Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Blessed with a God given talent

Genė Vasiliauskienė yra daininkė iš Dievo malonės.
Stasys Santvaras (Pasaulio Lietuvis 1983)

Well-known singer soloist and longstanding choir mistress in Adelaide.

Genovaite Stanaityte was born in Griškabūdis, Sakiai region in the south western Lithuania, on 6 April 1921.  Genovaitė gained a love of music from her mother, she began singing at a young age.  At 18 years of age she began to study singing at the Kaunas Conservatory under Professor Gedan and V. Grigaitienė.  Later she studied at Vilnius Music school with Professor Kryzanowska.  The events of WWII did not stop her studies, which she continued at Hamburg Conservatory with Professor Berger.  

Upon arrival in Australia Genovaitė enrolled in the Adelaide Conservatory under Professor Howard.  She continued perfecting her voice with private tutelage A. Binkevičiutė – Gučiuvienė.

In Germany she gave numerous concerts in Fensburg, Hamburg, Spackenberg and Ventorf.
Her voice would be heard among the Lithuanian Community in Adelaide at concerts, national memorials, literature evenings, Baltic commemorations, Red Cross concerts, Good Neighbour concerts. 

As a soloist she performed with the Adelaide Lithuanian choir Lituania, at concerts performed in Adelaide, Lobethal, Kadina and Renmark. 

Gene was involved in the 5UV Lithuanian radio program.

In 1969 she succeeded Šimkus as conductor of Lituania.  A position she held until 1982.  She lead the Men’s octet Klajūnai and later organised a girls choir Eglutės.  After resigning from the choir she organised a women’s octet.

In 1964 she was invited to give a Lithuanian recital for the Festival of Arts. In 1965 she released a record.

In 1993, Genovaitė received an Order of Australia for her contribution to Lithuanian community and culture. 

She has sat on the Cultural committee of the National council, Lithuanian Day organiser committee.  

In 1980 she was awarded the Vilnius University 400 Years Jubilee Medal.

One admirer of her talents gave her an anonymous prize.

An unknown music-lover thought so highly of the singing of Mrs. Gene Vasiliauskas in this week's News and Mail Aria finals, that he or she sent along a personal prize of £15/15/.
Mrs. Vasiliauskas. 32, Lithuanian-born, who lives at Semaphore, came to Australia four years ago. She finished equal sixth in the final with 79 point to the 83 awarded the winner, Miss Patricia Beatty.

She is a soprano. Mrs. Vasiliauskas  received the £15/15/ through the post with a letter congratulating her on her fine singing.

Today Mrs. Vasiliauskas said:  'I express my sincere thanks to the unknown person for the surprise of such a personal prize. This kind attention gives me fresh encouragement in my efforts towards musical perfection.'

1 August 1953 The Mail

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mothers day at the Lithuanian Catholic centre 1970.

Motinos diena 1970

Following mass by father Spurgis, the community gathered in the hall.  All mothers received a flower to pin to their tops, then were seated at the tables and offered refreshment by the students.

A program followed.  The school principal, K Pažėra, The Parish council member B. Dičiūnas, Lithuanian Catholic women’s president T. Gasiunienė and Ateitininkas (Catholic Youth)  member A. Kubilius spoke.  A picture of the Aušros Vartų Marija[i] (Gates of Dawn Mary) and fresh flowers decorated the stage where the children performed. 

Poems were recited by Vincas Bagušauskas, Viktoras Dunda, Kristina Stankevičiutė, Andrius Vitkūnas, Brigita Paul, Edis Jučius and Aidas Kubilius.  Further poems were read by Regina Pranskūnaitė, Sietynas Kubilius, Petras Urnevičius and Saulius Kubilius. 

R. Kubiliutė, one of the teachers lead the children in singing.  Regina Pranskunaitė and Ramunė Varnaitė played the piano. 

Older student, Linas Kubilius read an extract from Vaizgantis[ii] and Gintaras Kubilius  read Father Krasauskas thoughts on mothers.

The same day the Women’s committee organised a concert at Lithuanian House, performed by the Adelaide Lithuanian school. 

[i]  The Chapel in the Gate of Dawn contains an icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, said to have miraculous powers.  For centuries the picture has been one of the symbols of the city and an object of veneration for both Roman Catholic and Orthodox inhabitants. Thousands of votive offerings adorn the walls and many pilgrims from neighbouring countries come to pray in front of the beloved painting.

[ii] 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.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

St Casimir festival 1961

The Adelaide Catholic community celebrated the holy day of St Casimir over three days, 2-4 March 1961. Over those days Father J. Kungys said prayers each day. In the evenings at the St Casimir chapel mass and special prayers were offered for the persecuted church in Lithuania. A formal offering was taken up on the Sunday. On the Sunday Adelaide Auxiliary Bishop James Gleeson (Later to become Adelaide’s first priest to become Archbishop) near the altar met some Lithuanian scouts, members of the community in national costume and members of the Lithuanian Catholic Committee.

The offering was given in English by Father Kungys using passages from Ecclesiastes and referring to the persecuted Catholics in Lithuania at that time, those martyred and tortured. Bishop Gleeson then took the opportunity to refer to the Lithuanian continued devotion to St Casimir and that God hears the hopes and prayers of his faithful. He declared that Lithuania will one day be free again. Bishop Gleeson encouraged Lithuanian parents to pray that their children may be called to enter the priesthood or sisterhood.