REPORT OF THE MODJESKA CLUB'S PRESIDENT (2018-2022)
Dr Maja Trochimczyk
During an exceptionally long, four-year term from June 2018 to June 2022, Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles organized 46 cultural events - lectures, film screenings, concerts and balls. The Board headed by President Maja Trochimczyk was established at the General Meeting in June 2018; the term of office was to last until June 2020, but due to COVID-19 and the ban on face-to-face meetings, it was extended by the Elections Committee twice - until June 2021 and then until June 2022. In the report, I will cover the four-year program of events, club publications and activities, ending with thanking all the volunteers.
Club members at the Laguna Art Museum, at a lecture by Dr. Trochimczyk, March 2019.
MEETINGS IN AUGUST 2018 - JUNE 2020
23 August 2018 - Chopin's concert at the Hollywood Bowl; Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Sergio Tiempo, piano solo and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5.
September 1, 2018 - "Tamara de Lempicka", Polish Theater from Toronto sponsored together with the PAPA Club from Orange County, Curtis Theater, City of Brea.
September 22, 2018 - Dr. Jan Iwanczyk presents his scientific work, introduced by Dr. Witold Sokolowski, at the Iwanczyk's residence in Brentwood.
October 10, 2018 - "100 Years of Polish in Music", a concert by mezzosoprano Katarzyna Sądej with pianist Barbara Bochenek and pianist-composer Miro Kępiński, and a lecture by Maja Trochimczyk at the Kołodziey's residence, Beverly Hills.
November 5, 2018 - Independence Day Gala Concert with pianist Kate Liu, Senator Anna Maria Anders, Consul Jaroslaw Lasiński; this event was co-organized with the Consulate of the Republic of Poland and sponsored by a grant from the Polish National Foundation.
December 15, 2018 - Christmas Caroling with world-famous soprano Teresa Kubiak and equally famous pianist, Prof. Wojciech Kocyan. The Presentation of the Helena Modjeska Prize for 2018 to Jadwiga Barańska, McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga. With potluck dinner.
January 19, 2019 - Monica Chmielewska-Lehman's tapestries at the Hellada Gallery, Long Beach.
February 3, 2019 - Concert "Mickiewicz Today" by the group Piramidy - Piotr Kajetan Matczuk and Tomasz Imienowski from Poland, Club Centerpoint, Playa Vista.
February 17, 2019 - Writer Magdalena Grzebałkowska discusses the new biography of Krzysztof Komeda, at the Piłatowicz residence, West Hills.
March 14, 2019 - presentation of diplomas for Eagle Scout Tomasz Nelson for the restoration of a Polish war plane (a fighter jet) at the aviation museum in Riverside.
March 16, 2019 - Concert by pop-singer Wiktoria Tracz and an interview with Krzysztof Dzikowski, a "songwriter" of popular music, hosted by Ewa Barsam, Library of Southern Pasadena, AV sound - volunteer Elzbieta Czajkowska.
March 29, 2019 - Maja Trochimczyk's lecture at the Laguna Art Museum "Who was Helena Modjeska?" accompanying an exhibition of a bilingual fairy tale written and illustrated by the actress for her grandson, and recently donated to the UC Irvine Special Collections.
May 19, 2019 - World premiere of the play "Helena" by Polish actress Marta Ojrzyńska performed by the author with light design by Bartosz Nalazek, Magicopolis, Santa Monica.
June 8, 2019 - Cabaret "Sami Swoi" from Las Vegas in the Qui Pro Quo Program of Polish cabaret songs, and an exhibition of Katarzyna Kociomyk's paintings, Library of Southern Pasadena.
June 15, 2019 - Fantazja Theater from Sydney Australia, "The Trial of Dali" - a play by Andrzej Kołodziej at the Hollywood Fringe Festival plus a joint trip to the Hellada Gallery in Long Beach for the Polish Day.
June 28, 2019 - The play "The Seven Year Itch" with actress Monika Ekiert, Hollywood Fringe Festival.
September 21, 2019 - Lecture by prof. Andrzej Targowski "Granice Cywilizacji" at the residence of the Iwanczyk in Brentwood.
September 28, 2019 - Konrad Wilk presents "80/75 - Warsaw at War" in Santa Monica (event supported by the Club).
September 29, 2019 - Piano recital by brothers Łukasz, Dominik and Kasper Yoder at the residence of Prof. Wojciech Kocyan, Ladera Hills.
October 2019 - two events sponsored by club grants: October 12 - Paderewski Lecture-Recital, Polish Music Center, USC, musical "3 Paderewskis" and on October 18 Polish Film Festival, Beverly Hills.
November 9, 2019 - Shandy & Eva (Żmijewska) concert in Kulak's Woodshed, North Hollywood.
December 7, 2019 - Marcin Harasimowicz talks to Marcin Gortat and the evening of Christmas carols presented by Karolina Naziemiec with Olivia Kierdal, P. Kolodziey's residence in Beverly Hills.
