to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Five Holy Martyrs Parish

The well-known Lira Singers and Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble will perform a celebratory concert of Mexican and Polish music on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 2pm in Five Holy Martyrs Church, 4301 South. Richmond Street in Chicago.

The concert celebrates the 100th anniversary of Five Holy Martyrs Parish as well as two important ethnic holidays  — Cinco de Mayo and May 3rd/Polish Constitution Day.  In addition, the parish is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the historic visit of Pope John Paul the Great to Five Holy Martyrs Church in 1979, during the Polish pope’s first visit to the United States.

Reverend Wojciech Baryski, pastor, invites all to this concert which honors the Polish immigrants who created and built Five Holy Martyrs Parish as well as the many Mexican Americans who now are parishioners. 

The concert features the Lira Singers, the core group of the Lira Ensemble which specializes in Polish music and dance, and the Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble of men and women who play traditional Mexican stringed instruments as well as sing. The program includes Mexican, Polish and American folk and patriotic songs as well as Marian hymns performed by the two companies.

The event is produced by the Lira Ensemble, artist-in-residence at Loyola University Chicago, and  is part of a series of Mexican/Polish performances presented by Lira since 1990. The series has been praised by audiences, community leaders, as well as critics. A reviewer in the Chicago Tribune described these joint concerts as „a joyous explosion of song and ethnic traditions” which „proves the power of music.”  The Lira Ensemble won the City of Chicago 2001 Human Relations Award for its inter-ethnic concerts with Mexican Americans, African Americans, and its outreach to American Jews – many of whom have roots in Poland.

Mexican Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) to commemorate the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 against the French.  This was part of the Mexican fight against Napoleon’s invading armies. Polish Americans celebrate May 3rd as Polish Constitution Day to remember the signing of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791.  This was the second written constitution in world history, second only to the United States Constitution, on which it was partially based.

The May 3rd concert will be narrated in English by Lucyna Migala who is co-founder, artistic director, and general manager of the Lira Ensemble.  In 2007, she received the Sor Juana Award of the National Museum of Mexican Art in recognition of her cross-cultural initiatives. The Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble will perform under the direction of Rodolfo Hernandez, founder of the group.  The concert will be conducted by Paul Dijkstra, co-conductor of the Lira Ensemble.

Tickets for this Polish-Mexican concert are reasonably priced, thanks to financial support from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Tickets prices include a reception after the performance. Adult tickets are $20, seniors $15; also students to age twenty and children over twelve – $10.  Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.  Free parking is available adjacent to the church.

 For tickets or more information call the Five Holy Martyrs Parish at 773- 254-3636