The Chychul Family has a legacy extending more than five decades. It was customary in the early years of Ukrainian settlement in Canada, to engage families in the traditional music from the old country.
The Chychul family began their musical careers at very early ages. Being of the Hutzul and Bukovinian heritage much of their music reflected that vibrant culture.
Wasyl Chychul, the patriarch of the family played violin, dulcimer and upright bass until he lost his right arm in a farming accident. From that time forward both parents inspired their children to learn to play the traditional instruments and music.
As early as age six, Bill played Tsymbaly, along with brother Paul, Peter learned guitar at age 10, guided by mother Pearl who often sang and strummed traditional tunes.
The Chychul Family Orchestra was first formed in 1948 in the Myrnam, Alberta area. Originally known as “The Country Gents” they later changed their name to “The Nite Lights” when their sister Mary joined the band.
The Chychuls, as with many bands of the area, supplemented family income by entertaining at weddings, dances and social functions.
Although the band officially stopped playing at events in the late 50’s they have continued to play at all family functions since then, keeping alive the Ukrainian folk heritage. In the 70’s Peter’s son Barry was added to the family orchestra, thus ensuring the musical legacy of the Chychul Family for the next generation.