December 31, 2019 - New Year's Eve Ball at the Imperial Ballroom, The Olympic Collection, with Zbigniew Gałązka, the leader.
January 31, 2020 - "Good Evening, Monsieur Chopin" performed by Agata Pilitowska and Maria Nowotarska from the Polish Theater in Toronto. Presentation of the Modjeska Prize for 2019 for both actresses. Magicopolis, Santa Monica.
February 29, 2020 - Recital of Dominika Świątek with pianist Andrzej Perkman "Sweet peas and roses" at the MLK Auditorium of the Santa Monica Library, with sound design by Andrzej Warzocha.
The board and the Yoder brothers with their parents after the concert in September 2019.
Since the beginning of our term in June 2018, there have been many events, concerts, theatrical performances and parties. In the 2018-19 season, we have prepared as many as 16 events, and in the 2019-20 season, eight events. Later, our plans were changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. From a lecture by an outstanding scientist, a long-time member of the Club, Dr. Jan Iwanczyk on September 22, 2018 to Dominika Świątek's concert at the Santa Monica library on February 29, 2020, we enjoyed our monthly meetings with diverse and engaging programs. These included events just for us (Christmas Caroling with Karolina Naziemiec and Marcin Gortat in 2019) and those co-organized with others, e.g. the PAPA Club in Orange County (Polish Theater from Toronto in September 2019). We also met at events partly sponsored by the Club - including the gala opening of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Gala Concert of the Consulate of the Republic of Poland celebrating Independence Day, or the Paderewski Lecture Recital at the USC Polish Music Center.
In 2018, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence by organizing a concert of patriotic songs performed by astounding mezzosoprano Katarzyna Sądej and pianist Barbara Bochenek. Pianist-composer Miro Kepinski also presented a premiere of his new work.
We helped the Consulate to organize the Independence Gala Concert on November 5, 2018 at the Colburn School of Music, where Senator Anna Maria Anders was the guest of honor, and the young pianist Kate Liu, one of the prize winners of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, played Paderewski, Chopin, and Beethoven. The pianist was selected and introduced by the director of the Center of Polish Music at USC, Marek Żebrowski. For this purpose, the Club applied for a grant of $ over 8,000 to the Polish National Foundation and managed all payments.
During our Christmas Caroling on December 15, 2018 at the McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga, the Helena Modjeska Prize for 2018 was presented to the "Mistress of the Polish Speech," distinguished and beautiful Jadwiga Barańska. A mini-recital of Christmas carols was performed by the legendary soprano Teresa Kubiak and eminent pianist, prof. Wojciech Kocyan, with the participation of children from the Polish School. The Modjeska Prizes, established in 2010, are lifetime achievement awards in the field of acting. Until now, the laureates included Jan Nowicki (2010), Anna Dymna (2011) and Barbara Krafftówna (2012) among others. At the Christmas Caroling Party new Club members received special commemorative certificates designed and prepared by Chris Justin.
In January 2019, the Hellada Gallery in Long Beach hosted a presentation of Monika Chmielewska Lehman's tapestry art, including a new design and an experimental dress shown by Agnes Kaźmierczak. The Gallery's owner Marek Dzida gave a short lecture on art appreciation and Ms. Lehman discussed her approach to tapestry making while showing over 70 slides of tapestries that she created for such diverse institutions as Pasadena City College, NASA, La Jolla Jewish Temple, and Catholic churches.
In February 2019, the duo Piramidy from Poland visited us with a concert of songs to poems by Adam Mickiewicz. Piotr Kajetan Matczuk (voice, piano, guitar) and Tomasz Imienowski (bass guitar) played for us in the elegant Centerpointe Club in Playa Vista, enriching the concert with a witty narrative.
In the same month, Magdalena Grzebałkowska, a biographer of Krzysztof Komeda, discussed her new book about an outstanding, tragically deceased pianist, jazzman and composer who lived in Los Angeles and composed, among others music for Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby." The interview was conducted by Andrzej Maleski.
In March 2019, I had the great pleasure of presenting diplomas with congratulations from our Club and the Polish American Congress to an Eagle Scout of Polish origin, Thomas Nelson for the restoration, cleaning and repainting of a Polish military plane in the collections of the March Air Force Base Aviation Museum in Riverside (March 14, 2019).
Three days later, a young star of popular music, Wiktoria Tracz, appeared in a song program with texts by Krzysztof Dzikowski, the famous librettist or "songwriter" of Polish musicians, such as the groups Czerwono-Czarni, Niebiesko-Czarni, Czerwone Gitary and Alibabki. The meeting took place in the Community Hall of the Southern Pasadena Library and the interview with the distinguished guest was conducted by Ewa Barsam.
