In beat of polonaise from Michał Kleofas Ogiński

The 10th International Festival Polonaise-2014 was held in Slonim

The 10th International Festival Polonaise-2014 was held in Slonim
By Iosif Popko

The 10th International Festival Polonaise-2014 was held in Slonim. More than 500 amateur artistes from Belarus, Poland and Lithuania gathered there. Sincere melodies and songs sounded, while numerous dancing collectives performed on stage.

The anniversary festival started near the ancient tower, where about a hundred years ago each day — at 8am and 8pm — the city orchestra performed the legendary polonaise Farewell to the Homeland of fellow countryman, composer Michał Kleofas Ogiński. The Chair of the Slonim District Office of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Leonarda Revkovskaya, did not hide her excitement during the opening of the holiday, “I will never forget the day when the first festival took place. We started from nothing, only 10 collectives gathered and in songs and dances, they showed all fascination of polonaise. But gradually, a big river appeared from a small musical stream. The geography of the concert programme extends. I am proud that the festival of Ogiński lives not only in Belarusian, but also Polish and Lithuanian cultures. Special gratitude should be made to the local authorities who took upon themselves the basic financial expenses. Only by being together we could give people such a remarkable holiday.”

At the festival in Slonim

The holiday continued on the central streets of the city. Performances of two brass orchestras — from Slonim and Białystok became the zest of the ‘polonaise’ processions and the resonant melody of trumpets and drums were echoed far and wide. There was the impression that the ancient city had been plunged into never-ending music...

Numerous admirers of the polonaise rhythms were received in the regional House of Culture where competitive performances were held. Its popularity was shown by the fact that there were no empty places in the hall. Both adults and children appeared on the stage, in ball gowns and classical suits, in historical dress and fantastic clothes. Dances, songs and instrumental music — polonaises of the most famous composers were performed on piano, violins, guitars, dulcimers, trumpets, flutes, button accordions and cellos... Such melodious and lingual diversity has not been seen and heard for a long.

In total, 32 collectives performed at the festival. Guests from Poland pleasantly surprised the audience. They arrived in Slonim in five buses from Białystok, Warsaw and Poznań. In total, there were more than 150 artistes, while the orchestral group became the most numerous, with 38 people.

The Białystok children’s vocal chorus Melodyika debuted at the festival. Its head, Jerzy Boltut often visits Belarus, “School #34 of Białystok, where I work as headmaster, concluded an agreement on co-operation with the secondary school #16 of Lida city several years ago. We are connected not only by education, but also by sports and culture. We regularly meet on both sides of the border. Therefore, we willingly responded to the offer of Slonim residents to take part in the polonaise festival. Our girls performed here. I hope that the spectators liked their performance.”

Guests from the twin-city of Slonim, the Lithuanian city of Molėtai, which is located 60 kilometres from Vilnius, came to the festival for the first time. A quartet of musicians, masterly performed their polonaise pieces and, as a result, became one of the winners of the competition. The head of the collective, Inga Narushene sees great prospects of the festival, “The composer with a world name of Michał Kleofas Ogiński is equally valuable for Belarusians, Poles and Lithuanians. Therefore I have a suggestion — to hold such a musical festival by turns in the three neighbouring countries. For example, it is possible to start at the Avgustovsky Canal, which unites our states. While the final of the musical programme, certainly, should be Slonim, with its rich traditions of such a holiday.”

The festival of polonaise came to an end in the evening in the city park.
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