I returned to my room in the tower of Krasiczyn Castle following a performance of the Magnificent Mazowsze at the giant sports arena in Rzeszów. Filled to capacity, including the floor of the arena, the audience began cheering wildly as soon as the orchestra walked out. It was like being at a rock concert or sporting event, for among the attendees were performers from 30 dance groups from around the world, and they all idolized the Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble.
A few days earlier I had been at Karolin, Mazowsze’s headquarters, watching them rehearse. Choreographer, Witold Zapała directing the dancers, Conductor Jan Grabia directing the orchestra, and Soloist Stanisław Jopek singing to me !!! Well, I was the audience there in the old rehearsal hall. Joining me later was an opera singer, who was also a fan.
This was a multi-cultural musical trip for me. Among the festivals I attended was an Old Music Festival in Kraków, where I got to see the Hungarian Gypsy Band, Szászcsávás Band
from Transylvania. Then there was the Tydzień Kultury Beskidziej in Wisła, which featured not only song and dance troupes from the Silesian Mountain regions of Poland, but ensembles from all over the world, including Turkey, Belarus, Croatia, and Italy.
As an added bonus, there was the Mazowszacy z Karolinie, entertaining tourists at hotel in Warsaw. Made up of members of Mazowsze, they encouraged a few of us to get up and perform with them, and then they delighted the Japanese tourists by singing a Polish folk song in Japanese.