Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Summer youth camp, 1970

The Catholic organised a summer youth camp from 2 to 14th of January at ‘Kurša’ the Latvian camp grounds at Aldinga beach.  It wasn't the best place for a camp site as it was a bit far from the beach and the breezes cool. 

The camp was lead by Nemira Masiūlytė, assisted by R. Kubiliutė. Camp commandant was D. Karpys, camp cook was Visockiene, Janilionienė and Marcinkevičiutė.  Every evening father Kazlauskas and Father Spurgis would hold readings and discussions.  Guests spoke on various topics, L. Pakalnis spoke about Lithuanian poetry, A Kubilius spoke about practical Catholicism, M. Gavienienė about catholic ideology, V. Straukas and Father Spurgis led a discussion of youth issues, G. Kaminskas spoke on the Lithuanian language.  V. Vosylius gave a slide show featuring Lithuanian scenes.  P. Pusdešris spoke on and led a traditional partisan evening with a crown of flowers being let out to sea.
There were 25 children at the camp, with five of them had travelled from Melbourne.

The final day of camp, Father Kazlauskas said mass, followed by the youth showing what they had learned throughout the camp, singing national dancing, recitals. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mother's Day concert 1970

It has become traditional for a Mothers day concert to be held by the Adelaide Lithuanian community.  When there were two schools, there were two concerts.  St Casimir’s school children held a concert after Father Spurgis had given mass. The children all marched into the church hall to pin a flower to their mother as they sat by the tables ready for the concert.

A welcome was given by the school principle K. Pažera, followed by B. Dičiūnas on behalf of the Catholic centre. Lithuanian Catholic Women’s president, Teresė Gasiunienė and A. Kubilius also spoke briefly.

Aušros Vartu Marijos (The gates of dawn holy Mary) and live flowers decorated the stage. Poems were recited by Vincas Bagušauskas, Viktoras Dunda, Kristina Stankevičiutė, Andrius Vitkunas, Brigita Paul, Edis Jucius, and Aidas Kubilius.  Regina Pranskūnaitė, Sietynas Kubilius, Petras Urnevičius and Saulius Kubilius recited more poems.  In between the children’s choir sang, and teacher, R. Kubiliutė sang a song about mothers.  Regina Pranskunaitė and Ramunė Varnaitė played the piano.  Also present were senior Catholic Youth, Linas Kubilius who read part of Vaižgantis writings and Gintaras Kubilius read Father Krasauskas thoughts about mothers. 

Juozas Tumas, also known by the pen name Vaižgantas (September 20, 1869 - April 29, 1933), was a prominent Lithuanian writer, Roman Catholic priest, social activist, literary historian, and one of the founders of the Party of National Progress. He wrote novels, short fictional pieces, and non-fiction. His most notable works include the novel Pragiedruliai (Rays of Hope) and the narrative Dėdės ir dėdiėnes (Uncles and Aunts). Tumas is considered one of the most important Lithuanian writers of his era.

A mother’s day concert was also held at Lithuanian House on the same day.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Friends of Lithuanian Minor Adelaide Branch

Adelaide Mažosios Lietuvos Bičiulių Draugijos

Lithuania Minor is a historical ethnographic region of Prussia, later East Prussia in Germany, where Prussian Lithuanians or Lietuvininkai lived.  Lithuania Minor enclosed the northern part of this province and got its name due to the territory's substantial Lithuanian-speaking population. Today a small portion of Lithuania Minor is within the borders of modern Lithuania and Poland while most of the territory is part of the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. 

On 25 January 1953, over 200 people gathered in the Excelsior hall in Adelaide for a Klaipėda region commemoration.  The event was to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Klaipėda Revolt. The region was detached from the East Prussia of the German Empire by the Treaty of Versailles and became a mandate of the League of Nations.  It was placed under provisional French administration until a more permanent solution could be worked out. Lithuania wanted to unite with the region (part of Lithuania Minor) due to its large Lithuanian-speaking minority of Prussian Lithuanians and major port of Klaipėda – the only viable access to the Baltic Sea for Lithuania.  The Lithuanians organized and staged the revolt. The rebels established a pro-Lithuanian administration, which petitioned to unite with Lithuania citing the right of self-determination.  The League of Nations accepted the fait accompli and the Klaipėda Region was transferred as an autonomous territory to the Republic of Lithuania on February 17, 1923.  After prolonged negotiations a formal international agreement, the Klaipėda Convention, was signed in May 1924. The convention formally acknowledged Lithuania's sovereignty in the region and outlined its extensive legislative, judicial, administrative, and financial autonomy. The region remained part of Lithuania until March 1939 when it was transferred to Nazi Germany after the German ultimatum.

The commemoration began with Dorothy Oldham playing the Australian and Klaipėda region national anthem.  The event was opened by the Friends of Lithuania Minor president Valentinas Zalkauskas.  He honoured those who had died for Lithuania and the Klaipeda regions freedom. Mr Reinke gave a speech which was followed by a concert.  Eglė Rūkštelienė and Paulius Rūtenis sang a folk song.  They have a flair for interpreting songs and their song choice was very apt.  The songs beautifully showed their love of their homeland.  They sang ‘Sėdžiu prie langelio’ (Sitting by a window) and ‘Giedu giesmelę’ (I sing a song).

Adelaide theatre student Kučinskas gave an impressive recital of Prosčiunaitės “Vėjai iš rytų’ (wind from the east).

Dorothy Oldham was an outstanding Adelaide pianists, she is not Lithuanian but would often play piano for members of the community. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mixed Voice Double Quartet Choir

Two quartets, one women’s ones men who sang Lithuanian folk songs.  The choir organised a one off performance on February 16th, 1951 in the Adelaide Town Hall.  From this invitation were extended the choir to perform at the ABC, Nuriootpa wine festival.
Women’s quartet consisted of Leonayda Kilikonienė, Janina Maželiene, D (probably Ona) Naudžiuvienė, E. Duchauskas (who later changed with A. Maželienė).  

Men’s choir consisted of Česlovas Zamoiskis, Jonas Abromas and Mečislovas Rudzenskas and ?.  Jonas Zdanavičius was the musical director.  Soloists were sung by Antanina Gučiuvienė, Elena Rūkštelienė and Paulius Rūtenis. 

Proceeds from the evening went in support of the Vasario 16 (February 16th) Lithuanian high school in Germany.

The group later released two folk songs produced in Chicago in 1952.

It was interesting to note that many of those mentioned soon left Adelaide for the USA.  Leonayda and her husband Vytautas Kilikonis moved to Elgin, Illinois, leaving Australia in 1956. Elena Rūkštelienė, her husband and four children moved to San Francisco in June 1955.  Ona Naudžiuvienė   and her husband, Kostas went to live in Los Angeles, leaving in May 1955. Jonas Zdanavičius also left the Commonwealth on the 29th March 1955, but I wasn't able to find out where he migrated to.  

A write up of the event appeared in the Advertiser.

Lithuanian Music and Dancing 
A concert of Lithuanian music and dancing, given in the Adelaide Town Hall last night to celebrate the Commonwealth Jubilee, was well attended.

In the first half of the programme solos were contributed ay Pranas Matiukas (violin) Elena Rukštelė (soprano) and Vivien Tuck (piano).

National dancers, under the leadership of Maria Grėbliunas, gave three groups of dances in costume during the second half, and a double quartet, conducted by Jonas Zdanavičius, sang groups of folk songs.

A collection of Lithuanian handcrafts was also on view.

The Advertiser 17 Feb 1951