Collection 0029 - Nick Mischi collection

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Nick Mischi collection

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  • 1932-2004 (Creation)
    Mischi, Nicholai

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Physical description

10 cm of textual records and photographs

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Biographical history

Nick was born in the village of Shepenets in Bukovyna, on February 5, 1907 where he learned to play the dulcimer (cymbaly) at the age of 8. His uncle, a professional bandmaster, taught Nick the fundamentals of the instrument and he joined his uncle playing weddings and parties around the countryside. By the age of 12 years Nick Mischi was considered a professional by many musicians in Ukraine. In 1928 Nick left his homeland and immigrated to Canada. Having left his dulcimer with his uncle, Nick purchased another in Winnipeg in 1930. Nick Mischi played with a variety of orchestras in and around Winnipeg before moving west to Edmonton in the 1930's. His early career was limited because he moved across western Canada. Each place he lived, Nick picked up his dulcimer and joined a local band. Over the 77 years of his playing career, 63 he contributed in Edmonton and Central Alberta. Some of the musicians Nick played with in and around Edmonton are: Bill Boychuk (Easy Aces), Joe Trachyk (The Marango's), Peter Kassian (Sons of the Ukrainian Pioneers), Ron Lakustra's Orchestra.

As early as the 1930's Nick played on a variety of radio stations. In the 1950's Nick Mischi entertained radio audiences in the Edmonton area on radio shows, which were started by Henry Smichure on C.F.R.N. and C.H.F.A. radios. These programs were live at sponsors premises as well as live shows at the radio studios. When C.F.C.W. radio started their "Ukrainian Hour" program some 33 years ago, Nick was asked to preform many times.

Judging dulcimer competitions for many years, in places like Lakeview Pavilion, Red Barn, Vegreville Pysanka Festival and Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, in which he competed as well, Nick won many first place trophies and earned a reputation as one of Alberta's finest dulcimer (cymbaly) players.

Throughout the years during his playing career Nick cut many records with different orchestra's. His favourite was "Dulcimer in Concert" which was recorded with a nine piece Chamber Orchestra from the University of Alberta. Some of these records were sold across Canada.

Nick Mischi retired from playing with orchestras in 1986 but was still active teaching young people, some from as far away as Calgary, Alberta, to play the dulcimer and to carry on the tradition of ethnic Ukrainian music in Western Canada.

On August 30, 1992 Nick Mischi was one of many competitors at the Ukrainian Music festival held at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. First place performance in the master category by the 85 year young Nick Mischi on his dulcimer (cymbaly), an overwhelmed audience of over 400 people gave Nick a standing ovation. The Festival was hosted by Johnny Bohonos of C.F.C.W.'s radio "Ukrainian Hour".

In 1993 Nick Mischi appeared as one of the guest artists in two concerts at the Annual Vegreville Pysanka Festival 1993, and was applauded loudly by the audience. The same year Nick also took part at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village during Ukrainian Day, entertaining audiences.

Nick Mischi was a talented dulcimer musician. He played by ear, keeping alive the unwritten music for dulcimer. Nick passed away in 2006.

Custodial history

When Nick Mischi passed away, the executors of his estate gave a box of materials to Brian Cherwick, and asked that it go to some institution.

Scope and content

The collection consists of Nick Mischi's 90th anniversary album with cards, greetings and photographs, his 95th anniversary album, documents and photographs related to his induction to the Hall of Fame at the Vegreville Pysanka Festival, certificates of appreciation from the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, letters, and other photographs.

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Gift of Brian Cherwick


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General note

Nick Mischi was interviewed by Mariya Lesiv on May 11, 2004 as part of the Local Culture Project.

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