History

 

The Echoes of Poland was founded in the fall of 1967 when Paulina Tul-Ortyl was asked to prepare a group of young people to perform some of the traditional aspects of the Polish Christmas celebration. She gathered some of her friends from the Nebraska Avenue and Lagrange Street areas for the church pageant. During the first few years, the troupe held practices once a week. They were asked to participate at many local festivals and church functions. At that time, the ensemble practiced at several places including St. Anthony's, The Argonne Post, Polish Falcons, PNA Hall and the Lagrange-Central Center. Today, we practice at the P.R.C.U.A. hall on Tuesday, and Thursday nights.

Through the weekly practices, Mrs. Ortyl has instilled in her members a great sense of pride and love for Polish folk customs through dancing and singing. A non-profit organization, the Echoes of Poland have performed at festivals and concerts throughout the United States and in Canada.  In 1977, the ensemble traveled to Rzeszow, Poland for the Triennial World Festival of Polish Folk Dancers. Since 1979, we have staged our own concerts in the Toledo area to show our full repertoire of regional and national dances. In 1980, a Kapela, a Polish band, was added. The dancers certainly enjoy dancing and singing to live musician.

In 1980, the ensemble attended the festival again, and out of the sixty-four groups attending, the ensemble won the highest honor for authentically portraying Polish Folk culture by performing the Dozynski, the Polish Harvest Celebration. The Ensemble has made the trip to the

Rzeszow Festival seven times and always performs admirably. We have many trophies for first in authentically portraying dances and songs.

 

 

 

During the mid-seventies, Mrs. Ortyl began a children group to train the young members for the adult ensemble. By starting at a young age, the children become familiar with many of the rudimentary skills in the art of song and dance.

On October 16, 1983, The Echoes of Poland Folk Song & Dance Ensemble held their Fifteenth Anniversary. Mrs. Ortyl was honored for her dedication in perpetuating Polish culture among hundreds of youth in the Toledo area.

 

In 1996, WGTE Public Broadcasting was putting together a special on the Polish people of Toledo for their Cornerstones series entitled "The Polish in Toledo" and contacted Paulina about providing the music for this endeavor. Paulina got some musicians together and recorded all the folk music for this 41-minute tribute to the Poles in Toledo.

In 1997, The Ohio House of Representatives recognized the members of the Echoes of Poland for their valuable contribution to the preservation of our Polish culture through song and dance. Representative John Garcia was at one of our performances and he came back and awarded us with our certificates.

 

On January 16, 1999, the ensemble had the honor to welcome Lech Walesa, former leader of Solidarnosc and former President of Poland, to St. Adalbert for an informal meeting with the Polish community.

 

In the spring of 2000, the Echoes of Poland became affiliated with the P.R.C.U.A. organization. We feel this is where we belong. We are home.

 

 

In the Spring of 2002, Echoes of Poland celebrated their 35th Anniversary.  Paulina Tul Ortyl is the only Choreographer and Director the ensemble has ever had.  Paulina was presented an appreciation award from PRCUA and recognition award from Polish American Congress at the Annual Spring Concert for all her years of dedication. Sto Lat Paulina!

 

 

 

 
The Echoes of Poland under the Director/Choreographer Paulina Tul Ortyl performed their first television show in America, "Polka Bandstand" in October 2004. They performed a suite of dances from the Lublin region and Kujawac Obarac to an enthusiastic live audience. 

 

 

 

 

The Echoes of Poland  performed in Rzeszow , Poland in 2005 for the 10th time.  STO LAT  Echoes and keep the traditions alive.

 

On Sunday June 1, 2008 at the Oho Theatre in Toledo, Ohio, The Echoes of Poland Folk Song & Dance ensemble of the PRCUA presented their 40th annual live concert to an enthusiastic full house audience. The show was full of memorabilia of the past 40 years.  A slide show highlighting 40 years of dancers was presented along with a lobby full of beautiful artifacts and photos.

