How did a Ukrainian winter song arranged for chorus by Mykola Leontovych end up as the perennial American Christmas favorite "The Carol of the Bells"? The story involves an unlikely musical ensemble called the "Ukrainian National Chorus". Here we tell the story of the Chorus through archival materials from the collection of Fr. Mykola Kostets'kyi, who was a member of the Chorus in the 1920s.

Ukraine and Europe

The Ukrainian National Chorus was formed as a public relations effort on the part of the newly independent Ukrainian People's Republic to increase awareness of Ukrainian art and culture throughout the world. The Chorus performed in the major cities of central and western Europe in 1920-22.

The New World

Having finished a triumphal tour of Europe, the now stateless Chorus crossed the Atlantic in 1922 to continue on in the New World, and in the process introduce the music that was to become The Carol of the Bells to the US.