On March 29, 2019, I invited the Club to my own lecture "Who was Helena Modjeska?" that accompanied the exhibition of Helena Modjeska's fairy-tale book at the Laguna Art Museum. Our patron turned out to be a talented writer with a surreal imagination and artistic talent: she illustrated a bilingual morality fairy tale for her grandson Feliks with her own watercolors. The unique book is now in the Special collection of the library of the University of California, Irvine.
In May 2019, Magicopolis hosted the world premiere of an experimental play "Helena" about Helena Modjeska, written and performed by the actress of the Stary Theater in Krakow, Marta Ojrzyńska.
In June, we invited Club members to cabaret: Qui Pro Quo - Polish Cabaret was a program of well-known and beloved songs from such cabarets as Piwnica pod Baranami, Qui Pro Quo and Kabaret pod Egidą. This engaging concert was performed by the Polish Club from Las Vegas. In the hall of the Southern Pasadena Library, we also showed 10 surreal paintings by Katarzyna Kociomyk, a painter from Las Vegas.
Ten days later, in June, we had an opportunity to attend a performance by the Fantazja Theater from Sydney, Australia, that brought to the Hollywood Fringe Festival a play by Californian painter Andrzej Kołodziej (Andrew Kolo) about Salvador Dali, called "The Trial of Dali." At the same festival, we also had the opportunity to admire Monika Ekiert's talent in the play "The Seven Year Itch." Ekiert appeared in the famous role immortalized by Marylin Monroe.
Scene from the play "Helena" by Marta Ojrzynska in Magicopolis, May 2019.
We started the 2019-20 season in September 2019 with a lecture by prof. Andrzej Targowski at the residence of the Iwanczyk family in Brentwood. Prof. Targowski presented his latest book "Granice Cywilizacji" (Borders of Civilizations), which inspired intense discussions among the audience.
On September 29, 2019, at the residence of prof. Wojciech Kocyan we held a wonderful piano recital by the Yoder brothers. Łukasz, Dominik and Kasper Yoder are children of pianists Róża Kostrzewska-Yoder (known as an outstanding piano teacher, for decades promoting Polish music) and piano professor Douglas Yoder. These outstanding young pianists (12 to 19 years old) take part in numerous international competitions and win many prizes. It was really worth presenting their talents.
In October 2019, the club was one of the sponsors of the Polish Film Festival and the Lecture of Paderewski held in an unusual format, i.e. the presentation of a new musical about the Three Paderewskis.
In November 2019, we invited our members to a Shandy & Eva concert at Kulak's Woodshed Studios in North Hollywood, promoting their new CD, Try It. Shandy (Shandrelica Casper) is a drummer from Curacao in the Caribbean, Eva (Żmijewska) is a guitarist from Warsaw, MA in composition from CalArts. An unforgettable concert in a tiny room for 30 people, where over 60 of us fit like sardines in a can! This event had a unique atmosphere and intensity of energy of music recorded and transmitted live by six cameras and a dozen microphones.
In December 2019, the Club was welcomed by Helena and Stanley Kołodziey in their elegant villa in Beverly Hills for an interview with the basketball player and philanthropist Marcin Gortat. Marcin Harasimowicz, an actor and sports journalist, spoke with the hero of the evening. Of course, we also sang Christmas carols, beautifully led by Karolina Naziemiec. A video from the meeting was recorded by a Polish TV crew.
The club welcomed the New Year 2020 on December 31, 2019 with an elegant New Year's Eve Ball at the Imperial Ballroom, The Olympic Collection, Los Angeles, with Zbigniew Gałązka as the leader.
The Helena Modjeska Prize for 2019, was awarded to two emigrant actresses Maria Nowotarska and Agata Pilitowska from Polish Theater in Toronto. The winners performed in their own play, "Good Evening, Monsieur Chopin," based on Chopin's letters. The performance took place on January 31, 20\20 in Magicopolis, Santa Monica.
In February 2020, Dominika Świątek with the accompaniment of pianist Andrzej Perkman beautifully interpreted the favorite songs of Ewa Demarczyk, Jacek Kaczmarski and others in the recital entitled "Sweet Peas and Roses" (Groszka i Róże) in the concert hall of the Santa Monica Library. It was a huge success, with over 120 people in attendance. This tribute to great Polish poetry was a presentation of the original tradition of Polish poetic song. Świątek, associated with the Hybrydy Theater of the University of Warsaw, poignantly performed well-known songs and deeply moved the audience. The masterly sound design by Andrzej Warzocha definitely helped set the mood.
After the concert on February 29, 2020, the Modjeska Club canceled all scheduled performances due to the ban on face-to-face meetings in large groups in California during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Świątek and Perkman recital turned out to be a farewell to events held live, in person.
Krystyna and Katarzyna Sadej - Zoom with the Club, March 2021
MEETINGS IN THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 2020 - JUNE 2021 (ZOOM)
The Modjeska Club's ten meetings in the 2020-21 season were held in a Zoom format. We sent links by mail in invitations and we published information about the events on our blogs in Polish and English (KlubModrzejewskiej and ModjeskaClub), both on blogspot.com. We posted this information on two pages of our organization on Facebook.
