Ognisko Polskie – the Polish Hearth Club has a long history of holding entertaining and inspiring musical events at its prestigious location in Exhibition Road, London. Since 1940 this Polish institution has held a central place in supporting Polish social and cultural life, with a particular emphasis on supporting the friendships between the Poles and other cultures, especially British friends and colleagues, founded in during the second world war when many of the first members fought together on the front line, suffering greatly in the joint pursuit of freedom and democracy. Over the following decades allegiances have been strengthened in evenings of fun and glamour with a thriving theatre, music, cultural and social scene and of course a renowned bar and restaurant!
On Sunday 16th June 2019 Ognisko Polskie – the Polish Hearth Club was the venue for another inspiring initiative, Musical Moments for Children, which seeks to introduce a young audience to classical music in an accessible and interactive way. Barbara Kaczmarowska Hamilton and Piotr Michalik, both life members of the Club, are organising a series of short Sunday morning concerts featuring talented young musicians from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. For some years the Club has held a well-loved series of Monday evening concerts, Musical Moments, and the idea to extent the concept to a younger audience grew naturally from the popularity of this venture.
The first event was a great success, with children of all ages and their parents being treated to five bite sized pieces performed by talented pianist Chiara Naldi. Piotr Michalik welcomed the audience and introduced the music by Bach, Grieg, Chopin, Schumann and Debussy. Chiara Naldi explained what drew her to play the piano and highlighted interesting points about each piece. The young music lovers were encouraged to listen carefully and vote for their favourite composer – Debussy won on this occasion – which generated an encore. The interactive morning included the chance for all children to see how the piano worked and even to play the piano themselves, with varying degrees of talent but equal enthusiasm. At the end children and adults all tucked into piles of delicious fresh Polish donuts (pączki) kindly donated by the Polish Bakery.