PHILADELPHIA – As organizations and businesses find new ways to work during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place directives, the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America (UBC) has adapted as well. In order to stay in practice, the UBC has used G-Suite for Nonprofits to hold virtual streaming rehearsals (VSRs).
“Our 50 musicians are located throughout 10 states and three Canadian provinces,” says UBC President Anatoli Murha. “Earlier this year, our project manager, Danylo Smolilo, registered the UBC for Google’s G-Suite business management solutions for non-profit organizations. The UBC executive board knew that the organization needed a more efficient way to communicate, collaborate and share information. What we didn’t know at the time was how important G-Suite’s video conferencing feature would be during this time to bring our musicians together for rehearsals.”
The UBC outlined and tested its VSR structure before implementing it across the ensemble during the week of April 20.
UBC Artistic Director Oleh Mahlay shares the following: “While we were scheduled to meet for an in-person two-day rehearsal in mid-March, we assessed the situation and promptly cancelled that session as we prioritized the safety of our musicians and their families. Fortunately, we were able to work quickly to implement a supplemental online rehearsal structure through our VSRs that we will also be able to use both in the short term and in the long term to be more fiscally responsible and ease the time and travel sacrifices our musicians make on a yearly basis. While I look forward to seeing our musicians again – because nothing replaces an in-person rehearsal – I am excited to embrace this technology to work with our bandura players and choristers, and to find new ways to stay connected while relentlessly raising our artistic standards.”
The UBC was set to tour western Canada during the first week of June but has postponed the tour until the fall. Mr. Murha notes: “We have a lot of great programming we’re preparing for the next two concert seasons. Given our mission – to be guardians of the bandura and Ukrainian music – we have a responsibility to continue working on our programming during this time. We continue to monitor, evaluate, pivot and adapt carefully. We are grateful to our stakeholders and supporters for staying engaged with us during this time.”
In addition to touring western Canada in the fall, the UBC is scheduled to perform at the Catholic University of America in Washington on October 24, and presenting “A Ukrainian Christmas” concerts and fund-raisers in Cleveland and Detroit on December 5 and 6. For the latest information, readers may visit www.bandura.org or call 734-658-6452.