September 12, 2020 - Poetry of Anna Maria Mickiewicz from London, in Polish and English.
October 10, 2020 - Polish Hollywood, Elżbieta Kańska interviews actors Aleksandra Kaniak, Marcin Harasimowicz and Monika Ekiert, Los Angeles.
October 24, 2020 - Club outdoor trip to the beach, to Venice Beach.
November 14, 2020 - Poland and Hollywood, Elżbieta Kańska interviews actress Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, actor-director Marek Probosz and director Matt Szymanowski.
20 December 2020 - Christmas Carols and Poems are presented by prof. Stanisław Górka from Poland.
January 2, 2021 - Modjeska Prize 2020 for Andrzej Seweryn, interview with Katarzyna Śmiechowicz and presentation of the Club award via Zoom.
January 31, 2021 - The Józef Piłsudski Institute in New York, Dr. Iwona Korga, President of the Institute, talks about its collections and projects.
February 27, 2021 - Elżbieta Kański conducts a meeting with the famous actress, Beata Poźniak, in Los Angeles.
March 27, 2021 - Women's Day: Krystyna and Katarzyna Sądej, a conversation with outstanding artists, mother and daughter on the occasion of Women's Month, Ottawa, Canada.
May 8, 2021 - Lecture by prof. John Radzilowski from the University of Southern Alaska, on "Law vs. Justice? Claims to Plundered Art and Cultural Treasures from Poland, East-central Europe, and Beyond "in English.
May 22, 2021 - Musicians of Success, composer Mikołaj Stroiński and conductor Tomasz Golka, interview conducted by Maja Trochimczyk
Conductor Tomasz Golka, Riverside Philharmonic, May 2021.
Due to the continually extended ban on meetings with larger groups issued by the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles, the club moved its fall meetings to the Zoom platform. Meetings in Zoom can be easily recorded and presented on YouTube, they are available on the “Modjeska Club Playlist” channel of Moonrise Press and on the new website Modrzejewska.org. There were 10 online Zoom events and only one in person - only 12 people went on a trip to Venice Beach.
In September 2020, we introduced an eminent émigré poet from London, Anna Maria Mickiewicz. For years he has lived and worked outside Poland: initially in California, now in England. A member of the Association of Polish Writers Abroad, she publishes in Polish and English. The delicate poetic miniatures of Mickiewicz moved the listeners.
On Saturday, October 10, 2020, our Club had the pleasure to present "Polish Hollywood" with Aleksandra Kaniak, Marcin Harasimowicz and Monika Ekiert. The meeting was hosted by Elżbieta Kański, former President of the Polish-American Film Society and an active member of "Polish Hollywood." All three actors were born in Poland and chose California as their career destination. The actors talked about the difficulties of "setting up" in a new environment, the help of agents, and luck or hard work, which enabled them to build a career in a new language and a different culture.
The subject of "Poles in Hollywood" turned out to be so interesting that we continued the format in the meeting on November 14, 2020. The interview entitled "Poland and Hollywood: Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Marek Probosz, Matt Szymanowski" was again conducted by Elżbieta Kański. It was worth listening to the fascinating stories of outstanding actors, known in Poland and around the world, about the beginnings of their careers, their workshop, successes in Hollywood, and more.
Although you can record and easily publish conversations in the Zoom format, and you can invite guests from far away, a huge loss is the lack of personal contact, this specific atmosphere, even mystical energy, when a group of people in one room experiences common emotions, joy, or nostalgia. Prof. Stanisław Górka perfectly knows how to create such a beautiful Christmas atmosphere in person, as he demonstrated to all of us in 2017. Therefore, we decided to ask him to present some Christmas Carols via Zoom. On Saturday, December 20, 2020, a Christmas Caroling event with prof. Stanisław Górka took place. He sang Christmas carols and read Christmas poems, though, alas, there was no singing along...
Of course, there was no New Year's Eve party, because it couldn't have happened in California. It would have been different, for example, in Sweden, where everything was allowed without lockdowns, social distancing, or masking, and there was no end of the world.
Andrzej Seweryn interviewed by Kasia Smiechowicz, Modjeska Prize Presentation January 2021
We started the year 2021 with a great celebration: virtual presentation of the Helena Modjeska Prize for the year 2020 to the outstanding Polish actor Andrzej Seweryn. The ceremony took place on Saturday, January 2, 2021 in the Zoom format. Actress Katarzyna Śmiechowicz conducted an interview with our distinguished guest. The award ceremony was held with the participation of Anna Sadowska and Syl Vès, representing the Board of the Club, and Elżbieta Kańska, representing the film world.
To familiarize our members and guests with important Polish diaspora organizations, on Sunday, January 31, 2021, a lecture on the Institute of Józef Piłsudski in New York was delivered by its President, Dr. Iwona D. Korga. The program, entitled "The Piłsudski Institute in America: history, people and activity" was richly illustrated with short films and slides.
