LIKA Celebrates 50 Years!
On Friday July 7, 2017, Orchestra LIKA formally celebrated 50 Years as a band with a party at the Winona Vine Estates (a.k.a the Draźa Mihailović Četnik Grounds) in Winona, Ontario. The celebration was the culmination of a year of planning, but of course the story began a half century ago...
Orchestra LIKA was formed in 1967 with founding members Milan Sanader, and John and Michael Lukich. The three selected the name LIKA because their late fathers were Serbs from LIKA.
The new band started rehearsing and entertaining their families at respective Slavas, a tradition that continues to this day. To complete the trio a bass player was added: childhood friend Miles Obradovich, whose father also came from LIKA. The band began performing at choir and church functions in Toronto.
The band was blessed to have mentors who guided them on their musical journey. Those mentors were Drina Orchestra members Danny Joksimović, Baća Kijurski and Braca Mikalacki. Together, the two groups shared a musical bond and friendship for over 40 years. Drina Orchestra influenced the songs LIKA learned and its musical style.
During the 1970s, LIKA continued to perform in the Toronto area expanding their repertoire and playing for weddings and picnics, as well as church functions.
At the beginning of 1980, Miles retired from the band and shortly thereafter, Mark Doncic joined us to provide bass, vocals, and 2nd accordion.
The 1980s was a prolific one for the band as they played regularly and extensively throughout Ontario and the Northeast US. During that decade, LIKA played for two Serbian National Federation (SNF) golf tournaments; the Serbian Singing Federation Festival (SSF) in Cleveland; Ontario Place, Toronto; Merrillville, Indiana; Centre Island, Toronto; Caravan “Oplenac” Pavilion, Toronto (1974 – 1989); plus numerous weddings as far north as Sudbury, picnics, and church events from Windsor to Ottawa.
After more than 10 years with the band, Mark left the Greater Toronto Area to live in the US. From then on, LIKA continued mostly as a three-piece band – with occasional drummers added as required.
By 1997, the band decided to make a professional recording which would last ‘za uvek’. With the help of virtuoso Boris Daich on percussion, and a special guest appearance by Mark-- who came in from Pittsburgh to lend his vocals-- the band recorded its first CD “LIKA ZA UVEK” at Velvet Sound Studios in Mississauga. This title was chosen to convey that the group would never forget the Serbs from LIKA who lived there for centuries, and who were mercilessly chased out in 1995.
Since the beginning of this century, LIKA has continued to entertain at weddings, church and choir functions, picnics, tournaments, and special events such as Slivofest and Carousel in Windsor.
Which brings us back to their 50th Year Anniversary Celebration. The boys in the band invited a large group of family, friends, and supporters to an evening where, after dinner, they entertained guests with photos, videos, commentary, and stories of LIKA from its inception to the present. Guests also viewed a humorous video of family members being interviewed for their perspectives of LIKA. Following the presentations, LIKA Orchestra proceeded to entertain with songs, kolos and finally to end the evening, a sing-along around the bar. On this occasion, they also announced the release of their newest CD "LIKA 50 Years", which is now available.
The band's musical journey required love and support from many to make it to this milestone. The three members thanked their parents, the late Nikola and Anka Sanader and the late Dusan and Helen Lukich for their never-ending love and support, especially during the formative years. The guys also thanked their wives, who married them knowing full-well the commitment that came with being part of an orchestra; and they thanked their children, who had no choice in the matter but knew sometimes their Tatas were away for the weekend, playing Serbian songs. Last but not least, Orchestra LIKA thanked their supporters who have followed them - some from 1967 - plus numerous fans who joined them on this journey. The orchestra continues to play music because people enjoy listening, singing, dancing and most of all, it is the joy and camaraderie that music brings to all of us.
Looking forward, LIKA's repertoire continues to grow and the band continues to rehearse and perform because they still enjoy it, even after 50 years.
For more information on LIKA, or to purchase their latest CD. visit www.johnlukich.com or send an email to email@example.com.
Orchestra LIKA looks forward to sharing the next 50 years with you!