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The Luther College Balalaika Ensemble

The fully costumed Luther College Balalaika Ensemble performs Russian and East European music on traditional instruments. The ensemble features instruments of the balalaika and domra families, as well as accordion, percussion, and vocal. The ensemble was founded by Dr. L. Iudin-Nelson in 1992. Since that time, the ensemble has played over 150 performances in schools, community centers, and concert halls throughout the Midwest.

The ensemble also has performed in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Kansas City, and Chicago. The ensemble has raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes in Russia, including aid to pensioners and refugees at the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Food Sharing Ministry and medical aid in Petrozavodsk, Russia.

Luther College is the only college in the United States to host its own balalaika ensemble. Participation is open to all members of the Luther community; members must commit to attending weekly rehearsals. The Luther College Balalaika Ensemble is supported by Luther College and by Concordia Language Villages, Concordia College, Moorhead. For more information, contact Dr. Iudin-Nelson at: balalaika@luther.edu.

The Balalaika and Domra Association of America (BDAA) is an international organization of more than 400 members. The BDAA is committed to promoting the study and performance of Russian and East European music on traditional folk instruments. The folk ensemble "Barynya" maintains an excellent web page with many links to resources about Russian folk music.
In 2007, Luther College hosted the BDAA annual Festival of Russian Music.




Favorite songs in our repertoire include: Two Guitars; Down the Long Road; Akh, Nastasia; Kalinka; Burn, Burn, Gypsy Love; Brightly Shines the Moon; Fellows, Unharness Your Horses; The Ural Mountain Ash Tree; Katiusha; Moscow Nights.


Performances at Colleges and Universities

  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • St. Olaf College
  • Carleton College
  • Augsburg College (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • University of Iowa "Slavic Bazaar"
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth Medical School
  • Cornell College (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota). Nobel Peace Prize Forum
  • Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa)
  • Northeast Iowa Community College (Calmar, Iowa)
  • Northeast Iowa Community College (Peosta, Iowa)
  • Waldorf College (Forest City, Iowa)

 


Performances at Professional Conferences

  • New Orleans, Louisiana: National AATSEEL Conference (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages)
  • San Francisco, California: National AATSEEL Conference
  • Washington, D.C: National AATSEEL Conference
  • Chicago, Illinois: National AATSEEL Conference
  • Appleton, Wisconsin: WAFLT Conference (Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers)
  • Kansas City, Missouri: CARTA Conference (Central Association of Russian Teachers of America)
  • Festival of Russian Music Gala Concert (Annual international conference of the Balalaika and Domra Association of America) (held in 2007 at Luther College)
  • The Association of Lutheran College Faculties, 64th Annual Conference, "Models of Mentoring" (held at Luther College)

Community Performances

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota:  The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA).  "Building Lesnoe Ozero," a benefit concert for the Russian Village of Concordia Language Villages.
  • Decorah, Iowa:  Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.  "Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe Day."  Concert and educational program.
  • Woodbridge, Virginia: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Benefit performance for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Soup Kitchen Ministry
  • Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: Hyde Center for the Performing Arts. Benefit performance for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Soup Kitchen
  • Sioux City, Iowa: "Midnight in Moscow." Performance at the Sioux City Country Club at a benefit event for Boys and Girls Home and Family Services, Inc. Sponsored by Public Radio KWIT-KOJI, FM90
  • Des Moines, Iowa: Festival Europa!, Iowa Council for International Understanding
    Minnesota State Fair
  • Minnesota Zoological Gardens: "World Geography Day"
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin: St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Benefit performance for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Food Sharing Ministry
  • West Allis, Wisconsin: Luther Memorial Church. Benefit performance for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Food Sharing Ministry. Sponsored by Milwaukee Area Synod of the ELCA, Cluster III
  • Hales Corners, Wisconsin: Whitnall Park Lutheran Church. Benefit performance for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Soup Kitchen Ministry
  • Eagan, Minnesota: Easter Lutheran Church Music Series. Benefit performance for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Soup Kitchen Ministry
  • Golden Valley, Minnesota: Calvary Lutheran Church of Golden Valley. Benefit Concert for Moscow Protestant Soup Kitchen Ministry
  • Burnsville, Minnesota: St. James Lutheran Church. Morning worship services to raise funds for Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Soup Kitchen Ministry
  • Mahtomedi, Minnesota: St. Andrew's Church. Morning worship services to raise awareness of benefit concerts for medical aid to Petrozavodsk, Russia