Anna Sadowska and Maja Trochimczyk with the Award for Andrzej Seweryn, January 2021
On February 27, 2021, the Club enjoyed a virtual visit from the famous actress, artist and activist, a Renaissance woman, Beata Poźniak. In the program - video fragments and a live performance plus a conversation led by Maja Trochimczyk and Elżbieta Kański.
"March Celebration of Artistic Women - Mother and Daughter, Krystyna and Katarzyna Sądej" - this interesting meeting at Zoom brought to us Canadian guests on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Krystyna Sądej is a tapestry artist creating "fiber art" from recycled materials, while her daughter Katarzyna Sądej is a famous mezzo-soprano, opera star, whom we had the pleasure to host at the Club in 2018 in a recital of Polish songs.
To celebrate the Constitution Day on May 3 and Polish cultural heritage, the Modjeska Club had the pleasure to present a lecture in the Zoom format, entitled "Law vs. Justice? Claims to Plundered Art & Cultural Treasures from Poland, East-central Europe, and Beyond." A lecture illustrated with slides was given by prof. John Radzilowski from the University of South East Alaska. The lecture in English took place on May 8, 2021.
On May 22, 2021, the Modjeska Club had the pleasure of presenting two outstanding Polish musicians whose career in California had developed wonderfully. Tomasz Golka, an outstanding Polish violinist, composer and conductor, is the music director of the Riverside Philharmonic. Mikołaj Stroiński is a famous Polish composer of film music and music for computer games, winner of many awards. The musicians talked about their musical passions, career, successes and plans for the future.
MEETINGS IN SEPTEMBER 2021 TO JUNE 2022
October 10, 2021 - The Club's 50th Anniversary Ball at the University Club of Pasadena, Marek Probosz - Master of Ceremonies; Wojciech Kocyan - pianist; presentation of Modjeska Prizes to Jan Englert (video) and Beata Poźniak (in person).
November 6, 2021 - "The Tradition of the Polish Insurgent" - two points of view. Lectures by Konrad Wilk and Prof Andrzej Targowski in Huntington Beach.
December 12, 2021 - Christmas Caroling at the residence of P. Jolanta and Alex Wilk in Anaheim Hills, Olivia Kierdal and Henryk Chrostek led singing from the club's songbooks.
December 18, 2021 - "Christmas with Helena Modjeska" lecture via Zoom by Joanna Sokołowska-Gwizdek from Austin, Texas.
January 15, 2022 - Janusz Bieszk from Szczecin talks about the former kingdoms of Lehia and the Weneds and the forgotten kings Poland ruling way before "Piast"
February 27, 2022 - "Papcio Chmiel" Documentary about Henryk Chmielewski, film screening at Mr. and Mrs. Lehman's residence in Pasadena (in person event).
March 19, 2022 - March Women's Day Interview with Katarzyna Śmiechowicz via Zoom.
April 23, 2022 - Dr. Izabella Żuralski-Yeager talks about Polish art at the Getty Research Institute and Museum, and Adam Lubas presents his military collections in Brentwood (in person event).
May 21, 2022 - The History of Mazurek Dabrowski, Poland's National Anthem - a lecture by Prof. Tadeusz Trzaskalik from Katowice, Poland, via Zoom.
June 12, 2022 - Polish pop singer, Artur Gotz, sings Hits of Old Men (Przeboje Starszych Panow), from his new CD in Playa Vista (in person event, Gotz's performances were organized jointly with Polish Salon in San Diego and Las Vegas Polish Club).
We held 12 meetings in the 2021-22 season: 6 were in-person events and 6 were lectures or interviews in Zoom format. We returned to face-to-face meetings, but continued the online modality, mainly for financial reasons, but also to show guests from Poland or distant states.
For the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, we reduced the membership dues by 50% and many members decided to stop paying dues, because they were not interested in Zoom lectures. These had few attendees, ranging from 8 to 22 listeners. Thus, we do not have the financial resources to organize more frequent meetings. It was also difficult to persuade artists from Poland to visit California, due to a variety of travel restrictions. In addition, rental of performance spaces became very expensive (eg the rental for one of our favorite locations in Pasadena went up from $300 to $750 per evening). Surprisingly, chair rentals skyrocketed! We were asked to pay $ 500 to $ 1000 for about 60 chairs for a Christmas party, so we gave up and asked our dedicated members...
CELEBRATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CLUB
The biggest project of the 2021-22 season was the Club's 50th Anniversary Ball at the University Club of Pasadena in October, attended by 97 guests, delighted to finally meet in person in beautiful rooms decorated with orchids and photos from the Club's history. A mini-exhibition in the foyer also showed historical documents, posters, and Club Meeting Books. Polish Consul Paweł Lickiewicz presented the first prize for the club from Consul General Jaroslaw Lasinski. We also received honorary certificates or resolutions from the City of Los Angeles (Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez), Los Angeles County (Supervisor Kathryn Barger), Orange County (Supervisor Donald P. Wagner), and the California Senate (Senator Antony Portantino).
