Born and raised in Edmonton, Orest first foray into music as a child was with piano lessons. It was during his music education studies at the University of Alberta that he truly fell in love with classical music. Orest began his career teaching junior high band and, though now retired, still keeps his hand in as a substitute teacher.
His love of radio began when his dad got a new reel-to-reel tape recorder in 1968. Ten-year-old Orest put it to work recording Top 40 hits from the family’s Woodward’s stereo console. In 1999, Orest dove into the radio world himself, honing radio skills at CJSR, Edmonton’s campus-based community radio station, where he created the program Sounds Ukrainian and hosted it for seven years.
Orest founded the Ukrainian Male Chorus in 1984, and is its current conductor. He has sung with the Richard Eaton Singers and Da Camera Singers. As you might have guessed, his passion is choral music. “I feel it’s one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments -- celebrating the beauty of the human voice in harmony with other singers!” he says.
Orest gathers inspiration from many sources, including Tom Allen on Shift on CBC Radio 2, classical music magazines, new recordings from Edmonton Public Library and classical music social media. One of his great joys in his work at CKUA is “playing music that you will never hear anywhere else on the radio,” he says.
Orest brings his classical music knowledge to the world through the Raising Voices program each week. Raising Voices is dedicated to music performed by the oldest musical instrument: the human voice. Raising Voices celebrates the beauty of vocal music by featuring works from the 12th century to today, performed by soloists, small ensembles and choirs.