Tickets are $55, $45, and $35 for the general public, and half-price for ages 16 and under. Lira Ensemble of Chicago presents this program, performed by the Lira Singers, Dancers and the Lira Chamber Players, includes beautiful Polish and American carols, music of major Polish composers, and an entire act of Polish folk song and dance presented with multiple changes of authentic and colorful Polish regional folk attire.
This year, to honor International Kosciuszko Year in 2017, as designated by UNESCO, Lira will present patriotic music, including a medley of songs from the revolution Thadeusz Kosciusko led against Russian occupation of Poland. Kosciuszko is one of Poland’s greatest heroes because of his attempts to free Poland and secure human rights for Polish peasants, but he is also an American hero because of his crucial service as a general in the Revolutionary War fighting with George Washington’s army. UNESCO is paying tribute to Kosciuszko because, during his lifetime, he was known internationally as a dedicated freedom fighter.
The Lira Singers will be conducted by Lira resident conductor Mina Zikri. Born in Egypt, Zikri is an accomplished violinist who has been a standing member of Daniel Barenboim’s West Eastern Divan orchestra since 1999. He is a guest conductor for the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in his native Egypt. He has also played with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. Lira’s choreographer and dance director is Iwona Puc, who trained and performed in Poland before continuing her career as a choreographer before continuing her career as a choreographer in the U.S.
As with all Lira performances, the concert will be narrated in English by Lucyna Migala who is artistic director and general manager of the Lira Ensemble. Ms. Migala will share some Polish holiday traditions and will offer a bit of the history and tradition behind the music and dance performed.
The Lira company has been artist-in-residence at Loyola University Chicago since 1995. The Ensemble is the nation’s only professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song and dance. Lira’s mission is to bring the best of Polish culture into American life.
The concert is co-sponsored by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and by the Lira Society-Group 816 of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America, with financial support from the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation and the Kochton Foundation.