After a Chopin's waltz, masterfully played by prof. Wojciech Kocyan, or Master of Ceremonies, the distinguished actor Marek Probosz, made the presentation of the Modjeska Prizes to Jan Englert (video) and Beata Poźniak (in person). After dinner, the Ball commenced with a ceremonial polonaise led by Marek and Malgorzata Probosz. The dance music featuring old Polish hits was chosen by Andrzej Warzocha, our AV designer for the evening, the winner of two Emmy Awards. The graphic design was provided by volunteer Elżbieta Czajkowska and financial support was offered by POLAM FCU, a group of former Presidents & activists of the Club and Moonrise Press. Reports of Dr. Elżbieta Trybus and Maja Trochimczyk appeared in many Polish newspapers and periodicals - Zgoda, Gwiazda Polarna, Culture Avenue, Polish American Journal, The Post Eagle, and in Poland - in the journal "Polonia Inter Gentes" of the Institute of W. Anders at the Catholic University of Lublin.
A MIX OF ZOOM AND IN-PERSON EVENTS IN 2021-22
In November 2021, we celebrated the November Polish Independence Day with two lectures by Konrad Wilk and Prof Andrzej Targowski on "The Tradition of the Polish Insurgent." This event took place in Huntington Beach. The speakers provoked the audience to a lively discussion about the strategic goal of the uprisings and their consequences in the history of the country.
In December 2021 we held a favorite club tradition: Christmas Caroling at the residence of Jolanta and Alex Wilk in Anaheim Hills, where Olivia Kierdal and Henryk Chrostek led the sing-along, and we were honored by the presence of over 70 people, including a special guest, Stan Borys and his wife.
A week later in December, we returned to Zoom format, presenting "Christmas at Helena Modjeska", a lecture by Joanna Sokołowska-Gwizdek from Austin, Texas. New faces appeared among the audience, including Agata Pilitowska from the Polish Theater in Toronto, winner of the Helena Modjeska Prize for 2019.
An original Zoom lecture in January 2022 was given to a large audience. A popular writer Janusz Bieszk from Szczecin talked about the former kingdoms of Lechia (Lehia) and the Weneds, richly illustrating the lecture with maps and photos of the known monuments. To this day, it is the club's most popular YouTube video with over 2,600 visitors.
The season continued with a mix of Zoom events and personal meetings, including the February screening of the documentary "Papcio Chmiel" about Henryk Chmielewski, the author of popular Polish comics. The film was shown at the house of the artist's daughter, the great artist Monika Chmielewski Lehman and her husband, retired NASA / JPL manager, David Lehman in Pasadena. In March, we celebrated the March Women's Day via Zoom with a Morning Conversation with Katarzyna Śmiechowicz.
The Board with Adam Lubas, his daughter and one of his 17th Century "Pas Slucki"
After Easter 2022, we returned to the hospitable residence of the Iwanczyk family in Brentwood, where in April Dr. Izabella Żuralski-Yeager talked about Polish art at the Getty Research Institute, while Adam Lubas presented treasures from his amazing collection of militaria, weapons, uniforms and other Polish memorabilia. Over 60 guests enjoyed a wonderful dinner with stuffed cabbage by caterer Beata Globisz and other delicacies.
The May 2022 Zoom lecture celebrated the Constitution Day: the history of Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, Polish national anthem was recounted by Prof. Tadeusz Trzaskalik from Katowice.
At the end of the season in June 2022, 45 people participated in the concert of singer Artur Gotz, who sang Hits of Old Men ("Przeboje Starszych Panow) from his latest album, at the Playa Vista Centerpoint Club. This event was arranged thanks to the kindness of Dr. Irmina Targowski and Prof. Andrzej Targowski, residents of the Playa Vista community. The AV design by Andrzej Warzocha resulted in a lovely experience.
Preparing so many meetings and events would not be possible without the help of the entire Board. We started work in the following group: me as the President; dr Witold Sokołowski - Vice President (until his death in November 2019); dr Elżbieta Trybuś - Secretary; Elżbieta Przybyła - Treasurer; Chris Justin - Technical Director; Ewa Barsam - Social Relations Director; Krystyna Okuniewska - Artistic Director (to 2020). From June 2019, new members of the Board were Beata Czajkowska, Anna Sadowska, and Syl (Sylvia) Vès. On 25 April 2020, new appointments were made to the positions of Secretary (Barbara Nowicka) and Treasurer (Maria Kubal). Dr Elżbieta Trybuna, former Secretary, and Elżbieta Przybyła, former Treasurer, remained on the board. Not all changes in the Board were happy: on November 21, 2019, Dr. Witold Sokołowski, Vice President of the Club, died tragically in a car accident. This is an irreparable loss for all of us. Until the end of 2020, we honored the memory of Witek by leaving the vacancy in the position of the Vice-President. Later, this function was taken over by Dr. Elżbieta Trybuś. Chris Justin resigned from the Board in December 2021.
