May 3, 2024 marked the 233rd anniversary of Poland’s Constitution. This remarkable document was celebrated in downtown Los Angeles last Friday, with a gala event sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in LA.

The audience assembled at Colburn School’s Thayer Hall was welcomed by Consul Mateusz Gmura, who served as the evening’s emcee. He, in turn, introduced Tomasz Polewaczyk, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Poland, who spoke of the origins of Poland’s May 3 Constitution and discussed its historical significance. Next, several outstanding Polish-Americans were decorated with the Pro Patria and National Education Commission medals, as well as Teraz Polska Awards for Outstanding Poles.

With the official portion of the evening over, it was time to celebrate the occasion with music. The program choices highlighted international jazz standards written by three outstanding popular music composers active in Poland and the United States: Bronisław Kaper (1902-1983), Henryk Wars (1902-1977), and Victor Young (1899-1956). Some of their greatest hits were presented by the LA-based Tina Raymond Trio, a group well-known to audiences far and wide that includes pianist Jeremy Siskind, bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and Tina Raymond on drums.

The concert opened with a riotously fun, brisk up-tempo rendering of Victor Young’s Beautiful Love. Two more of Young’s tunes—his deservedly famous Stella By Starlight and a little less well known Alone At Last—were interspersed with Bronisław Kaper’s signature tune Invitation and another of his great worldwide hits, On Green Dolphin Street.

But it was Henryk Wars—known in the U.S. as Henry Vars—whose tender 1934 song Miłość Ci wszystko wybaczy [Love forgives all] is still cherished among the Poles everywhere, that elicited the warmest applause from the assembled audience. It was followed by Wars’s Over and Over and Over, another highly successful tune that sold over half million LP albums in the early 1950s, which closed the Trio’s Constitution Day music program.

However, as soon as it became clear that the delighted audience wanted to hear more music, Tina, Darek and Jeremy instantly sprang into action with a charming delivery of another Wars super-hit, Ach! Jak przyjemnie… [Gee! It’s so nice…] from the 1938 film Zapomniana melodia [The forgotten melody]. Thunderous applause forced the performers for a few more curtain calls and elicited one more encore, a Chopin nocturne that sent the crowds singing and dancing well into the night.