The Polish-American Society of Memphis was established in 1978. Our mission is to strengthen bonds and solidarity, provide mutual support and help between Polish People, cultivate Polish traditions, culture and language, and the promotion of native Polish values in the American society.
I am sure that you all remember the Memphis in May International Festival Saluting Poland last year. You may also recall that this was the time when the idea of organizing a Memphis music and education event in Poland was born. Ambassador of Poland, Mr. Ryszard Schnepf, was first to announce it publicly when he was visiting Memphis during the 2015 Festival. And you may remember as well that this is how the Polish-American Society of Memphis and the Polish Embassy in the U.S. became the main sponsors and coordinators of the “Memphis in Poland” project.
Our goal was not only to bring Memphis culture and history closer to the public in Poland but also to further develop and strengthen the ties between the Polish and American people of music and culture. Another objective, equally important, was to offer a unique opportunity to Americans who would come for the Festival to Poland to see our Old Country and to appreciate how it has developed both culturally and economically since the fall of communism.
Since its conception in May 2015 the idea of such an event in Poland may have seemed dormant. Nothing is farther from the truth. In fact many important things happened behind the scenes in the meantime. First of all, the City of Sopot expressed high interest in hosting the music part of the Festival and we have now full support of the Sopot Authorities to organize this event there. The Vice-Mayor of Sopot. Joanna Cichocka-Gula, and her Staff are excited to work with us and with all other institutions involved in the project. Needless to say, Sopot is a perfect match for Memphis – it is famous in Europe for its music, its historical International Song Contests in Opera Leśna (Forest Opera) and jazz festivals.
The City of Sopot pledged to help with all the formalities and will be engaged at all stages in the organization of Memphis Festival. The famous Opera Leśna has been already booked for June 17, 2017, for the music part of the Festival. The Sopot Museum will also accommodate an exhibition about Memphis history of blues, rock’n’roll and soul as well as world-known Memphis stars. Music master classes will be led by Stax Academy musicians as a part of the Festival program too.
The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Center, and personally Mr. Kevin Kane, CEO of MCVB, assumed a leading role in preparing the music program with fine Memphis musicians for the Festival and pledged to cover significant part of the expenses associated with it. Three Polish groups who performed in Memphis in the recent years are going to join as well (Myslovitz, Nocna Zmiana Bluesa and Boogie-Boys). We are expecting one of the Polish TV stations to cover the event.
Gdańsk, a birthplace of Solidarity, is undoubtedly a great choice for hosting the education part of the Memphis Festival. The great news is that the European Center of Solidarity located next to the historical Gdansk Shipyard is very much interested in the project. The ECS will be a great venue for an exhibition about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Memphis history of civil rights movement. The National Civil Rights Museum of Memphis is leading the effort of organizing the exhibition and is planning to work closely on this project with the European Center of Solidarity. A number of other Memphis organizations expressed their interest as well in participating in Memphis music and education event in Poland, such as Memphis in May International Festival, B.J. Hooks Central Library, The Blues Foundation, Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and Stax Museum of American Soul Music. We are also reaching out now to the U.S. Embassy in Poland to get their support and sponsorship. We believe that there will be more institutions and individuals both on the American side and in Poland who will sponsor the project "Memphis Festival in Poland" and will pledge their financial support.
The time of the Memphis Festival in Poland is planned for June 2017 when Sopot and Gdańsk are usually filled with crowds of international tourists coming to the Tri-Cities for summer vacation. We would like that many of you could also be there during the Festival and that we will be visible as a strong group of Polish-Americans from Memphis. Let us know should you be interested in being a part of such a group and we will try to get tourist discounts for travels and accommodation.
We hope that this update on the Memphis in Poland Festival project is of interest to all of you. Please share your ideas how you would want to get actively involved in this project in any way, by providing your support, assistance in its realization or maybe even financial sponsorship. Please spread the news about the project (e.g. Facebook, email etc.), help us promote the idea and give us your feedback or ask questions should you want to learn more details. You may contact us by sending email to Jacek Dutkiewicz, to Paweł Jankowski or to Tomek Mustwillo.
Jacek Dutkiewicz, President
As we do every year, we invite children as well as the adults for a camping trip to the picturesque Village Creek State Park in Arkansas. We invite children and adults to enjoy the delights of nature, fire and baked potatoes at this year’s camp. We welcome all and guarantee a great atmosphere, lots of laughter and other activities. For more information about the camp contact Gosia and Zbyszek Stroinski. The park is located at the geologically diversified Crowley’s Ridge, about 60 miles from Memphis. More information about this beautiful place is available on the Park's website.
Our fall picnic will be held Saturday, October 8, 2016, from 4 pm to 8 pm, at the Cameron-Brown Park, 8628 Farmington Blvd, Germantown, TN. As usual, PAS will have something for the grill as well as soft drinks. Please bring an entrée or a dessert to share with others. We will have a guitar and song-books for those of us who will want to sing Polish songs together.
The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DC wants to highlight the efforts of Polish communities at maintaining their Polish heritage. PAS submitted the info about our history, mission, and activities. This information and pictures are published on the Embassy's Facebook page here, here, and here.