We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Club by publishing the 380-page "Album of the 50th Anniversary of the Club" ("Album 50-lecia Klubu Kultury im. Heleny Modrzejewskiej"), edited by me, Elżbieta Kańska and Elżbieta Trybus, starting in February 2021. Syl Ves, Beata Czajkowska, Elżbieta Czajkowska, Ewa Barsam and Jolanta Zych also participated in the editorial work. Krystyna Kuszta and dr Izabella Żuralski-Yeager took care of the proofreading. Texts of many authors and hundreds of photos beautifully illustrate the rich history of our Club. This project was supported by a grant from the Polish Consulate in Los Angeles, thanks to which the Album is available on the Internet for free in PDF format. Hardcover copies were sent to many libraries (National Library in Warsaw, California State Library, US Library of Congress) and Polish organizations (PIASA, PAHA, Piast Institute, USC Polish Music Center, Polish Museum of America) and others. The English version will be much shorter, in the "trade" format, 6 by 9 inches. It is currently under preparation.
So far 112,366 readers have found us on club blogs (until June 14, 2022). The blog Modjeskaclub.blogspot.com, founded in 2011, has so far 94,344 visitors. It contains 100 news about club events and reports "after" - it also contains pages about the management, history of the club, and Modrzejewska. In the last year, the texts had an average of 60 to 140 readers, mainly from the USA (5,318), Russia (832), Japan (551), France (534), Poland (244) and Germany (204). The geography has been a little different over the years, as readers visited the blog from the USA (41,600), Russia (11,500), Poland (5,000), Germany (4,890) and from France, Ukraine, Japan, Canada, etc. The most popular news at the moment are Artur Gotz and Stefan Wenta; and since 2010, most people have read about the 40th anniversary of the club and Polish engineers at NASA / JPL.
The blog KlubModrzejewskiej.blogspot.com founded in 2018 has so far 18,022 readers. There are news about events and photos, it also contains pages about the management, history of the club and about Modjeska herself. Last year, news had an average of 30 to 100 readers, mainly from the USA (2,180), Poland (637) and France (257). Since the blog was founded, guests have been from the USA, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and France. The most popular news is a book about the history of the club, and the next about Krzysztof Dzikowski and Marta Ojrzyńska.
The new version of the website is ready in English (Modjeska.org) and Polish (Modrzejewska.org). In spring 2019, GoDaddy decided to change the so-called software. "Templates" notifying us of the change with the risk of losing all material. We made copies of the old pages; Elżbieta Czajkowska worked on it as a volunteer, and we were looking for a possibility to recreate the pages in the new GoDaddy program. Until June 2022, only basic news was published in the new system, including information about the ball or summaries of events with several photos. I did it myself, but it took too much time to continue.
In October 2021, I applied to the State of California for a Covid-19 Relief for Small Cultural Organizations grant and we received $ 5,000 to recreate past sites and add information from the last four years, and to promote the club. The work of Elżbieta Czajkowska resulted in a new page with information and archives in Polish (Modrzejewska.org), and information on the website Modjeska.org in English, this page is undergoing updating. We decided to divide the pages into separate Polish-English-language parts. Most of the information on the “Modjeska.org” website was in Polish, so we first recreated the pages in Polish - but on the Modrzejewska.org website.
The club has a "page" and a "group" on the Facebook platform. The "Page" of a charity organization has 576 people and the "group" has 229 members. The initiator was Lucyna Przasnyski, for some time Chris Justin was the main author of photo albums also published by Maria Kubal and Syl Vès. Currently, the President is responsible for posting messages, and Syl Vès and Anna Sadowska for copying them to other websites.
I would like to thank everyone who supported the club financially, including the Polish National Foundation, the Consulate of the Republic of Poland, the State of California, POLAM FCU, and individual donors, club members such as Elżbieta Trybus, Jolanta Zych, Krystyna and Bohdan Kuszta, Edward and Maria Piłatowicz, Helena and Stanley Kołodziey, Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Dr. Irmina Targowska, and the entire Board of Directors (min. $ 100 gift per person).
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all hosts of our meetings, who welcomed the Club in their own homes. They are: Helena and Stanley Kołodziey, Monika and David Lehman, Elżbieta and Jan Iwanczyk, and Jolanta and Alex Wilk. "Thank you" is also due for help in finding performance spaces - Dr. and Prof. Irmina and Andrzej Targowski, Chris Justin, Barbara Nowicka, Maria Kubal and others.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Club's Board for their dedicated work, a huge gift of time and money. Many people made purchases for the club from their own resources; the Board members hosted Board meetings in their own homes. They looked after guests and lecturers (I had guests in my home twice).
