Fundraiser for Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America" (UBC)
On Sunday, April 29th, we attended a fundraiser on behalf of the the "Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America" (UBC) that took place in the Grand Hall at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Parma.
During lunch, we shared a table with Mr. Euripides "Rip" Kastaris, a multi-faceted artist from St. Louis, MO who is here creating new iconography for St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral not far away from where we were at St. Vladimir's. Mr. Kastaris also designed an icon for the UBC to take with them as they travel and he was acknowledged for this during the course of the program.
Even though the UCB (see http://bandura.org/)has been based in the United States since 1949, its roots go back to its founding in Ukraine in 1918. Therefore, the concert that we attended on the 29th was actually part of the UCB's Centennial tour.
Before the musical performance, we went backstage and talked several people involved with the UCB who told us that what we would see and hear on this day would involve the talents of people from such places as Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, Reno, San Jose, Edmondton, and Winnipeg. All told there were 40 chorus members and 13 instrumentalists all playing banduras which Wikipedia defines as "a Ukrainian, plucked string, folk instrument. (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandura)
From the program notes, we learned that a bandura "unifies acoustic principles of both the lute and the harp. This produces a sound that is emphatic and gentle, resembling that of a harpsichord, but with a wider range of dynamics and control."
We got to talk to Mr. Anatoli Murha, the President of the UCB, who told us that the immediate goal is to raise the necessary funding (which is going quite well) in order to to provide for:
***"Guardianship" which is best explained by a passage in the program notes that reads, "to carry on a legacy, we need to inspire future generations and develop new audiences. Therefore, we plan to engage and and retain the best and most passionate musicians, vocalists, and ambassadors."
***"Bandura Project" which involves the need to construct a bandura that is more technologically up-to-date because in its current form (consisting of 250 parts) it is very difficult to maintain. Once this is done, these innovative, high quality banduras must be produced in impressive numbers in order to give awaiting musicians the opportunity to learn to play them.
***"Education" or cultural exhanges wherein bandura artists in the United States can journey to the Ukraine to work and learn from the bandura artists there and vice versa.
The concert itself was performed entirely in Ukrainian but any language barrier was transcended by qualities that can only be described as symphonic; and because the work of the instrumentalists and the chorus blended together seamlessly.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC