Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Polish American Historical Association's 2016 Creative Arts Prize for Maja Trochimczyk (Vol. 8, No. 1)

During the 74th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, the Polish American Historical Association presented its Annual Awards for 2016 to a group of distinguished individuals, including Brenda Bruce and Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II (Amicus Poloniae Prize) and Dr. Maja Trochimczyk (Creative Arts Prize).

The Awards Ceremony included a concert of Carols by KaroliNa Naziemiec and Robert Lewandowski, so it was an event worthy of being noted on the Chopin with Cherries blog.  The Awards were presented by PAHA's outgoing President, Prof. Grazyna Kozaczka of Cazenovia College, NY, whose award citations are quoted below.

Maja Trochimczyk with Grazyna Kozaczka, 
with Anna Mazurkiewicz in the background.


"The Creative Arts Award is bestowed on Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, for her achievements as a poet, especially in her two books dedicated to Polish victims of WWII, Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and The Rainy Bread (Moonrise Press, 2016). Her books of poetry include Rose Always, 2008; Miriam’s Iris, 2008; Into Light, 2016; and two anthologies, Chopin with Cherries, 2010, and Meditations on Divine Names, 2012. Dr. Trochimczyk served as Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles in 2010-2012 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2016."

Brenda Bruce, Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II and President Grazyna Kozaczka


"The Amicus Poloniae Award recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community. It is presented to Dr. Alvin Mark Fountain II and Brenda Bruce who co-founded the Paderewski Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2014 (

Dr. Fountain, the President of the Festival, is a former administrator with the State of North Carolina and for more than 25 years he taught history at North Carolina State University. In 2008, Dr. Fountain was appointed as an Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland.

The Vice-President and Secretary of the Festival, Brenda Bruce is an accomplished pianist, harpsichordist, acclaimed teacher, and accompanist dedicated to the promotion of classical piano performance of the highest quality."

Maja Trochimczyk, President Grazyna Kozaczka, Brenda Bruce and Dr. Alvin M. Fountain II

During the 74th Meeting, two papers on Paderewski were presented:

"Following Paderewski: An Album of Autographs and Clippings from Brighton, England, 1890-1914" - Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press, Los Angeles

"That Day in Raleigh, January 23, 1917; Paderewski, Wilson, and a Provincial Capital" - Alvin M. Fountain II, Honorary Consul, Republic of Poland, President, Paderewski Festival, Raleigh, NC

Maja Trochimczyk, Brenda Bruce, and Alvin M. Fountain II.


KaroliNa Naziemiec and Robert Lewandowski

The festivities ended with a wonderful concert of Polish and English Christmas carols in jazz arrangements, performed by Karolina Naziemiec and Robert Lewandowski. KaroliNa plays the viola and sings, accompanied by Mr. Lewandowski on the piano. Since it was a bit out of tune and an upright, it did sound a bit honky-tonky, suitably so for Denver, the Wild West of the past... It would be great to hear Mr. Lewandowski playing on a better instrument, though, as his technique was impressive.

The warm voice of KaroliNa was well suited to the dreamy interpretations of lullabies - Polish carols of this character are very popular and one of them, "Lulajze Jezuniu," has been cited by Chopin in his Scherzo in B minor, and his relationship to the carol repertoire has been explored by Jan Wecowski and cited on a previous edition of this blog, vol. 3, no. 13. 

Biographies of KaroliNa and Robert may be found on the PAHA News blog.

KaroliNa, Maja, and Robert at the Awards Ceremony

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