Straw Vase and Flowers
This straw vase and flowers were made by Antoni and Maria Podrazny from Ryley, Alberta.
They were presented to “ The Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton “ on June 24, 1973
The young troupe of dancers and singers was invited by Fr. Thaddeus Rataj, Pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Polska, Alberta also known as Kopernik, to perform at annual parish feast day – Odpust Parafialny.
The young dancers and singers sang under the direction of Mr. Tadeusz Kiryczuk during Mass, and then performed at the Polska Hall.
In recognition of their performance, the group was presented with this vase made from straw by Antoni Podrazny.
The flowers were made by his wife Maria.
This vase had been kept by the Filipowski family since 1973, and gifted to the Canadian Polish Historical Society in 2019.
I remember that the parents and children met at Holy Rosary Parish early Sunday morning.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and a caravan of cars left the parking lot of the church and drove towards Holden.
To our dismay it started to rain during the drive but had stopped by the time we arrived at our destination.
The parents had a vague idea where Kopernik was. Our hosts told us that they would leave markers on the road so we would know where to turn off of Highway 14
As we came closer to Holden the first marker appeared on the side of road.
A balloon tied to a sign that read “ Polska Hall “ Mr. Adolf Wątek was in the lead car. He pulled off to the side of the highway followed by the rest of the cars, ( Filipowski, Fill, Kiryczuk, Jędrasik, Kluziński, Lembryk, Woloshinski ) “ This must be it” , he said.
We turned off of the main highway and followed other signs that led us to Polska Hall. As we finally arrived at our destination, I was surprised to see church, a cemetery, a hall across from the church, and fields as far as the eye could see.
I was expecting small town called Kopernik with a Main Street and houses. Mr. Tadeusz Kiryczuk the organist from Holy Rosary Parish, who was also our choir instructor played the organs at the festive Mass and led us in song. What a delight it was for us children to sit in the choir and sing polish hymns during Mass.
All I could focus on was the blue celling with the gold stars during the entire Mass.
It was like being in heaven. After Mass we changed into our costumes and performed on the small stage of the hall.
What impressed me the most as a 14-year old girl was the attentiveness of the audience.
It was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.
The room was full of people sitting at table and gazing at the performers.
At the end of the performance the group was thanked and presented with a vase made from straw, and flowers made from crepe paper and pipe cleaners.
After the performance Fr. Rataj invited everyone from Edmonton to his rectory in Holden.
As it was a beautiful day, everyone sat outside the rectory; the fathers drinking beer, mothers sipping coffee, while we children played or sat quietly sipping on lemonade or soft drinks so as not to disturb the adults who were conversing.
Fr. Joseph Leszczynski was also there.”
Reminiscence written by Anna Filipowski, member of the Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton from 1969 to 1989