Last month, on a Sunday afternoon (Mar. 26, 2017) at the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg, a trembita came to life in the balcony of the Hall.
The call of this alpine horn made of wood brought more than 60 people together to participate in “The Joy of Singing”, an event sponsored by the Festival Choir of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians.
The afternoon started with a professional voice warm-up by choir director Lina Streltsov accompanied by Anna Khomenko on the piano.
The audience and the choir members had the music sheets and transliteration on their chairs so even if they couldn’t read Ukrainian or Russian they could sing, hum or just lah, lah lah to the music.
Other musical accompaniment was provided by Annis Kozub on violin, accordionist Nancy Grodzik, and Brent Stearns on guitar.
The repertoire started with “Katusha” a Russian folk song, followed by a Ukrainian folk song “Misyats Na Nebi”(Moon In the Sky). Each song was rehearsed two or three times with half the group singing the alto and baritone parts and the other half singing soprano and tenor parts.
During the refreshment break provided by the choir there was a lot of reminiscing among old and new friends.
Following the break, two English folk songs, “The Strangest Dream” and “Four Strong Winds”, were sung.
The beautiful song “Dark Eyes” (Ochi Chornye ) was sung by soloist Walter Mirosh with the newly formed choir joining in the chorus.
Following this we were treated to a medley of favorite songs by Annis, Nancy, Brent and Anna.
Ilena Zaramba and Nancy Kardash harmonized beautifully to the song “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream”.
Ilena’s friend Kiva Simova sang and played the piano to an interesting method of singing called overtoning.
At the side of the hall was a display of musical instruments and artifacts of Ukrainian and Russian origin.
These included a trembita, bandura, mandolin, balalika, bayan, harmoshka, sopilka, buben, tambourine and loshkie.
The bayan, from 1920, belonged to Afanasy (Fred) Mirosh who played the instrument by ear. Also on display were two samovars in brilliant brass and silver.
To close the afternoon the Festival Choir sang a selection from their recently released CD one of their favorite songs “Susidko Cycідка” (Neighbour).
As people were preparing to go home they were thrown Horachi Bublitschki as a bonus for a job well done.
Everyone left for home feeling great, as “The Joy Of Singing” was accomplished!