Wings 1999

2nd Annual Polish Youth Honors Music Camp

With last year' s success feeding her optimism, Peace Corps volunteer Rebecca Wileman once again organized the Polish Youth Honors Music Camp as a summer project in addition to her teaching work in the village of Błażowa - but this year with a new title symbolizing the chance it truly gives youth musicians:" WINGS 1999."

Following the end of the 1999 school year (and incidentally, the end of Wileman' s Peace Corps contract), 70 of the best students from music high schools all over Poland came to Rzeszów from June 28th - July 3rd, after being nominated by their school directors, to play music, make new friends and have fun in this extraordinary camp at no cost.

This year' s famous conductor was Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, conductor and director of the Białystok Philharmonic, not to mention the youngest Philharmonic director in all of Poland. Though he is famous in his own right, Nałęcz-Niesiełowski is also the son of the famous conductor who led" Baton z humorem" .

Conductor Nałęcz-Niesiołowski' s attendance at the participants' bonfire is just one example of the charm he brought to this year's camp. The beautiful program he selected for the youth orchestra (including Grieg - Suites 1 and 2 of Peer Gynt, Beethoven - Coriolan, and Kilar - Orawa), and his friendly personality created a truly pleasant camp atmosphere.

Rebecca Wileman, PCV, with Young Musicians

Like last year, the honors orchestra rehearsed every day at the Philharmonic and enjoyed a variety of activities in the evenings - a disco, a bonfire, and a professional Philharmonic concert. The camp concluded with a final concert on Saturday July 3rd which merited two encores and a standing ovation!

The participants received camp T-shirts, certificates of participation and beautiful medals to symbolize the honor of being selected.

Wileman had another tough search for sponsorship this year, as last year' s main sponsor BP has since merged with a new company and changed its sponsoring goals. Many important sponsors remained, however, including The World of English, which once again sponsored all financial supervision for Wileman in addition to its monetary donation. Other WINGS 1999 sponsors were The Stefan Batory Foundation, The U.S. Consulate General in Kraków, Alima-Gerber S.A., Elektromontaż, Lynka, Mitel, The Rzeszów Philharmonic, and anonymous philanthropists in Kraków and New York, as well as Wileman' s church in Edgerton, Wisconsin, USA.

WINGS just may become a tradition at the Rzeszów Philharmonic; its 2nd annual success leaves hope for continuation. Wileman' s ultimate goal was to start something great for Polish youth that will continue after she heads home to Wisconsin this summer. She says she' s happy to organize it from wherever she is, as long as the sponsors are willing. As she optimistically told the WINGS audience at the final concert: regarding a WINGS 2000 -" Zobaczymy."