Meet Dibrova Ukrainian Folk Ensemble from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Members of the Dibrova Ukrainian Folk Ensemble

Stan Hawryliw for New Pathway – Ukrainian News, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The Dibrova Folk Choir had its beginnings shortly after a Ukrainian Senior Club was organized at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in the early 1970’s. Because there were a number of members who wanted to get together and sing for enjoyment, Nick Dorosh was persuaded to direct the group. They sang for enjoyment for a few years.

In 1978, when Michael S. Hawryliw took over, the choir took on a different direction. Under his leadership, the choir’s repertoire increased to well over a hundred folk songs, carols and religious songs. They performed in Senior and nursing homes in Saskatoon. Mandolins were added in 1981 and they called themselves the Dibrova Senior Choir. At that time, they had only mandolin accompaniment. Over the years, as mandolin players passed away, and had no replacements, the accompaniment today is one mandolin, an accordion, a ukulele and a dulcimer.

In 1995 the choir, under the direction of Stanyslaw M. Hawryliw, was renamed the Dibrova Ukrainian Folk Ensemble. Over its 38 years in existence, the choir has performed at many functions at the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Orthodox Church of All Saints, at UOCC 100th Anniversary celebrations last summer, at the Saskatoon Ukrainian Arts Festivals, at Senior Citizen’s and Nursing homes in and around Saskatoon, Concerts in Regina, Prince Albert, Yorkton, North Battleford, at many Shevchenko concerts, the Ukrainian Museums in Saskatoon, Festival of Trees, Ukraine Day in the Park, Shevchenko Foundation Fundraiser, at Vesna Festival, and by special invitation, at the Centre of the Arts in Regina (for a Senior Fun Day). The choir enjoys entertaining in concert, and for anniversary and birthday parties.

To this day, the choir remains true to its vision of expressing its love for folk singing, promoting Ukrainian culture and simply enjoying singing together. The choir’s hope is that Ukrainian folksongs of the past and present will continue to live into the future.

The Dibrova Ukrainian Folk Ensemble will be presenting carol concerts in January, 2020. The first on Sunday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m., Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Lower Level, 89 Bradbrooke Drive, Yorkton, SK. The second will be on Thursday, January 30 at 2:30 p.m. at Selo Gardens, 1110 McNiven Avenue in Regina, SK. Everyone is invited to attend any one or both of these concerts.

Dibrova has produced three compact disks which are available from any of its members, or at the Ukrainian Museums in Saskatoon. They include:

Favorite Ukrainian Folksongs. 2004

Ой в Полі Калина (In the Field Grows a Cranberry Bush) 2015 – Folksongs

Христос Наш Спаситель Народився (Jesus Christ, Our Saviour is Born) 2018 – Christmas and New Year’s carols

The choir rehearses each Wednesday afternoon from 1 – 2:30 p.m., followed by a light lunch and fellowship, at the Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium, 919 – 20th Street West, in Saskatoon, SK. Membership is open to anyone having an interest in singing Ukrainian Folk music. New members are accepted at any time, year-round. An ability to read Ukrainian is not a necessity. For more information contact Stan Hawryliw at (306) 652-3178 or pa.st@sasktel.net

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