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Jimmy Sturr headlines Syracuse Polish fest

The Post-Standard

By Mark Bialczak

Staff writer

The Syracuse Polish Festival, June 9 to 11 at Clinton Square, has landed arguably the biggest name in Polish music for its 52nd edition.

The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra will play virtually through Saturday night of the event, with four sets starting at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:40 p.m.

“This is the most expensive entertainment ever, because of the 15-time Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr,” fest director Tad Szyszka said Monday during a news conference to announce the full lineup. Szyszka said it with a big smile because Sturr and his orchestra are known to draw big crowds at music festivals throughout the Northeast.

Szyszka also said he’s happy about the diversity of this year’s lineup.

“We have five Polish bands, but we also have pop music and dancers,” he said. “We have Anya, a 19-year-old, on what I’m calling the crossing-of-generations Saturday, with Jimmy Sturr. We have 25 hours of entertainment nonstop.”

Sturr, who comes from the town of Florida, Orange County, has led his orchestra on 106 recordings. The latest of his 15 Grammy Awards came this year for his 2005 disc “Shake, Rattle and Polka!”

Performing with Sturr’s orchestra for some Polish-language songs will be Syracuse native Arlene Crissan.

Teenager Anya was born in Glogow, Poland, and has been working to become a professional singer since she was 4 years old. Her debut CD, filled with songs she wrote, is titled “Meltdown.” This tour comes during the summer break after her freshman year at the University of Connecticut.

Also representing modern Polish music is Alizma, a trio of 22-year-old triplets (Aleksandra, Izabela and Monika Okapiec), who were born in Poland and lived there for 16 years. They first came to the United States as exchange students, and after going back home, returned for their senior year in high school. They specialize in vocals and string music.

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