Bandurist Capella Concert of Cossack Songs
The Canadian Bandurist Capella has just
completed its most ambitious and productive season in its eight-year history
with its December 13th performance, titled, “Concert of Cossack
Songs.” This unique musical event was co-sponsored with the League of Ukrainian
Canadians and was dedicated in memory of the 300th anniversary of
the death of Ivan Mazepa and the 350th anniversary of the Battle of
Konotop where the Cossack-led forces of Ivan Vyhowsky defeated the army of the
Tsar of Muscovy. The audience of some 450 applauded roundly and showed their
appreciation with several standing ovations interspersed throughout the
performance at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Toronto..
The Capella was formed in June
2001 and is composed of some 15 bandurists and 35 choristers. Members of the
ensemble hail primary from the Toronto
region, but there are also a number from Hamilton
and St. Catharines, Ontario. Their age span ranges from 13-84. Also of
interest is the fact that, since its inception, the Capella has had some 10
father-and-son duos within its ranks. Since 2001, it has given more than 80
performances throughout North America.
Its array of songs is broad and includes epic Cossack, humourous, comic, religious,
carols and schedrivky, traditional folk and classical songs. The Capella’s artistic team consists of Dr.
Victor Mishalow, Andriy Dmytrovych and Yuri Petlura. Collectively, they apply their individual
talents and specialization, which contributes significantly to the overall
progress and development of the Capella and its performances.
In keeping with the
Capella’s name, the new banduras used by the ensemble’s members now are
exclusively built in Canada,
in Whitby, Ontario,
by the renowned artisan, Canadian-born Vasyl (Bill) Vetzal, who hails from the
Dauphin region of central Manitoba.
The bandura is now not only a “Ukrainian” instrument, but a “Canadian” one as
well. The Capella, through Dr. Mishalow,
helped design and fund the prototype-making of these unique fibreglass
instruments. There is now much interest
for these instruments.
During its eight years of
existence, the Capella has produced two compact disc recordings. The latest
one, “Play Kobzar” features the internationally renowned bass baritone
Pavlo Hunka who embellishes the CD by singing four solos with the ensemble.
Early in 2010, the Capella will be recording its third disc, titled “The Word
of Taras.” (Slovo Tarasa). The
first CD named simply Canadian Bandurist Capella is a compilation of 14
Besides the most recent
concert, the Capella had the honour to perform at the St. Andrew’s Ukrainian
Orthodox Church Cultural Centre in Bloomingdale, Illinois (a
suburb of Chicago)
on October 24, 2009. The Capella’s performance was an integral
part of this parish’s celebration of the visit by the primate of the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate – his Holiness Patriarch of Kyiv and all of
Rus-Ukraine. During his weekend stay, Patriarch Filaret blessed the newly
created mosaic, titled “All Saints of Ukraine,” above the entrance to this
magnificent church. Here, too, the
Capella was enthusiastically greeted by a passionate audience and received
several standing ovations during the performance.
(The Word of Taras) was another themed concert presented by the Capella on
three consecutive weekends starting on March 22, 2009 in Oshawa, St.
Catharines and Toronto.
This moving production consists of 18 poems of Taras Shevchenko put to music by
a wide variety of composers. During the
performance, the narration of Yuri Kelebay and Petro Hrynyshyn united musical
gems, based on the words of Shevchenko’s poems, into a moving and powerful
message that still has meaning for Ukrainians today.
was first arranged by Danylo Pieka for the Kyiv National Capella in 1939 and
performed in the same year in Kyiv. It was not until the late 1950s that it was
performed again by the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus from Detroit.
This was the Capella that originated in Ukraine
and settled in the United
States in the late 1940s.
The Canadian Bandurist
Capella also found time in its busy schedule to perform at several other
Ukrainian Canadian events in 2009. In
October, the Capella had the honour to appear at the 20th
anniversary marking the consecration of Archbishop Yurij – the Ukrainian
Orthodox Bishop of Toronto
and Eastern Eparchy – who is also a staunch supporter of the ensemble. Another
notable performance was at the 75th Anniversary Gala of the
Ukrainian National Youth Federation, the youth wing of the Ukrainian National
Federation of Canada (UNF) and one of our major benefactors, as well as, at the
traditional Ivana Kupalo summer celebrations at UNF Camp Sokil in
Hawkestone, Ont. on Lake Simcoe.
Finally, the Capella’s bandura players, which are some of the most talented in North
America, appeared at the opening of the Mysteries
of Ancient Ukraine: The Remarkable Trypilian Culture exhibit
at the Royal Ontario Museum
and later at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival in September, where they delighted
thousands of attendees of the annual street festival with their enchanting
Early indications are that
the 2010 season will be equally productive for the Canadian Bandurist Capella,
as they are currently working on their new themed project Kozatska Slava.
The Capella is always
seeking young interested talent to help diversify, enhance and enrich our
current membership. For further
information about the Capella, including how to obtain copies of their CDs,
auditions etc/, please visit their website at www.banduristy.com or email
firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Stepan Dacko, 4433
Sedgfield Rd., Mississauga, Ontario, L5M