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The History of The Staklo Foundation

The history of the Staklo Foundation is intertwined with that of the Staklo Brothers, and the two can not be separated.

There are three brothers. Basil is the youngest, Boris is the oldest, and Bohuslav is the one in the middle.  They grew up on a farm located somewhere in Eastern Europe.  Wars and other political factors found their tiny farm and local village under a series of governments and flags.  Things such as politics didn't matter much to the Staklo family.  Their only concern was to whom to pay the taxes and whether there was a regular supply of the thick, syrupy coffee that the area favored.  Of course, the farm was always on their mind as it was the only livelihood that the family had to keep them in food and coffee.

The parents were poor, making ends meet--just barely, but with a dream that their children would escape the farm through education. The only place within 50 miles of the farm that offered any type of quality schooling was the Monastery of the Fathers of St. Dominick Cornelius. Both Nuns and Priests lived harmoniously at the monastery complex, along with approximately 30 pupils who came from the neighboring countryside. The monastery's main purpose was the devotion of the Faith of Jesus as announced by the Catholic Church and the Pope, bathed as he was in his infallibility. As an expression of their faith through the command found in the text of the will of the late St. Dominick (now kept in the archives of the Cathedral at Krakow), the Fathers established the monastery school to teach the uneducated so they could go forward and use their talents to make the world a better place. St. Dominick felt that if the students were educated to emulate Christ, then only good could come of it as they made their way into the world .

It was in this environment that the Staklo children took their place among the other pupils. This entailed the first separation from their parents. Up until this time, the Staklo brothers' awareness of the world around them was formulated in the near isolation of their farm, subject only to the influence of their parents, Aloysius and Marta Staklo, and their parish priest, Fr. Alban Markov. Aloysius taught them to endure hard work without complaining. The farm required the backs of everyone available if they were going to be able to eke out a living.  The struggle to survive left no room for anyone to argue about their lot in life.

Marta taught them to be sensitive and brought out their artistic side.  Marta love music and her one treasure was a small phonograph that was handed down to her from her parents.  After the daily work in the fields and in the barn, and after the kitchen had been cleaned from the evening meal, she would sit in her rocking chair, her children quietly surrounding her as they sat on the floor, listening to records in a contented wonderment.  Orchestral music from Bavaria, the sounds of bombs exploding from Berlin, sermons from itinerant preachers from Budapest, all played while the radio was tuned to news and military music from Moscow.  Marta, as it turns out, was hard of hearing, and one record sounded like any other to her.  However, she was too proud to let her family know, especially her children.  So she sat there with them, playing record after record, not realizing that the best in recorded sound that they could enjoy were old sound effects records, the occasional German opera, and recordings of sermons that they found in the discard bins at the Army of Charity collection centers.  To Marta it was all wonderful, even if she couldn't hear a scrap of it.  To the Staklo brothers it was a source of wonderment and amazement, and their mother encouraged them to appreciate the artistry of the performances on these fragile relics made of shellac.  The brothers agreed that there was truly something noble in the sound of another artillery hit on the Reichstag mixed with the broadcast of a cattle auction in Latvia, and the gentle sounds of their own farm animals as they germinated into new offspring.  On cold winter nights with the wind and the snow beating against the house shutters, she would say to them "Listen! You can hear the demons of hell trying to get into the house."  Aloysius would always say "Foolish woman, it's only the snow carried by the east wind."  But the brothers knew that the wind was more than wind, and the snow was more than snow.  It was these kinds of experiences that would kindle their fierce desire to make the same kind of music they heard at the feet of their mother.

Father Markov, although a simple man himself, taught them that it was ok to live their dreams.  In his own unique way he showed them that art and morality can vary with one's desires and still be reconciled in a scheme of faith. By his own example he taught them that life isn't always pretty, but that faith, and, when necessary, a little spit would see them through the rough spots.

As they entered maturity, and with their parents' life savings in their hands, the three boys went into different Universities. Basil attended the University of Prague; Bohuslav went to the Kiev Institute for Applied Mathematics; Boris attended the University of Texas at Austin. They each studied different aspects of the arts - painting, sculpting, and java scripting.  

Years later, reunited in Krakow, they began to recreate the sounds of their childhood while sitting in the famous Krakow coffee houses.  They would give performances while the local intellectuals would mutter under their breath.  It was in a place such s this that they were discovered by Colonel Thaddeus Wojoczowski who signed them to a long term contract with the Colonel acting as their agent.  Under the management of the Colonel, they toured the great cities of Europe, with stops in such places at Lodz, Archangel, Volgograd, and Chernobyl.  These performances helped hone the Staklo style and were well received by the audiences lucky enough to catch these seminal performances.  The brothers displayed a rare combination of influences:  their early upbringing and the values they received from their parents, the education they received from the Church, and the more worldly education they received at the various Universities, not to mention the wider cultural influences in these disparate locations.

To Be Continued...

©2004 The Staklo Foundation