Together with Lithuanians across the world, on Friday Feb. 16, Wisconsin Lithuanians celebrated the centennial of the Independence of Lithuania. The MVSC board invited all to an evening at the beautiful Feynman Center of the Promega Corporation. There we watched projected photos and videos from Lithuania, enjoyed a delicious dinner of locally grown food, and enjoyed a program that consisted of members of the audience making toasts by expressing what it meant to each to be Lithuanian.
An American-born but fluent Lithuanian speaker read from her grandmother's diary a description of the first anniversary of independence, in 1919 Kaunas. A fourth generation Lithuanian, granddaughter of Pennsylvania immigrants, read a poem by Maironis in English translation.
Representatives of the refugee DP generation recalled life in America's Lithuanian communities, efforts to escape the soviet, memories of days before the restoration of independence.
Recent immigrants expressed their love for Lithuania while appreciating life and work in America.
Each story was unique, each was entertaining, at times poignant, always interesting.
No doubt the most amusing was the story of a pet goat that broke a crystal vase given by Pope Pius IX to President Stulginskis, but it vied for humour with the memory of a young girl who lamented the loss of her chance to become a Pioneer.
We rejoiced in the celebration of the centennial and are now preparing to celebrate again in May when MVSC and Zaibas Lithuanian Dancers present a concert of The Singing Revolution by Kestutis Daugirdas, who is coming to conduct it himself. This will be held in the Wisconsin State Capitol building, at 1 PM on May 12, with Madison's own Sostines Balsai choir (Capital Voices), as well as singers from Chicago's Dainava Choir, from Kansas City, the Washington DC area, Baraboo and Milwaukee. The concert will be followed by MVSC's annual banquet with guest speaker Prof. Guntis Smidchens of the University of Washington in Seattle talking on The Power of Song. For more information, skip to the Upcoming Events page.
Finally, we would like to thank Gediminas Vidugiris for arranging the use of Promega’s lovely facilities, his place of work and Daina Zemliauskaite Juozeviciene for being an exquisite master of ceremonies and maintaining a strong celebratory vibe!