Chopin Evening Gala- A Night to Remember

The Chopin Evening Gala, hosted by the Polish Mission of Orchard Lake Schools, in cooperation with the Chopin Foundation of the United States was held on Saturday, August 21, 2010. It was an evening of music, culture, and wonderful food. “The Chopin Evening Gala was a great success,” said Marcin Chumiecki, Director of the Polish Mission. “This magnificent event was just the first, in a series of concerts and events that will be taking place on our campus in the years to come.” The gala celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Poland’s most well-known and beloved composer, Fryderyk Chopin. A portion of the proceeds is being donated to the Flood Relief Effort in Poland organized by Caritas Krakow under the supervision of Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz.

The Chopin Evening Gala Reception began at 5 p.m. in the lower level of the Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni Library. The Polish Mission is especially grateful to the wonderful sponsors of the evening which included: the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago; Moët Hennessy USA (, the official distributer of Chopin Vodka in the United States (Thank you, David Gingras); Oakland MRI ( Providing An Accurate Picture of your Health; and the PAC Federal Credit Union in Troy ( The Chopin Evening Gala would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of Mrs. Caryn Noel, Director of Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni Library and all of the volunteers. The event programs were designed and printed by Mrs. M. Cecelia Materka. Advertising was courtesy of Mrs. Eugenia Gorecki.

The centerpiece of the reception room was a masterpiece—a long, beautifully adorned table, offering delicious food with exquisite flower arrangements. Guests sampled the delectable caviar and salmon hors d’oeuvres and satisfied their sweet tooth with homemade chocolate-rum truffles and pastries. The tantalizing catering and sophisticated decorations were undertaken by Barbara Lisiecki, with the help of Alexandra Lisiecki and Barbara Owczarski. The theme was enhanced with a lovely mural of the Chopin monument in Lazienki Park, Warsaw painted by Andrzej Ladak (on loan from the Polanie Dance Group). The Chopin Vodka display was donated by Moët Hennessy.

The honorary guest of the evening was the Chicago Consul General of Poland Zygmunt Matynia and his wife Bozena Matynia. Other guests included: Mrs. Peggy Grant, widow of famous Polish artist and Holocaust survivor, Adam Grochowski; Mrs. Henrietta Need, sister of Dr. Edward Wikiera of the Edward And Josephine Wikiera Foundation; Rick Forzano, former Detroit Lions and U.S. Naval Academy coach; Francis Sehn, founder of The Fran Sehn Company; Susan Sheahan, long-time general manager of Orchard Lake Country Club and current Director of Food & Beverages at the prestigious Union League Club in Chicago; Bruce Babiarz, one of Michigan’s top Marketing and Public Relations practitioners (President of BAB Associates); R.J. King, the editor of dbusiness magazine; and Dr. Lucia Zamarano, developer of revolutionary computer image guided neurosurgical techniques and one of the top neurosurgeons in the world.

During the reception, guests viewed the Katyn Forest Massacre, Politics, and Morality exhibit sponsored by The Council to Protect the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom. The exhibit consists of 28 large vertical panels containing recently released photographs and archival material of the Katyn Forrest Massacre. The exhibit is currently on display at two locations until August 31, 2010—the Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni in Orchard Lake and the Hamtramck Public Library.

The Chopin Evening Gala Recital featured Claire Huangci, world-renowned concert pianist and winner of the 2010 National Chopin Piano Competition. Chancellor Rev. Timothy Whalen extended a warm welcome to the Shrine Chapel audience. Marcin Chumiecki, Polish Mission Director, thanked all those who made the Chopin Evening Gala possible. Huangci’s performance was breathtaking! Her repertoire included: Beethoven’s Rondo e capriccio Op.129, Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, Ballade No. 1, Ballade No. 2, Ravel’s La Vaise, and Balakirev’s Islamey. Her performance received a standing ovation.