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Kiwanis Music Festival Resounds with Bandura

May 15, 2018 | Featured

John Pidkowich for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

At the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, held February 20 – March 3, 2018, Bandura Solo Classes provided an environment for young participants to succeed at the difficult challenge of performing Ukrainian music arranged or composed for the bandura, the Ukrainian national instrument. These bandurists were evalauted by festival adjudicator Brent Crawford at St. Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church in Etobicoke on February 27, 2018.

Brent Crawford is a Toronto native and trained in classical guitar, winner of Canadian guitar competitions, as well as a performer at international guitar festivals. He is a featured soloist with the University of Toronto Guitar Orchestra. His current research at U of T is concerned with promoting excellence in classical guitar performance.

The following talented participants of the Festival Bandura Solo Classes excelled in their performance and earned adjudicated high marks for their silver or gold awards: 17 & Under – Aleksa Gobosz, Alisa Osavelyuk, and Michael Panczenko; 15 & Under – Daria Szwedyk; and 13 & Under – Marian Shved, Solomia Shevchuk, and Daria Sulipka. In his adjudication, Mr. Crawford looked for the player’s ability to secure a strong opening, establish good rhythm, choice of tempo speeds and make clean dynamic changes between music sections. He was particularly interested in the separation (and impressed with the articulation) of played bandura chords for clarity and effectiveness.

Most of these bandurists also participated in the Marta Krawciw-Barabash Ukrainian Music Festival last December. They won UMF awards as solo performers (Michael Panczenko and Alisa Osavelyuk) or in the Vira Zelinska Youth Bandurist Capella “Zoloti Struny”. Their attachment to the bandura is supported by parents, and nutured by introduction and/or development through their teacher Oksana Zelinska-Shevchuk, who is also the artistic director of “Zoloti Struny”. Further appreciation for the Kobzar bandurist tradition as a musical art form is shown by Michael Panczenko joining the Canadian Bandurist Capella this 2017-2018 performance season.

Bravo and well-deserved congratulations to these young musicians who prepared for their festival performances during a busy regular school year that included bandura and other lessons, concert performances and extra-curricular activities.

In support of teaching the bandura and its playing for performances to a broad, larger audience, the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival Bandura Classes are funded in part by the generous support of a Festival endowment from the Olzhych Foundation in Canada, and individuals sponsoring awards.

For over 75 years, the Kiwanis Music (and Dance) Festival sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of Greater Toronto has provided young musicians the opportunity to enrich their training in music. Festival alumni have made a great impact on the arts in Canada and many more participants know how important the Festival experience can be as an introduction to a better appreciation of music, dramatic arts, and dance performance.

For more information about the Kiwanis Music (and Dance) Festival of Greater Toronto, visit For more information on “Zoloti Struny”, go on Facebook: Vira Zelinska Ukrainian Youth Bandura Capella “Zoloti Struny”

Attend Summer Bandura Camps!

Novices and amateurs who enjoy learning to play the bandura have the opportunity to sign up for summer camps and perform in a final concert to share newly acquired playing skills.

• ODUM Bandura Camp program runs half days from July 8th to 15 as part of the three week ODUM Summer Camp. Instructors are from the Ukrainian Bandurist Capella and Canadian Bandurist Capella. For children up to 18 years of age. Oselia Ukraina, near London Ont. Contact information: visit or email [email protected] or call 905-302-3330 (Can.), 773-307-7370 (US).

• Litnia Zustrich Bandura Camp runs daily from August 19th to 26th and co-organized by the Canadian Bandurist Capella, Zoloti Struny, and the Toronto Bandura School. For all ages (8 years and up). UNF Camp Sokil, at Hawkestone, Ont. Scholarships available. Contact: email [email protected] or call Oksana Zelinska-Shevchuk at 416-509-4359, Oleksander Petlura at 905-973-6468. Please register by July 1, 2018.

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