Dennis was raised in Fisher Branch, in Manitoba's Interlake Region, and began playing in a dance band in the surrounding area by the time he was 13 years old. He was greatly influenced by several great Canadian violinists ( fiddlers ) including Don Messer, Ward Allen, Tommy Buick, and especially Andy Dejarlis who's style Dennis greatly admires. In addition, his violin teacher, Mike Uhryniuk, was a gifted violinist who not only taught Dennis the fundamentals of playing the violin, but he taught him how to play polkas, waltzes, kolomaykas, foxtrots and all the rest of the various dances in a very unique upbeat manner.
The very first dance band that Dennis was a part of, was called " The Regent Ramblers " and was made up of some very talented local musicians. It was there that Dennis learned how to play a unique mix of music made up of Old Tyme fiddle tunes, western swing and country music, and of course Ukrainian music. Who could ever forget the two day Ukrainian wedding dances that required the band to play 60-90 minutes non-stop during the " presentation of gifts " to the bride and groom.
By the mid 1960's Dennis joined Bill Woloshyn and The Interlake Polka Kings where he was the "fiddler" in the band's first five albums and eight singles. The IPK's were one of the more popular groups in the Ukrainian music category at that time and began touring extensively throughout the prairie provinces. Dennis also served as MC at the bands concerts and radio show over CKDM in Dauphin, Manitoba.
In 1970, Dennis moved to Toronto to pursue, what turned out to be, a very successful business career. During his 40 year business career, he was a senior manager at NCR Canada and GE Canada Housewares - was President of Black & Decker Canada, President & CEO of Cambridge Towel, President & CEO of CanWel Building Materials and President of GSW Building Products where he retired in early 2007.
While he left the music scene in 1970 to pursue his business career, he actually never stopped playing and staying in touch with the violin and the type of music that he had always played. When Bill Woloshyn reunited the core of the original Interlake Polka Kings back together again in the Fall of 2002, Dennis picked up right where he left off and continued with the IPK's for 6 more years and two more albums.
In the fall of 2008, Dennis formed his own group known as The Dennis Nykoliation Band and includes some of the most talented musicians in Manitoba. The band's music therefore is the culmination of over 50 years of musical craftsmanship and artistry and uniquely captures 3 different types of musical categories by a fiddler who " plays 'em like he hears 'em. "
Dennis lives in Barrie Ontario and is married to Bette - they have four grown children and eight grandchildren.
Check out Dennis's website http://www.dennisnykoliation.com/