DETROIT – Starting last fall, the four North American summer bandura camps began to work together in service of their common mission to sustain and advance bandura music on this continent. Leaders of Bandura@Bobriwka (Colebrook, Conn.), ODUM Bandura Camp (London, Ontario, in the past, but this year’s venue was to be Brighton, Mich.), Kobzarska Sich (Emlenton, Pa.) and Litnia Zustrich (Hawkestone, Ontario) first convened in person in October 2019, and then held periodic conference calls on how they could cooperate, in particular on marketing and programming.
The people engaged in the irreverently-named NABCAMCOM (North American Bandura Camps Committee) are also leading members of bandura groups that sponsor the camps – namely, the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America, the Women’s Bandura Ensemble of North America, the Canadian Bandurist Capella and Zoloti Struny – as well as representatives of ODUM.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Sadly, one by one, each camp had to be cancelled due to health and safety concerns. The camps were due to run from late June through the end of August. Nonetheless, the NABCAMCOM continued to “zoom” with a firm determination to keep the momentum going and to offer would-be bandura campers an opportunity to engage with bandura music and with each other this summer.
And so – the NABCAMCOM is pleased to announced that Bandura Hangouts: A Virtual Workshop will take place this summer between July 13 and August 7.
Two or three learning activities per day will take place in the afternoons and early evenings on weekdays on a Google Hangouts platform, run by qualified instructors and activity leaders, primarily those who have been teaching at bandura camps.
Participants will be required to attend at least 50 percent of all activities in order to earn a certificate of completion and be eligible to perform in what is hoped to be a Fall or Winter Bandura Gathering (“Zustrich”). The time and place of the “Zustrich” will depend on the pandemic situation, but when it happens it will give bandurists, especially young ones, a much-desired opportunity to get together in person.
Activities will be in 30- to 40-minute segments and will include both individual and group instruction, demonstrations, topic lectures, vocal coaching sessions, mini-performances and some surprise fun activities. Unfortunately, the workshop will not be able to accommodate those who have never played before, but it will be open to bandurists of all levels ranging from novice to advanced.
While not a substitute for a full-fledged bandura camp, Bandura Hangouts will allow bandura students to continue to learn over the summer, advance their knowledge, and maintain a connection with Ukrainian music, bandura and their bandura-playing peers.
More information about registration and the schedule can be found on www.BanduraHangouts.com. To become a sponsor, or donate to support administrative costs and stipends for those instructors who, in the current poor economy, could use financial support, readers may go to www.BanduraHangouts.com/about-us. We will greatly appreciate your interest and support.
Mykola Deychakiwsky is affiliated with the Detroit School of Bandura.