Józef Uroda (1901-1956), today entirely forgotten, was an organist at the Transfiguration church in Buczkowice near Szczyrk from 1925 to 1942. At that time he was a significant figure in the cultural and artistic life of his village. He was engaged in many kinds of activities: he conducted the parish choir, collected and noted down religious songs, composed musical pieces, wrote poetry, theatrical plays, and translated from foreign languages. An ardent lover of literature and theater, he set up a theater group, which embraced young and older people, with whom he staged some plays (Mazepa by Juliusz Słowacki, Zemsta [The Revenge] by Aleksander Fredro, Chata za wsi [The Cottage behind the Village] by Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, or Zemsta Cygana [Gypsy’s Revenge] by Seweryn Goszczyski). He was also active in his community, taking part in the local cultural and educational undertakings. He cooperated with OMTUR [Youth Organization of the Workers’ University Association]), sat on the Board of the Buczkowice section of the People’s School Society, and he was a member of the Polish Gymnastics Association “Sokół” [Falcon]. During the German Nazi occupation he was imprisoned in the concentration camp Polenlager 92 in Kietrz for two years. He died in Buczkowice in 1956.
In the musical collections left by J. Uroda, there is his manuscript collection of Marian songs of 1936, titled Ave Maria! Najwikszy zbiór pieśni religijnych do N. Maryi Panny [Ave Maria. The Largest collection of religious songs to Virgin Mary]. This is a large song collection containing as many as 343 Marian songs. It should be added that the collection was not completed, it had been planned to contain 420 songs. The Marian repertory collected by Uroda is impressive because of its vastness and diversity. The songs are intended for the Feasts of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, Espousal of Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, Purification of Virgin Mary, the Annunciation, Virgin Mary of Perpetual Help, Virgin Mary Assisting the Faithful, Virgin Mary the Gracious, Visitation by Virgin Mary, Virgin Mary Refuge of the Sinners, Our Lady of the Scapular, Our Lady of the Angels, Our Lady of Snows, the Assumption, Our Lady of Czstochowa, Our Lady of Consolation, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of La Salette, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady the Merciful, and the Feast of Oblation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many songs are written for Marian months - May and October. A large set of songs consists of pilgrim songs, sometimes associated with a specific sanctuary or place (“To Our Lady of Gidle near Czstochowa”, “On Virgin Mary in the Floriaska Gate in Krakow”, ”To Our Lady at Piasek in Krakow”, “To Our Lady of Piekary”). Uroda chose this repertory mainly from published songbooks and collections containing organ accompaniments to songs - mostly from the collections of Ryszard Gillar and Tomasz Flasza, moreover, from those of Rev. Michał Marcin Mioduszewski, Rev. Franciszek Walczyski, Rev. Jan Siedlecki, Rev. Józef Surzyski, Teofil Klonowski, and Rev. Emilian Schindler.
From the cognitive point of view it is most important that Józef Uroda’s Marian collection contains over twenty previously unknown songs, which enrich the Polish Marian repertory and shed additional light on it, especially with regard to Poland’s southern regions. These are both previously unknown melodies and song texts and Polish contrafacta of German songs. Among these unidentified and previously unknown items there are six songs authored by Józef Uroda: his three compositions - Do Marii pospieszajmy [Let us hurry to Virgin Mary] Dzwoneczku nasz miły [Our lovely bell] and Tam, gdzie cudowny [Where the miraculous… ]); and his three contrafacta of German songs - Jak wiosny kwiat [Like a spring flower] (for an unidentifi ed German tune), Mario! maja Królowo [Mary, the Queen of May] (for the song melody of Maria, Maienkönigin) and Żródło łaski, witaj nam [Be greeted, the Source of Grace] (for the song melody of Gnadenquelle, sei gegrüsst).