April 2, 2019


The Macenko Memorial Male Choir, which was originally formed by students of the famous Ukrainian composer-director Pavlo Macenko, is looking toward to serving the faithful of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg in a new way. Dr. Paul Macenko immigrated to Winnipeg from Ukraine in 1936 and contributed much to Ukrainian choral music by teaching and directing choirs at various institutions around Manitoba. One such institution was the Ukrainian Redemptorist Fathers' high-school/minor seminary, Saint Vladimir's College, that the religious order operated for some sixty years in Roblin, Manitoba. Not long after graduating from the College, Walter Zulak, gathered together fellow graduates and formed a performing group known as the St. Vladimir's College Alumni Choir - which is today known as Hoosli. In time, Walter then saw an opportunity to form another group of alumni singers to form the more liturgy-minded Macenko Memorial Male Choir that he named in honour of his mentor, Dr. Macenko. The two singing groups have gone on to serve their particular niches in Manitoba's Ukrainian community - and beyond - very successfully.

The Macenko choir has uplifted many parish communities in Manitoba by singing Sunday liturgies and other services and by performing at special events. Not long ago, they released a CD of liturgical and folk songs, with the assistance of Joe Dudych Recording Services, entitled, "Liturgy, Memories and More". Recently, the Choir has contemplated new ways by which to maintain their very noticeable uniqueness within the Ukrainian choral genre, yet also fulfil their personal mandate of serving the Ukrainian Catholic community. In this spirit, a smaller volunteer group of singers from the choir gathered at Holy Eucharist Parish church in Winnipeg's East Kildonan at the invitation of the choir's founding director, Walter Zulak. Walter, also invited Fr. John Sianchuk, C.Ss.R. who is presently one of Canada's premier enthusiasts and promotors of Ukrainian liturgical singing, as well as a true expert in the field. Back in the day, Fr. John also taught music at the abovementioned St. Vladimir's College, albeit some time after Paul Macenko had been there. The spirit of the evening was very positive. Not only were the singers grateful that Fr John was able and willing to meet with them, but it is was like a mini reunion of St. Vlad's grads. There was not only one common thread binding them all together, but several, including: their love for singing, their love for their Church and their abiding love for St. Vlad's College.

The group studied the Church's funeral and requiem services - the Parastas and the Panakhyda. Fr. John offered a bit of an historical explanation of the two services, how they came about and how they are most commonly employed in the Church's contemporary usage. They also went through the entire text of the services and made notations and Fr. John answered any queries. Walter asked the group if they were willing to commit to mastering the services to better serve the Ukrainian community that was turning more and more to the Parastas as a preferred service for funerals and memorial services. The response was very positive. With the additional offers of ongoing support from Fr John and from the local parish priest of Holy Eucharist, Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski who also was present and has been a long-time supporter of the Choir, the Macenko singers decided to move forward. God willing, the service that they hope to provide would include quality and prayerful singing for larger memorial events, but also for families that request their services at the difficult times of the loss of a loved one.

Watch for the Macenko Memorial Male Choir.... If you manage to attend one of their liturgies, you will be delighted and inspired.

[* The Macenko Choir will be singing the Good Friday evening "Jerusalem Matins" on 19 April at Holy Eucharist Church (505 Watt Street, Winnipeg) at 7:00 PM.]

View More News

Unite Interactive