St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas was cloudy and cold, but that didn’t hinder an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 60 Christmas carolers who met at Henry Mazurkiewicz’s place in Chappell Hill Texas for the 2nd annual Polski Kolendy. Following an old Polish folk tradition, the group was led by a star bearer and nativity scene and many of the carolers dressed in traditional and not so traditional costumes including a bishop, nun, angels, shepherds, kings, beggars, Santa Claus and an interesting rendition of a turon which is an extinct Polish bison.
The kolednicy, as the carolers are called in Poland, left Henry’s house and processed on foot to St. Stanislaus Catholic Church where they sang carols on the front steps of the historic old church that was founded in 1889 by early Polish immigrants to Texas. Musicians Brian Marshall, Jacob Marshall, Michael Marshall, Ronnie Dutka, Lawrence Wisnoski, John Motley, Charlie Brossman, Brian Wisnoski and Mark Hopcus provided the music for the carolers. Mike Addicks, Jim Mazurkiewicz and Brian Marshall led the carolers in traditional Polish Koledy including Gdy Sie Chrystus Rodzi, Pojdzmy Wszyscy, W Zlobie Lezy and Wsrod Nocnej Ciszy.
The group then walked down the streets of Chappell Hill and sang at several residences before heading back to Henry’s to start the motorized portion of the procession. The carolers piled into cars, pick-up trucks and a long white stretch limousine and made their way to a local residence and then to the Chappell Hill Fire Department. The group sang carols at three more residences before heading back to Henry’s for a quick break.
The next stop was a solemn candlelight ceremony at St. Stanislaus Cemetery in honor of the early Chappell Hill Polish pioneers and two well know Polish musicians, Florian Meleski and Sigmund Jozwiak who passed away in the last year.
The caravan then headed to Jozwiak’s Store for an evening of good food, drink, music and fellowship. Sonny Janczak, Max Faterkowski, Donovan Pavlock, Jimmy Mazurkiewicz, James Mazurkiewicz and Mike Kurtin joined the caroling musicians for a lively jam session of old Polish tunes as the carolers and guests ate, drank and had an all around good time.
It was good to see all of these people put in so much effort to keep their Polish heritage alive and at the same time have such a good time. This was definitely one of those events where lasting family memories were made.