The 2017-18 Cultural Exchange Festival opened with “Kupala – St. Johns Night: A Summer Solstice Concert” on Sunday, June 11 at St. Barbara Catholic Parish in Chicago.  The program featured music of Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, and Poland, with the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, St. Barbara Holy Name Society Choir, and composer/pianist Jaroslaw Golembiowski.  American Music Festivals and the Chicago Chopin Society are working in partnership to present the Festival, which now moves to the Copernicus Center for two exciting programs. 

On Saturday, September 2, 4PM, a “Polish-American Friendship Concerthonors the 200th Anniversary of the death of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, at the Taste of Polonia Festival.  It will feature classical and patriotic works by Chopin, Sousa, Kosciuszko, Vieuxtemps, Kurpinski, and a new composition “Suite for Heroes” by Jaroslaw Golembiowski.  Soloists are Violetta Todorova, violin, Justine Izewski, soprano, and David Maller, trumpet.  The Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Philip Simmons.  Admission is free an entrance ticket to the Copernicus Center’s Taste of Polonia Festival, which is $5. 

Also at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, “Christmas Spectacular,” Sing-along Messiah and carols, will be performed on Sunday, December 17, 3PM.  Featured soloist will be Mezzo Soprano Edita Randova, singing arias of Handel and traditional Czech Holiday music.  This Family Concert will also include the orchestral debut of six year old vocalist Penelope Simmons.  The LCO also perform works by Leroy Anderson, Percy Faith, Irving Berlin, Joseph Suk, and a new adaptation, “Medley of Carols” by Mr. Golembiowski.  This first of its kind work will be a sing along of English, Polish, and Czech holiday favorites.

Just added to the 2017-18 Cultural Exchange Festival will be a special “Chinese New Year Concert” on February 10 at St. Barbara Catholic Church, 2859 S. Throop, right next door to Chicago’s Chinatown.  This concert will feature new music by composer Gong Qian Yang, performed by the LCO, conductor Philip Simmons, and pianist Jaroslaw Golembiowski.  It will also include traditional Chinese classical and folk selections to celebrate the New Year.

The 2017 Cultural Exchange Festival in Chicago is a coming together of American Music Festivals’ mission of exploring cultural diversity and Chicago Chopin Society’s desire to create a broader understanding of the influence of Polish music and history.  By connecting cultures and exploring musical languages, we are celebrating our differences and similarities, and creating lasting friendships.  To join us, or for more information, call 773-262-9699.