized by Prószyński and Ska. On 15 April 2023 we admired Monique’s beautiful tapestry at the Crystal Cathedral and now there will be a meeting in our Club. 

Another book will be presented by its author AGNIESZKA COUDERQ, who explored the fascinating history of a Polish Jesuit Michał Boym in China in the 17th century (3 December 2023, Playa Vista). 

The traditional, elegant CHRISTMAS CAROLING will take place at the residence of Helena and Stanley Kołodziey in Beverly Hills, on 17 December 2023. 

When will the presentation of the Modjeska Prize to JANUSZ GAJOS be scheduled we do not know yet, because it depends on the requirements of our eminent awardee. 

However, it is already known that in the spring of 2024 there will be a meeting with Polish women in space, i.e. female Polish scientists from JPL/NASA (March) and a presentation of poetry by members of the Club, including a book of sonnets by Konrad Tademar Wilk.

I dream of a meeting dedicated to the outstanding writer ALEKSANDR JANTA (Janta-Połczyński), a friend of our first President, and a person with amazing achievements as a defender of Polish culture. We owe him, for his assistance in the transfer of Wawel treasures back to Poland and the donation of many rare manuscripts to Polish institutions, e.g., letters of Chopin & his friend, Julian Fontana. Promoting the interwar intelligentsia with noble roots is not particularly popular today. All the more worth it! At the same time, I would like to reactivate the Club’s Reading Theatre, founded in 1973 by Ossetyński, with the world's first presentation of Mrożek's Emigrants. I am particularly interested in the Janta's play The Dividing Line, so current nowadays!

Our Board Secretary, Beata Czajkowska (a pianist/ teacher of opera singers) would like to organize a stage concert of duets and arias from Stanisław Moniuszko's opera Straszny Dwór, perhaps in cooperation with the orchestra in Riverside, led by a Polish conductor and violinist Tomasz Golka. These are very ambitious plans. What will actually take place, we shall see. Save the dates for the autumn season: September 23, October 7 & 21, November 18, and December 3 & 17!                      

Finally, a few words about me. In the summer of 2022, I was invited to join the board of the Polish American Congress of Southern California as Vice President for Public Relations. I accepted the invitation, and every month I take part in board meetings. Once in a while I give short speeches on Polish national anniversaries, such as the outbreak of World War II or the Constitution of May 3rd. My listeners are students, teachers and parents in a Polish school. Cooperation with the Polish Alma Mater is a good way of disseminating information about the culture and history of Poland. As a poet, I am still the president of the California State Poetry Society, and editor-in-chief of the California Quarterly . I've also published two volumes of poetry, with good reviews so far: Bright Skies. Selected Poems, with my nature photographs, and an anthology of 12 poets, Crystal Fire: Poems of Joy and Wisdom. With Ambika Talwar, a painter and poet, we had an exhibition of my photographs and her paintings at the Scenic Drive Gallery in Monrovia. As a music historian, I write articles on commission from time to time: the article "Patriotism in the salon: traditions of home singing in Maria Szymanowska's family" appeared in the journal of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Studia Chopinowskie, No. 1-2, 2022, p. 4- 40.                                                     

See you soon at the Modjeska Club and elsewhere!

Maja Trochimczyk, President

Los Angeles, 8 August 2023