In his weekly radio programme “Zaraz Będzie Ciemno” [Eng. “It’s about to get dark”] aired on Antyradio, Jurek Owsiak announced another band who will play during the Grand Finale concert at the Plac Bankowy (the Bank Square) – Kashell!
It's been 30 years since the 1st Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity!
That’s amazing that the 31st Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is just around the corner! This year the event will be held under the slogan “Live healthy in a healthy world” during which we want to win against sepsis! While preparing for the next Grand Finale, we look back and recall the beginnings of the GOCC Finales.
It all started on January 3, 1993!
The idea for the Grand Finales of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, which has become a permanent part of the landscape of the Polish winter season, was created during Jurek Owsiak's TV program “Róbta co chceta, czyli rock'n'rollowa jazda bez trzymanki” [Eng. “Dae what yer want, rock'n'roll rollercoaster”]. The first Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity was organized in response to the medical devices' shortage in the Warsaw children’s hospital – Centrum Zdrowia Dziecka.
The event gained the patronage of Polish public TV broadcaster – Telewizja Polska, which reported the whole event live on air. It was in the TVP studio, at Woronicza Street in Warsaw, where Jurek Owsiak, Agata Młynarska and Walter Chełstowski hosted the first Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. The whole organization of the event was supported by groups of volunteers, Polish scouts and people of good heart.
The goal of the 1st Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity was to help in the treatment of heart diseases of the youngest patients. During the event, the amount of PLN 3,773,443.38 was collected (over 37 billion Old Polish Zlotys).
Thanks to the funds collected during the 1st Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, the Foundation managed to purchase:
- Heart Monitors
- Syringe pumps
- Pulse oximeters
On March 2, 1993, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation was registered. Its founders are Jerzy Owsiak, Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak, Bohdan Maruszewski, Piotr Burczyński, Paweł Januszewicz, Walter Chełstowski, Beata Bethke.
Since then, the Foundation has supported many different fields of medicine, i.a. pediatric oncology, neonatology, orthopaedics, traumatology, psychiatry and geriatrics. Since its beginnings, the GOCC has collected over PLN 1.75 billion to support Polish medicine and purchased nearly 70,000 devices. From the very beginning, the Foundation of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity has been an initiative based on trust, which is why it is so essential for the GOCC to present agreements and provide detailed information on how the charity spends funds obtained from the society. The key element of our work is the way of purchasing medical devices – the Foundation buys medical devices through Open Tenders, which guarantees the selection of the best devices. We consider contracts to be completed only when the devices are installed in medical facilities and the staff is trained. It is also worth remembering that the GOCC often buys the most modern equipment, which requires not only staff training but also preparation of the medical facilities.
In addition to purchasing medical equipment, which is the implementation of the objectives of the Grand Finale, the GOCC runs year-round medical programmes. A list of all medical and educational programmes run by the GOCC Foundation can be found here!
During the first Grand Finales of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, donations were collected only using traditional methods, and instead of identical cardboard collection boxes, volunteers collected money with various types of containers and bags.
The 31st Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is just around the corner! For years, we have been improving the available forms of electronic payments to make supporting the Grand Finale and our other actions accessible and simple. In addition to joining one of the International Collection Centres and raising money as a regular volunteer, there are other forms of helping and supporting the goal of the 31st Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. If you want to join our fight against sepsis, you can use various electronic forms available straight away:
- Facebook fundraiser
- Support via text message: SERCE to the number 75 565 (the cost is PLN 5 net or PLN 6.15 with VAT)
- Deposit on our website wosp.org.pl
All the best to those who play with our Orchestra. And all the best to those who do not, because our Orchestra plays for all – without exceptions!
The 31st Grand Finale is not just about local events or the main concert in Warsaw! Each year we do our best to make it possible for everyone to join our Orchestra from every corner of the Earth!