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  • Mykola Murskyj

UBC Membership Meeting 2020

Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus holds membership meeting; elects new Executive Board

DETROIT—The Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America held a virtual membership meeting on Saturday, September 12, 2020, where it reviewed its operations over the last 18 months and elected a new Executive Board. Outgoing President Anatoli Murha recapped how the ensemble presented its Centennial Concert Series throughout North America in 2019. He also reviewed new initiatives, including the upcoming release of the Legacy Recording Series – the reissue of previously-released albums dating back to 1950. Additionally, Mr. Murha presented the UBC’s programming plans and objectives for the next two concert seasons, reviewed the UBC’s pivot to virtual operations during COVID-19, and announced a new website.

The membership elected Wolodymyr Babicky of Canada as its new President. He has previously served on the UBC Executive Board and has had a long-time association and involvement with bandura educational programs, specially with the Bandura Camp in London, Ontario, and with Kobzarska Sich Bandura Camp in Emlenton, Pennsylvania. He has been a member of the UBC for 17 years. As a UBC board member and as an instrumentalist performing in the front row, he has seen first-hand what makes the UBC a unique musical ensemble.

Mr. Babicky has long been an active member of the Ukrainian diaspora community. He was a founding member and past board member of the Canadian Bandurist Capella, as well as a board member of the Ukrainian Youth Ensembles in Mississauga, Ontario. His background also extends to outside the Ukrainian community, where he was Executive Vice President of the Niagara College Student Administrative Council. Wolodymyr holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History as well as a Master of Science in Education. He has experience teaching in the private and public education sectors, currently working for the Niagara Catholic District School Board. He lives in Burlington, Ontario, with his wife, Natalia, and newborn daughter, Victoria.

Mr. Babicky is excited to leverage these experiences with community and youth institutions to build an even stronger bond with the community, and to increase youth involvement in the UBC.

“I am grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to take on this responsibility,” says incoming President, Wolodymyr Babicky. “The strategic foundation that Anatoli has built with the UBC@100 Legacy initiative will continue to guide the ensemble. I look forward to facilitating new programs within the main initiatives of UBC@100, while also developing a new campaign to continue recruiting top-notch vocalists and bandura players.”

The musicians of the UBC took time during the meeting to thank Mr. Murha for his 20 years of service as President. In 2019, Mr. Murha informed the ensemble that he would serve a shorter term in order to identify new leaders and to focus on succession planning. As he thanked the ensemble for their trust and support, he shared that he was delighted to see that the institutional culture of the UBC embraced moving from a short-term, day-to-day or season-to-season operating plan to the development of a strategic plan. By thinking about the short- and long-term jointly, the UBC’s programs can better align with the core objectives of the ensemble: educational outreach, construction of new instruments, development of new audiences and supporters, and opportunities for continuing artistic development for our musicians.

“The last 20 years have been extremely rewarding, and I am proud to see where the ensemble is today with new leadership,” Mr. Murha said. “This is how leadership transitions should work. I look forward to continuing to serve the organization as its Treasurer, focusing on cultivating new donors and providing stewardship to our long-time supporters. My primary role, in addition to supporting Wolodymyr, will be to continue building the framework for financial sustainability and to meet the goals of UBC@100.” In his report, Mr. Murha noted the close and respectful working relationship with the UBC Artistic Director and Conductor as an example of the unifying power of a shared mission. Murha joked with the musicians that he was happy to be able to pass the baton of leadership at age 42 instead of 92. At the end of his remarks, Anatoli also thanked all the musicians and past Executive Board members for their contributions.

The new Executive Board of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus begins its term on October 1, 2020.

  • President — Wolodymyr Babicky (Toronto)

  • 1st VP — Bohdan Pryjma (Detroit)

  • 2nd VP — Danylo Smolilo (Chicago)

  • Secretary — Theodore Bodnar (New York)

  • Treasurer — Anatoli Murha (Philadelphia)

  • Starosta — Joe Kolodka (Cleveland)

  • Archivist — Mykola Murskyj (Washington, D.C.)

  • East Coast filia representative — Stephen Zaets (Hartford)

  • Eastern Canada filia representative — Wolodymyr Brechun (Toronto)

  • Detroit filia representative — Peter Wroblewski (Detroit)

  • Cleveland filia representative — Nazar Kalivoshko (Cleveland)

  • West USA filia representative — Michael Kostkowskyj (San Francisco)

  • West Canada filia representative — Andrij Hladyshevsky (Edmonton)

  • Syracuse filia representative — Vasyl Troyanovych (Syracuse)

  • Member At Large — Wolodymyr Murha (Detroit)

  • Member At Large — Ray Beley (Toronto)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no concerts and other public events will be held during the 2020–2021 Season. Nonetheless, the UBC will be announcing virtual events throughout the year. Next season, the ensemble will work with the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) on a series of concerts in Fall 2021 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lesia Ukrayinka’s birth. The concert series would be presented in Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Additionally, the UBC will be presenting a concert at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., on September 25, 2021.

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