Ivan Maichyk was born on December 26, 1927 in the village of Odrekhova in the Syanik region, Lemkivshchyna. He was born into a musical family - his great grandfather, grandfather and father all lead Lemko folk bands which performed at festivals, weddings and dances. His mother Katherine had a beautiful voice. Their home was always full of music and songs. Ivan attended school in his home village and at the age of 12 joined the Ukrainian youth organization Plast. Unfortunately, when he was 14 years old, he was taken by the Germans to work in a mill in Austria. He worked hard at the mill in the village of Kristane near Vienna. But every opportunity that he had, he would join other young workers and attended concerts, taking what little pleasure he could from listening to Hayden, Mozart and Schubert.
When he was 16 he returned home and attended technical school for 3 years. This freedom was short lived, as in 1946, his entire family, along with thousands of others, many of them Lemkos, were forcibly deported to the USSR. They lived and worked on a collective farm in the village of Kokushkivtsi near Ternopil. His father managed to buy him an accordion on his meager wages as a collective worker. Within a year, Ivan taught himself to play the accordion well enough that in 1950 he became the accordionist for the Ternopil Pioneers home. Through his playing he earned enough to feed his whole family.
He attended evening classes at a music school in Ternopil. Within 2 years he completed a 5 year course for accordion and was accepted into the Lviv School of Music to be trained as a choir master and conductor. To earn a living he taught music and physical education at a Polish middle school. He started a choir, which under his direction, won first place for the region. This opened new doors for him and he was accepted into the faculty of conductorship-choir master at the Lviv Conservatory of Music. During these years he also worked as musical director at the Lviv radio station and established a choir that gained recognition mostly due to its repertoire of nationalistic songs.
In 1962 he graduated from the Conservatory and was sent to Khust and as a result his choir dispersed. Two years later he was called back to Lviv and was assigned the position of musical director and conductor of the "Trembita" choir which was awarded the distinction of "Honored Choir of Ukraine". In 1964 he succeeding in arranging a two month tour through well known cities in Siberia. The concert tour was a resounding success with halls filled to capacity at every concert and attended mostly by Ukrainians who still lived in Siberia.
In 1965 Ivan Maichyk along with the "Trembita" choir developed a new program of even stronger nationalistic themes. This new concert tour was less successful even though it consisted of over 50 performances throughout Ukraine. As a result, upon their return to Lviv, I. Maichyk was released from his position as musical director of "Trembita". He returned to his previous position at the radio station, but the communist regime did not allow him to form a new choir or to perform. From 1972 to his death, Ivan Maichyk taught at the Ludkevych Music College in Lviv. He also taught a conductorship course at the M. Lysenko Music Academy.
Ivan Maichyk composed over 450 pieces for vocals. His variations on folk songs and renditions composed to the words of poets such as T. Shevchenko, I. Franko, L. Ukrainka, B. Antonych, O. Oles, M. Vorona, M. Kostenko and many others and to his own poems were performed by well know singers such as A. Solovyanenko, I. Zakharko, O. Vrabel, O. Hormysh, V. Dudar, T. Didyk, M. Protsevyat; choirs "Lemkovyna", "Lemkivshchyna", "Kychera", "Dudaryk", "Antey", "Yevshan", "Karpaty", "Halytskyi choral choir", Pidduklyanskyi Ukrainian National Ensemble and many more.
A memorable collection by Ivan Maichyk is "Choirs, vocal ensembles and romances composed to the works of Bohdan Ihor Antonych" published in June 2007 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of the poet and 80th birthday of I. Maichyk. The collection includes 45 compositions and an important contribution to the continuing study of the poet Antonych and the composer Maichyk. The bibliography includes 23 collections, 24 publications, educational works and 66 articles about his works.
Even though I. Maichyk only lived in Odrekhova during his childhood, it left in him a deeply embedded love for his home which resulted in the publication of "Odrekhova in the past", Lviv 1999, co-authored with Mykola Tsupryk (1900-1978). Due to its popularity it was republished in 2006. An important aspect of this book is the "School metryka of Odrekhova from 1887-1943" which includes pertinent data about 2,686 students who attended school in Odrekhova.
Ivan Maichyk has had numerous articles about composers, cultural activists, and most importantly about Ukrainian folk songs, especially Lemko songs and history published in journals, magazines and newspapers.
The loss of I. Maichyk to Lemkos and to the Lemko song will be felt for a very long time and it will be hard to find a replacement. He will definitely be remembered for his contributions to the Lemko culture and Ukrainian music world.
(Translated from Ukrainian by Mary Lopata)
"Лемківщина", Ч. 1, Весна 2008
"Lemkivshchyna", issue 1, Spring 2008
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