Members of the audience, including District 5 National Director Joan Sylak; District 10  National Director Thomas Z. Lisiecki; representatives from congresswoman Marcy Kaptur; a representative from Mayor Carleton Finkfinder; Toledo City Council Tom Wisniewski; District Representative Lindsay Webb Representative of District 6, Toledo Sister Cities International Walter Palicki; Representative of Toledo Poznan Alliance; Arts Council of Greater Toledo; and the International Institute –were there to honor our one and only director Paulina Tul Ortyl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Behalf of the members from the groups: “Echoes of Poland Folk Song and Dance Ensemble from Toledo, Ohio and Zakopane Polish Folk Ensemble from Warren, Michigan. We would like to thank the PRCUA and especially William Seranko for inviting us to participate in the Boyne Falls Polish Festival on August 6th.  This festival provided us with a unique and wonderful opportunity to both experience and supports our Polish culture.

We started the day by participating in the parade.  We were all like little kids dressed up waiting for somewhere to go. For the parade the Zakopane Polish Dance Ensemble had 16 dancers who were dressed costumes from Krakow region and Echoes of Poland Dance Ensemble had 23 dancers dressed in Lublin and Goralski costumes.  We walked the parade route handing out goodies and flyers for our show. We had a blast! Everyone was so nice and told us how beautiful we looked and that we made them proud to be Polish.  Zakopane Dance Ensemble was even presented with a trophy for the best dressed group in the parade.

We took time to watch ourselves on the “Big Screen” in the PRCUA booth. We browsed through the many pictures, books, and pamphlets that were displayed on the tables. We looked for familiar faces in the colorful tri-folds put together by PRCUA Vice President Anna Sokolowski and the Fraternal Department.  They brought many a smile and such pleasant memories. 

We presented two concerts to the public and had two sets of costumes one for each set.    The Zakopane dancers performed in costumes from Krakow and Lublin region and performed the suites from Krakow, Lublin, Przeworsk (northeast Rzeszow), and the American Polka.  The Echoes of Poland in costumes from Lublin and Lowicz regions performed Kujawiak, Lowicz suites, and dances from Wroclaw region.  The audience was enchanted by the swirling skirts, the beautiful colors, lively and fancy dance steps with ladies flying the air and then taking a ride on the carousel made of men.  The PRCUA had two great ambassadors in Echoes of Poland and Zakopane dancers.  You could feel and see the respect, admiration, and encouragement each offered the other, and the crowd loved it.

The Echoes of Poland is under the direction and choreographed by Paulina Tul Ortyl for the past 43 years.  She has been the only director and choreographer we have had.  Zakopane is under the direction of Colleen Bonkowski who also directs Zajaczek Dance Ensemble.  The choreographer and founder of Zakopane is Tom Lisiecki who is a National Director from District 10 for PRCUA.   Tom also dances with Zakopane Dance Ensemble and is for many years choreographer for Halka Dance Ensemble.  Christopher Ozog is also a National Director from District 10 who dances with Zakopane.

The memories that PRCUA has given us will last a lifetime and will be cherished more as the years roll along.  They are irreplaceable!  DZIEKUJEMY PRCUA!  You are the best and we love you!

 

 

 

 

Echoes Dance in Cleveland

 

Saturday, November 19, at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts, in Cleveland, Ohio a spectacular concert was presented by eight outstanding Polish dance ensembles. The name of this concert is so appropriate “Zatanczmy”, which in Polish means “Let’s Dance”, and that is what these groups did dance their hearts out. The concert consisted of Dance Ensembles from all over Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania: Gorale Polish Flok Dancer, Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish School, Krakowiaki Polish Folk circle, Living Traditions Folk Ensemble, Piast Artistic Folk Song and Dance Ensemble, Syrena Polish Folk Ensemble, Wiwaty and the Featured group The Echoes of Poland Folk Song and Dance.