Other organizations reimburse mileage and cost of gas to their staff and Board. However, we do not, except for longer trips with special guests. The following persons worked for the Club without remuneration: Dr. Witold Sokołowski - Vice President (until his death on November 21, 2019); dr Elżbieta Trybś - Secretary and Vice President from 2021; Elżbieta Przybyła - Treasurer; Barbara Nowicka - Secretary; Maria Kubal - Treasurer; Chris Justin - Technical Director; Ewa Barsam - Social Relations Director; Krystyna Okuniewska - Artistic Director; as well as Directors Beata Czajkowska, Anna Sadowska, and Syl (Sylvia) Vès.
Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Club who generously gave lectures for free - Konrad Wilk, Dr. Jan Iwanczyk, Prof. Andrzej Targowski, Monika Chmielewski Lehman, and Dr. Izabella Żuralski-Yeager.
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The previous four years were very difficult for the Club; a period of rapid development with an increasing number of new members was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Few people were interested in ongoing activities online in Zoom format. Even though the membership dues were cut to half, the number of active members of the Club has decreased significantly. Therefore, I would like to thank all those who persisted and wish us many years of fruitful work in promoting Polish culture in California. May we do well and work well!
Dr Maja Trochimczyk, President
Los Angeles, June 14, 2022
"The Post Eagle" - "Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club Hosts Two Musical Concerts Celebrating 100th-Anniversary of Poland's Independence" (Maja Trochimczyk), December 2018. In English.
"Culture Avenue" - "Helena - the premiere of Marta Ojrzyńska's play about Helena Modrzejewska, in California" May 13, 2019. https://www.cultureave.com/helena-prapremiera-sztuki-marty-ojrzynskiej-o-helenie-modrzejewskiej-w-kalifornii/
"Culture Avenue" - "Helena" by Marta Ojrzyńska in Santa Monica "on June 6, 2019. https://www.cultureave.com/spektakl-helena-marty-ojrzynskiej-w-santa-monica/
"Gazeta" - "Lifetime achievement award for an actress for M. Nowotarska and A. Pilitowska!" (Toronto, Canada), June 17, 2020, Malgorzata P. Bonikowska. In Polish. https://gazetagazeta.com/2020/01/nagroda-za-caloksztalt-pracy-aktorkiej-dla-m-nowotarska-i-a-pilitowskiej/
“Helena Modjeska Prize Presented!" - report on the website of the Polski Theater in Toronto (in Polish), February 2020; https://teatrpolskitoronto.com/modejska-prize/
"Culture Avenue" - "Andrzej Seweryn is the laureate of the Helena Modrzejewska in Los Angeles, ”May 5, 2021; in Polish. https://www.cultureave.com/andrzej-seweryn-laureatem-narzenia-im-heleny-modrzejewskiej-w-los-angeles/
“The Post Eagle” - “Eminent Polish actor receives the 2020 Modjeska Prize” (Maja Trochimczyk about Andrzej Seweryna), May 9, 2021. In English. https: //www.posteaglenewspaper.com/eminent-polish-actor-eceives-2020-modjeska -prize /
"Zgoda" Union Journal - "Helena Modrzejewska Awards for 2021" (Elżbieta Trybus), October 7, 2021. In Polish.
"Gwiazda Polarna" - "Helena Modrzejewska Awards for 2021" (Elżbieta Trybus), 22/23 Oct / Nov 2021. In Polish.
"Zgoda" Union Journal - "50th anniversary of the Helena Modrzejewska Cultural Club in Los Angeles." (Elżbieta Trybuna), 27 October 2021. In Polish. https://dziennikzwiazkowy.com/polonia/50-lecie-klubu-kultury-im-heleny-modrzejewskiej-w-los-angeles/
"The Post Eagle" - "Modjeska Club Celebrates 50th Anniversary, Presents Modjeska Prizes to Polish Actors, Jan Englert and Beata Poźniak" (Maja Trochimczyk), November 3, 2021. In English. https://www.posteaglenewspaper.com/modjeska-club-celebrates -50th-anniversary-presents-modjeska-prizes-to-polish-actors-jan-englert-and-beata-pozniak /
"Culture Avenue" - "Celebration of the 50th anniversary of Klub Kultury im. Helena Modrzejewska from Los Angeles ”November 16, 2022. In Polish. https://www.cultureave.com/obchody-50-lecia-klubu-kultury-im-heleny-modrzejewskiej-z-los-angeles/
"Polonia Inter Gentes" (scientific journal), No. 2, 2022 - "Polish Culture in Los Angeles: History of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club", Elżbieta Trybuna, Catholic University of Lublin, pp. 113-120. In English.
MODJESKA PRIZES FOR THE YEARS 2018 - 2021
2018 – Jadwiga Barańska (McGroary Arts Center in Tujunga),
2019 – Agata Pilitowska i Maria Nowotarska (Magicopolis, Santa Monica),
2020 – Andrzej Seweryn (Zoom and Sunland garden),
2021 – Beata Poźniak i Jan Englert (University Club of Pasadena + video)