The Wheat in the Barley today features Steve Gidora on guitar, mandolin and bouzouki, Mark Dowding on flutes and whistles, Andrea Lewis on violin, and Pavel Rhyzlovsky on accordion. The “Wheaties” have have performed across western Canada for over 20 years, lighting a fire under folk music from around the world, especially Celtic and Slavic melodies but with many original songs and tunes also in the mix. Today’s concert shines a spotlight on the Ukrainian dance music which is a big part of the band's musical heritage. The band has been a featured performer at the BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Mission BC for over a decade. Their music, videos and contact info can be found on their website.
The group's name evokes images of Irish and Ukrainian agriculture, the heritage of its founder, Steve Gidora. Steve received his first mandolin from his Ukrainian grandfather at the age of 10, and since then has played with many Vancouver artists and served in the schools as a music teacher in Langley, BC, as well as providing vocals, mandolins and guitar with the band. Steve has shared the stage with folk singers such as Ann Mortifee and Charlotte Diamond, and his groups have opened for the legendary Pete Seeger and Odetta.
Group co-founder and woodwind specialist Mark Dowding spins melodies and harmonies on various kinds of flutes, whistles, saxophones and harmonicas. Over a long and storied folk music career, he has guested with many Canadian music icons such as The Paperboys, Figgy Duff, Sylvia Tyson and Stan Rogers, and has contributed tracks to over a dozen albums for his own groups and other artists. He has also designed original artwork for several dozen CDs.
With music degrees from both UVic and WWU, Andrea Taylor has taught for over two decades as a member of the Registered Music Teachers Association. From 1995-2007 Andrea performed over two thousand live concerts, and has recorded on 7 CDs. Performing highlights included numerous appearances at the Vancouver Canucks Hockey games and tours with artists such as Ashley MacIsaac, Leahy, Vassar Clements, The Proclaimers, Kathleen Edwards, Chris Isaak and Taylor Swift.
Pavel Rhyzlovsky is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed and taught on accordion, electronic keyboards, recorders, clarinet, and saxophone. He obtained his MA in music at Silesian University in Poland, and has performed, composed, arranged and conducted with musical groups and orchestras throughout Europe and the middle east. He is now a proud Canadian, currently conducts the Vancouver Folk Orchestra, and has performed with many local musical groups.