History of our folklore band
The band was started by Zbigniew Solak, a Poznan University of Technology student, as the National Dance Band in 1973. Since 1984, when Marzenna Biegała-Howorska took over as manager, the band has been known as the Poznan University of Technology National Dance Band called „Poligrodzianie”. Now it is the oldest students´ folklore band in Poznań. „Poligrodzianie” do not only promote Polish culture on state, but also carry out educational activities. The year 1998 saw the beginning of the University´s Cultural Centre (Uczelniane Centrum Kultury), which enables a group of more than 250 students learn to sing, dance or play musical instruments. The re are also folklore groups for about 120 children.
In the year 2000 another group was created for foreign students so that they can learn Polish national dances and songs. Now the group with more than 100 members is accompanied by a professional musical band of 10. The ir four-hour show features national dances, customs, habits and songs from 18 regions of Poland. Dancers perform in original costumes and the music that is played on typical instruments is characteristic of a particular region. So far the band have won many awards both at home and abroad. The y have played almost 3000 concerts, have covered more than one million kilometers and have made 86 trips abroad to 38 countries.
„Poligrodzianie” have performed for UNESCO four times, they also played in front of John Paul II twice. The y have been invited to concerts by the mayor of New York, the President of Malta, the Ministers of Culture and Tourism from Ireland, South Korea, China, Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey and Israel. The y were the first to represent Poland at the 1998 annual European Community convention of regional representatives in Rennes, in which about 20,000 people participated. „Poligrodzianie” can boast many gratitude and congratulation letters, e.g. the Minister of Culture´s Diploma for promoting Polish culture abroad, as well as an order of merit for services for the Region of Wielkopolska.
For the last couple of years we have enjoyed many successes:
- The second prize in the 17th Folklore Festival in Canada in 1998
- A distinction in the International Folklore Festival in Zielona Góra in 2000
- An award for the best performance of a national Dance in China in 2001
- The first prize and making a programme for the Croatian TV in the International Festival in Zagreb in 2001
- The first prize in the Regional Festival of Folklore Bands in Duszniki in 2002
- The first prize in the Festival of Wielkopolska's Folklore Bands in Nowy Tomyśl in 2003
- The first prize in the National Folklore Festival in Łowicz in 2003
- The first out of the three main prizes in the 15th Folklore Meeting (Szczyrk/Wisła/Żywiec) in 2004
- The first prize for the whole programme shown in the National Folklore Festival called "Summer on the Świna River" in Świnoujście in 2007
- A distinction for our musical band in the National Folklore Festival called "Summer on the Świna River" in Świnoujście in 2007
- A distinction for staging Opoczno and Kaszuby ceremonies in the National Folklore Festival called „Summer on the Świna River” in Świnoujście in 2007
- A prize for the manager of the band Ms Marzenna Biegała-Howorska for choreography and direction of the programme in the National Folklore Festival called „Summer on the Świna River” in Świnoujście in 2007
- 9a Festa Mundial do Folclore - Brasil 19.07.-06.08.2008
- International Youth Dance Festival Macau 4-14.07.2008
- International Festival of Culture - Manila - Philippines (2009)
- X International Folk Encouter - Calama - Chile (2009)
- 5th Mediterranean Folklore Dance Festival - Cyprus (2010)
- 5th International Folk Festival - Nepal (2010)
- "Voice of Nation" - Georgia (2011)
- International Children's Day in Turkey - Kocaeli (2011)
- 20th India Theatre Olympiad: International Theatre Festival - Cuttack, India 12-16 October 2012
- 7th International Sabah Festival in Malaysia- MAIN JURY AWARD and for THE BEST DANCER AWARD - Female for Magdalena Grzesiek (2012)
- VI Encuentro Mundial de Folklore MI PERU - Nazca - Lima - Peru (2013)
- 8th Shanghai - Baoshan International Folk Art Festival - MUSIC AND DANCE AWARD - Shanghai - China (2013)
- International Festival “San Isidro abre sus puertas al Mund ‘’ LIMA-PERU 8-15 of April 2014
- “Oceania Artistic Tour” performances in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch- New Zealand -July 2014. The trip to New Zealand was possible thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2014)
- V World Championship of Folklore - Burgas - Nessebar / Bulgaria / 20-30 August 2015
- – Golden medal
- – Grand Prix - "Golden Orpheus"
- – Title: Absolute World Championship of Folklore 2015
Moreover, the band have recorded programmes for radio and television in Sweden, Italy, Canada, Mexico, China and Poznań, Poland.
Between 2002 and 2007 the band prepared 860 broadcasts for Wielkopolska´s kindergartens and schools within the framework of the educational programme entitled „Cultural Heritage in the Region”.
„Poligrodzianie” are a member of the Polish Section of CIOFF, the Polish Students´ Folklore Association as well as EFCO.