As an American representative in Poland nothing warms my heart more than to see citizens of these two countries work to overcome the distance of geography, culture, and language. This weekend Mila, the sister city organization of Minsk Mazowiecki and Lacey, Washington, put on a wonderful cultural program for the people of Minsk.  I was there on Sunday afternoon with the Deputy Chief of Mission Pamela Quanrud to thank and encourage the hardworking volunteers at Mila to continue their cooperation. We attended a really enjoyable concert performed by the North Thurston High School band and the Deta band of Minsk Mazowiecki.  The two bands movingly performed the national anthems of the two countries and put a smile on our faces with their rendition of “You Will Never Walk Alone” from the musical Carousel. In a nutshell, this was citizen diplomacy at its finest.

In addition to those numbers, each band payed a homage to the other: the North Thurston Band of Lacey, Washington, played a rhapsody of 4 Polish folksongs entitled “White Eagle” and the Deta band of Minsk Mazowiecki played a number of songs in an American style.  My personal favorite was the clarinet funk.  When the soloist started jamming, the whole row of VIPs, from the Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, to the Mayor and Councilmember of Minsk Mazowiecki, to the Sejm deputy couldn’t help but start tapping their feet. 

After the concert we were treated to a surprise: a group of students from Lacey performed a color guard that they had worked on in their spare time. 

Everyone at the concert had a lot of fun and made new friends. Hopefully the towns of Minsk Mazowiecki and Lacey will continue this wonderful tradition and tell their their friends and families about their experiences of as ambassadors of their own cultures across the ocean.

If any of the participants of this event want to see our photos from the event, check them out here.  The embassy wants to hear about your experience – tell us all about it in the comments!  Zapraszamy na komentarze od uczestnikow – po angielsku albo po polsku!