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Kobzarska Sich 2023 Vision
Oleh Mahlay, Music Director



Kobzarska Sich at All Saints Camp in Pennsylvania. The bandura. The songs. The traditions. The Appalachians. The creative musical process with students and staff. The river.

An unforgettable experience found nowhere else on earth.

This year I have the honor to serve as the artistic director of this institution which began over four decades ago. Since initially starting exclusively as a two-week bandura camp in 1979, it has grown with additional programs such as the Junior Bandura Workshop, the Ukrainian Folk Singing Experience, the Ukrainian Choral Workshop, and the Adult Bandura Course. Thousands of students have taken part in Kobzarska Sich (KS) in these last 45 years, with many of them eventually becoming leaders in musical ensembles throughout the world.

The KS  bandura and vocal program is a musical educational fortress where creators and defenders of the kobzar culture gather to focus on learning and improving their musical skills, whether as a bandura player, vocalist, choral ensemble participant, or future Ukrainian music educator. But it is more than a mere educational program. This annual gathering is a unique phenomenon which combines music, culture, the bandura, a youthful spirit, one’s own voice, history, the kobzar legacy, reliance on one another, respect, personal growth and truth.

In order to better achieve this mission, I will be focusing on the following three areas for 2023 in order to continue striving for excellence at Kobzarska Sich and making it on par with any musical program in North America:

(1)  Seek out, hire, and shepherd a professional staff in the field of bandura and Ukrainian singing, and apply general educational musical industry standards for teachers.
(2)  Develop and create a music curriculum specific to each KS music program and mentor future potential instructors based on a thorough educational plan.
(3)  Continue to provide and improve on a safe and responsible camp environment for both young campers and adults.

No matter what happens during the course of my year, there is no experience that is more fulfilling musically, spiritually, and culturally than Kobzarska Sich. I look forward to building on this rich tradition  and creating new memorable musical and life experiences with the next generation of bandura players and singers.

KS2023 artistic director


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