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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.