 

The audience was treated like there were in a little village and the dancers were providing a tour of Poland through dance. The audience was amazed at the caliber of talent and enthusiasm presented by all of the dancers.  It was a show of color, high stepping and beauty.  Being the featured ensemble the Echoes performed two suites while the others performed one.  The Echoes performed Lowicz and Zywiec to a standing ovation. 

 

After the concert all the ensembles got together for one big pizza party and to get to know one another.  This is an experience that all the dancers will have fond memories for the rest of their lives.  Without culture we are nothing and it is so important that our young people promote it.  Thanks for all of the memories.

 

 

 

Echoes Joins the Band

The Toledo area was treated to an outstanding concert that was held on November 25 at the Franciscan Theater of Lourdes University.  The 26th annual Polish American Concert Band featured the Echoes of Poland.  The PAC band is under the direction of Mr. Randy J. Bialecki, and the Echoes of Poland is directed and choreographed by Mrs. Paulina Ortyl. 

The PAC Band played such crowd pleasers as:  JeszczePolska Nie Zgindla, The Star Spangled Banner, The Freelance March, selections from Mary Poppins, the Chester Overture for Band, the Overture-Twilight, and Big Band Spectacular .  Then Echoes took to the stage to perform with the Band.  The ensemble performed to: Pozegnanie Ojczyzny, Litwin, Kujawiak/Oberek and Krakowiak.  The audience was treated to lively steps, graceful moves, girls being lifted and spun, boys kneeling and executing show-stopping steps, and beautiful Polish authentic costumes.   After the final dance, the audience gave the ensemble a standing ovation.  The PAC Band also played: Under the Double Eagle, Poland at Christmas, Sleigh Ride, and Just a Closer Walk with Thee. 

The audience participated in It’s Christmas!, A  Sing –A-Long with Polish Kolendy and American carols. It was a great beginning to the Christmas season, a feast for the senses especially the eyes and ears.  All I can say is a Great Job was done by All!

 

 

 

 

 

On May 19,2013 The societies of the Prcua : 1584,1633,1617,  and 719 held a Polka Mass and Breakfast to celebrate the PRCUA 140th Anniversary to a capacity crowd.   Special guests in attendance were: President, Jospeh Drobot, Jr and first lady Judy. National Directors from District 5 Joan Sylak, and Mitchell  Bienia , National Director from District 10,Christopher Ozog.  Past PRCUA President Francis Rutkowski and his wife Pat and, and the Echoes of Poland.  The Echoes performed for an appreciative crowd.  Echoes are under the direction and choreography of Paulina Tul Ortyl for the past 45 years. Thank you to National Director Joan Sylak and Aggie Dahar for organizing this event.  Special thanks go to Fr. Paul Kwiatkowski, our Chaplin, for presiding at the Mass with Tom Jesionowski for assisting Father Paul, and for Randy Krajewski , Jimmy Owczarzak, and Jim Rutkowski for performing the music for the mass. A Great big thanks to all of you who had anything to do with the Success of this Polka Mass we appreciate all your hard work it was a smashing success.

 

 

 

 

2014 Convention Toledo Ohio

 

Click on Photo to enlarge

 

On August 10, 2014 The Echoes were proud to be part of the PRCUA 61st National Convention held at the Plaza Hotel and Banquet Hall Toledo Ohio.  The Echoes participated in the Opening ceremony and mass held at St Hedwig Church on Lagrange St. Father Paul Kwiatkowski was back in his old parish and helped serve in the Mass and Tom Jesionowski assisted with the Mass.  Readers were: Maria Szkudlarek-Mikho and Alyson Krajewski.  The gifts were presented by the Antoniuk family.

Later that evening at the Banquet, as host ensemble we led off the festivities when Rob Szczublewski sang the both Polish and American national anthems.  The Echoes performed Polonez Mazur, Lowicz, and the children did a fiery Krakowiak.  It was a fest of the eyes with all the National dancers presenting national dances.  The Evening ended with a presentation of the t-shirt quilt from all PRCUA ensembles to our retiring National vice-President, Anna Sokolowska.

 

 

 

 

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