- March 19, 2014
The 59. Birthday of „Wilia”
59 years ago, on 19th March, 1955, the Polish Artistic Song and Dance Group was created in Vilnius. It was the first Polish group made on the eastern Polish border after World War II. In spite of the passage of years “Wilia” has been still young, singing, and dancing.
The Polish Artistic Song and Dance Group “Wilia” was brought to life by the students of the Vilnius University, among whom there were many graduates of the first post-war Polish school in Vilnius – the Secondary School No 5.
The merits of the group in the field of preservation Polish identity in Lithuania are invaluable. “Wilia” has brought up several generations of Poles having lived in Vilnius, the whole “family clans” have belonged to it. Among the present members of the group there are grandchildren of those, who were creating “Wilia” 59 years ago. Thanks to the “Wilian people”, many groups have been made in the Vilnius region, out of which we can mention “Świtezianka”, “Wilenka”, “Zgoda”, and “100 Uśmiechów”.
In Vilnius, the full halls have always been gathered on the concerts of “Wilia”. In Soviet times, when the concerts of this band were a rarity, getting a ticket was almost a miracle. The group often presented their achievements at the prestigious festivals in Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, or Greece.
The group’s repertoire consists of the folklore of the various regions in Poland, Polish national dances, as well as the songs and dances from the land of Vilnius. For its all artistic work and for cultivating Polish traditions in Lithuania, the group was awarded, among others, a Badge of “Merit for the Polish Culture”, a Medal the name of Oskar Kolberg, and a badge of the Marshal of Polish Senate “Golden Laurel”.
Now the group consists of about 100 members but, during the bigger concerts, on the stage perform about 150 artists. “Wilia” has two dance groups (basic and child), 2 choirs (basic and child), and a band.
A year from now there is going to be the 60th anniversary of having found the group. As “Wilnoteka” was assured by an artistic manager and a conductor of the Polish Artistic Song and Dance Group “Wilia” Renata Brasel, for their Jubilee the group is going to prepare a surprise for their loyal viewers.
This is only a year from now. And in the nearest future the group is going to perform during the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Branch of the Association of Poles in Lithuania, and during the celebrations of the Constitution of May, 3, in the Gymnasium the name of John Paul II. On 25th May “Wilia” invites you to the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius for the “Spring Concert”. There have also been planned trips to Szczytno for Kresowe Days, and to Rzeszow for the World Festival of Polish Folk Bands.
Tłumaczenie by Roksana Kasperek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Roksana Kasperek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.