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Division for Global Mission: National Global Mission Event, held at Luther College
  • Postville, Iowa: Performing Arts Center. Performance at Benefit Concert for Postville Radio Station KPVL
  • Postville, Iowa: "Families on Film" Community Event
  • Postville, Iowa, "Taste of Postville"
  • Aurora, Iowa: Concert at the annual "Old Fashioned Christmas Open House"
  • Fredricksburg, Iowa: Concert for Home Study Group
  • Decorah, Iowa: Aase Haugen Retirement Home
  • Decorah, Iowa: Decorah Public Library. After school performance
  • Decorah, Iowa: First Lutheran Church. Mentor Appreciation Luncheon
  • Decorah, Iowa: First Lutheran Church. Offertory music during Sunday morning worship services
  • Decorah, Iowa: Canoe Ridge Lutheran Church. ELCA Women's Cluster meeting (representatives from thirty ELCA congregations)
  • Decorah, Iowa. Decorah Lutheran Church.  Concert at "After Fifty Club."
  • Decorah, Iowa: Featured performers at opening of Farmers' Market
  • Decorah, Iowa: First Lutheran Church. Benefit Concert for Russian medical aid to Petrozavodsk, Russia
  • Decorah, Iowa: First Lutheran Church Women's Circle
  • Decorah, Iowa: Sunflower Childcare Center: concerts for pre-school and after-school age children

Performances at Schools

  • West Des Moines School District, Clive, Iowa: Concert for 500 fourth-graders and high school students of Russian; day in residence in elementary music classes
  • Rochester, Minnesota: Lourdes High School. Concert for grades 9-12 at multicultural event
  • Appleton, Wisconsin: Featured performers at a high school string festival for over 300 high school music students
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Blake School. Featured performers at MCTR Russian Winter Festival/Olympiada of Spoken Russian (Minnesota Council of Teachers of Russian)
  • Bemidji, Minnesota: Lesnoe Ozero (Russian Village) at Concordia Language Villages. Performance during the Dedication Ceremony of the new architecturally authentic Russian Village site
  • Bemidji, Minnesota: Lesnoe Ozero (Russian Village) at Concordia Language Villages. Evening full concert performance for students, staff and guests in honor of the dedication of the permanent Russian Village site
  • Bemidji, MN: Skogfjorden (Concordia Language Villages Norwegian Village)
  • Vergas, Minnesota: Lesnoe Ozero (Concordia Russian Village)
  • Cresco, Iowa: Crestwood Elementary School. Two concerts for elementary school children
  • South Winnesheik School, Iowa: Concert and cultural presentation in high school classes, (Partners in Education program)
  • North Winnesheik School, Iowa: Concert for entire student body, K-12, (Partners in Education program)
  • Decorah, Iowa: West Side School Multicultural Day. All-school assembly for Multicultural Day
  • Decorah, Iowa: Decorah Middle School. Performed prelude at 6th-grade performance of Fiddler on the Roof
  • Decorah, Iowa: Thomas Roberts High School. Diversity event, supported by Partners in Education program
  • Decorah, Iowa: East Side School: concert for fourth grade classes
  • Decorah, Iowa: Thomas Roberts High School: 3 performances at Fiddler on the Roof
  • Decorah, Iowa: John Cline Elementary School: concerts for kindergarten, first and second grade classes
  • Decorah, Iowa: West Side School: concerts for third grade and fourth grade

Performances at Luther College

  • Annual concerts, Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall or Center for Faith and life Main Hall.
  • Partners in Education Recognition Reception
  • Paideia Recognition Banquet
  • Benefit concert to raise funds for Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Soup Kitchen Ministry
  • Joint Concerts with University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra, Center for Faith and Life Main Hall
  • Noble Recital Hall. Guest performers at the faculty recital of Dr. Carol Hester (flute).
  • Noble Recital Hall. Guest performers at the student recital of Derek Blechinger (tenor)
  • Can Mountain Day
  • Special performance for high school Russian students from Cedar Rapids, IA,
  • Participated in "Celebration of the Arts" for the inauguration of President Jeffrey Baker
  • United Nations Day
  • Ethnic Arts Festival
  • Daily chapel; Sunday worship service
  • Luther College Women's Club
  • In-class performances
  • Scholar Recognition Days




(c) 2006 Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Last Update: November 2009
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