David K. Joyce Minerals

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

As you may know, I recently released a CD recording of mineral collecting and mining songs called "Nuggets and High Grade". As a result, I have been performing the songs here and there at mineral shows, various mineral club meetings and other venues. This past summer, Tomasz Praskier, of Spirifer Minerals, invited me to visit Poland for two reasons; to perform my mineral and mining songs at his and Asia's wedding party and to perform the songs at "Crystal Days", the large gem and mineral show -turned regional summer fair, at Lwowek Slaski in south-western Poland. How could I refuse?! Here are some pictures and anecdotes from that trip. It is largely about music but there are some photo's of great Polish mineral specimens, as well.

 

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

The "Crystal Days" gem and mineral show and regional fair takes place in the village of Lwowek Slaski, in south-western Poland, not far from the border with Germany. During a week in July, much of the downtown is cordoned off to make way for gem and mineral sales booths, food concessions, a giant stage, dozens of activities and the tens of thousands of visitors who flock to the event. This is a view of the main street behind the road block, as people get ready to set up booths. The Town Hall that you can see in the picture is the centre of activities for the gem and mineral show.

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Lwowek Slaski is a very old town that still has an intact wall that surrounds the original town. The original wall was erected in 1261 and remnants of various generations of the wall., plus four stone towers, are there to be seen today.

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Immediately upon arrival, I needed to rehearse with local musician and performer Rafal. We had sent each other our music ahead of time and we rehearsed for a couple of days in a room in the 16th century old Town Hall. Note the unique sandstone arches in this room in this magnificent building. The torture chamber and dungeon through that door behind me!

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Tomasz(Tomek) and Asia were married in a civil ceremony in a wonderful wood-paneled room in the old Town Hall. You can see Asia(white dress) and Tomek amongst the many dozens of witnesses at the ceremony.

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

The wedding party/celebration was at the site of an old quarry outside of Lwowek Slaski. You'd never know that it was a quarry, since it is overgrown with woods and vegetation. Just before the reception began, a "Walonian" wedding ceremony was held including torch-light procession and presentation of hats to the wedded couple. All done by torch-light. Very dramatic. Then the music and partying began!

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Tomek and Asia had a giant marquis tent erected in a field in the old quarry to shelter guests from rain(which did not happen in the end). At one end of the tent was food preparation and serving which involved copious quantities of sausages, kapusta, stews, perogies and other hearty fare. Also in the tent, along one side of the back wall were stations offering unlimited vodka(including Krupnik!), beer and wine. Nobody was wanting that night.

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Did I mention that there were LOTS of sausages?! (M. Mauthner photo)

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

The wedding was attended by mineralogically luminous guests from around the world. Here are a few: L-R John Veevaert (USA), Peter Lykberg (Sweden) and Malcolm Southwood (Australia). Fun was had by all!

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Of course, aside from participating in the wedding party fun, my job was to play music with Rafal. We were joined by Tomek's brother-in-law, Marcin Markowicz, who is a professional violinist with the Warsaw Symphony Orchestra. He was great and provided great accompaniment for some of my songs!

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

As it turns out Marcin's sister Anna Markowicz also attended the wedding party. She is an actress in the Polish National Theatre Company and has a wonderful voice. We accompanied her on some Polish folk songs that she sang for the gathering. She was amazing!

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

Bread has a special place in the "Crystal Days" celebration. There are loaves of bread everwhere! They are used for various purposes during the show and festival.

Recent Activities -Trip to Poland, July, 2014

The opening ceremony included speeches and pageantry, including the Bread Ceremony where a respected local woman presented the Mayor with a special loaf of bread to commemorate the beginning of the show. Mny of the participants dress up as Walonians for the ceremonyies. According to legend, Walonians came to the area many years ago in search of precious stones. This search is a main theme of Crystal Days.