The West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society (WSDPAHS) held their annual “Opłatek” on Thursday, December 29, at the historic St. Hedwig church on Detroit’s west side. The church also serves as the organization’s headquarters.
This year, the event’s highlight was the presentation of awards to West Side Detroit’s Polish-American Dance Ensembles. The tradition of recognizing talents of local Polish-American artists by WSDPAHS began three years ago. In previous years music directors of Polish-American parishes were among the honorees. This year, the list included seven local folk dance ensembles, including PNA Centennial Dancers, Polanie Song & Dance Ensemble, Radomianie Folk Dance Ensemble, PRCUA Rogalin Dance Troupe, Syrena Dance Ensemble, PRCUA Tatry Dancers, and Wieliczka Dance Ensemble.
Fr. Gary Michalik, WSDPAHS Board member, had an honor of presenting the awards to the Directors of the awarded dance ensembles.
“Your efforts are not being unnoticed,” said WSDPAHS Vice President Laurie Gomulka in congratulating the honorees. “You do us proud! And we are proud to honor you”.
Additionally, a special certificate od recognition was presented to Polonaise Chorale for the choir’s contributions in enrichment of West Side Detroit’s Polonia.
“As it has done for the past years, the Society plans to continue this tradition in years to come with the honoring of additional dance and chorale groups and others that have given of their time and talents in west side Polonia throughout the years.” Ms. Gomulka added.
The WSDPAHS “Opłatek” wouldn’t be complete without the most beloved and important tradition of Polish Christmas gathering - sharing of opłatek (Holy Christmas wafer) and an organ concert of Polish Christmas carols. This year, Steven Frayer presented some of the most popular Polish carols, including “Lulajże Jezuniu”, “Przybieżeli do Betlejem”, “Cicha noc”, “Wśród nocnej ciszy” and “Śliczna panienka”.
The West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2006 for the observation, study, appreciation, and preservation of the history of west side Detroit Polonia’s neighborhoods and the Polish-American immigrants who settled and continued to build the community throughout the decades.
To date, among WSDPAHS’s accomplishments is the listing of the historic “Dom Polski”, which is located just a few blocks from St. Hedwig church, in the National Register of Historic Places.
For further information on WSDPAHS please visit www.detroitpolonia.org.