A village in the Lublin region. Nothing much going for it. A village of blocks, a rundown home for battered mothers, an hotel in the middle of town offering rooms for 100 pln next to a lake clean enough to swim in, a restored turn of the 20th century Dwor and a centre for after school activities in a Communist block. Nothing unusual, except for one thing. Something unique and marvellous, one of the after school activities: a choir of 300 children, a special choir of 40 multi-faceted early-instrument players, children who sing, dance, act their way around the world and receive accolades where ever they go, where ever they go except in their own land!
When the choir was founded 35 years ago the authorities viewed the choir as a national treasure. They were created Ambassadors for Poland. No longer. The world is a different place. Recent attempts to smear the founder and his wife with the worst imaginable slanders for adults working with children have been frustrated in court. But people, who have no connection with the choir either personally or through their children, have persuaded the new mayor to repossess the Dwor which, after a long fought for restoration some years ago, became home to the choir.
Now the town authorities have set up a rival choir in the Dwor organised by a turncoat former assistant of the founder. In the past, the choir used the Dwor for rehearsals, concerts and as a place to welcome choirs and musicians from abroad. So great was the choir’s status that the mayor of Berlin proposed that the two towns become twinned, a request that was rejected by the town council. Think about that! A twinning between Berlin and what? Not even a town in the south east of Poland. Worse, now the Dwor is mainly used for wedding parties.
A very Polish situation? Yes. Someone through dedication, vision, skill and perseverance creates something of excellence. Other people, small minded, jealous, ignorant, powerful people steal the fruit of those labours in the mistaken belief that they can do it better. Unknown to them, but clear to everyone else, they can’t. All that these infantile people manage to do is to destroy something of a far greater value than they can ever imagine or understand. But, one man management shows are, by their nature, weak and short term.
This is not an unique example of how the arts are managed in Poland. It cannot continue. The reasons are economic and social.