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219.852.4222; fax 219.852.4220
Contact: Phylis Mamula
219.932.2000

August 16, 2004
For Immediate Release

News Release

Accomplished Musician Mark Kruczek to
Receive Hammond Achievement Award

Hammond… Mark Kruczek, former Robertsdale resident and current Music Director, Choir Master, and Organist for St. Joan of Arc Church in New York City, will accept the Hammond Achievement Award from Hammond’s Rotary Club and Historical Society during a recognition dinner on October 8.

Kruczek’s musical career began when he played the organ at St. John the Baptist Grade School and Church. At age 13, he enrolled in the pre-college division of DePaul University. Piano and organ lessons there prepared him for studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Kruczek earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music at the Juilliard School in New York City.

His reputation in the music world is far-reaching. Kruczek’s accomplishments include serving as pianist for master classes taught by a number of well-known musicians and conductors. He has performed several critically acclaimed concerts, among them Durufle’s Messe Cum Jubilo and the Requiem at Riverside and Ascension Churches in New York City. Selections from these concerts were included in The Durufle Album by Voices of Ascension, named in The New York Times “Ten Best of 1996.”

His most recent work can be heard in “Hear My Prayer,” a new recording of Voices of Ascension, released by Delos International in 2004. Nationally prominent critics have praised Kruczek’s accompaniment of Metropolitan Opera star Hei Kyung Hong.

Kruczek has not forgotten his region roots and still serves as Artistic Director and Conductor for Chorus Angelorum, the Whiting/Robertsdale-based group he founded in 1985. He returns several times a year to prepare for the annual concert, performed free to the public in the 850-seat Cathedral of Holy Angels Church in Gary. Chorus Angelorum’s repertoire ranges from the Renaissance through current works.

This year’s concert will take place on Friday, October 15, and features a professional orchestra, chorus, and soloists. Mozart’s Requiem will be featured. Information about this performance is available by calling the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce.

The 1971 Clark High School graduate has fond memories of his experiences and mentors as a child and teen. “I was fortunate to have so much exposure to several arts and music disciplines,” Kruczek said during a phone interview. “I learned to play piano and organ and credit my piano teacher, Magdalene Manchak with my success. Darryl Church, my high school mentor, had five choirs going during the school year. And, my experience with the Marion Theater Guild launched me into coaching opera,” he said.

The Hammond Achievement Award began in 1980 as a joint project of the Hammond Historical Society and the Hammond Rotary Club. This prestigious award recognizes people from Hammond who have achieved national or international distinction in business and industry, art, or science.

This award was reinstated in 2003 after a 10-year hiatus. “The Hammond Achievement Award was always a popular event,” said Phylis Mamula, Rotarian and event organizer. “We’re proud to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Hammond natives,” she added.

The dinner and award ceremony will take place on Friday, October 8 at Dynasty Banquets, 4125 Calumet Avenue, Hammond. Tickets for the dinner are $30. Call 219.932.2000 for reservations.

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Past Hammond Achievement Award Recipients

Irv Cross (1980)
Jean Shepherd (1981)
Dean Mitchell (1982)
Luther Swygert (1983)
Dr. Henry Cleveland (1984)
Jules Power (1985)
Charles Tinkham (1986)
Carolyn Buster (1987)
Dr. Hedwig Kuhn (posthumous) (1987)
Delbert Staley (1988)
William Bachman (1989)
John Muri (1990)
Richard Combs (1991)
Claude Mayberry, Jr. (1992)
James Richards (1993)
Carolyn Curiel (2003)