[PAST EVENT] Melodia- Eastern European Instrument and Vocal Ensemble  Concert

December 3, 2023
2pm - 4pm
Music Arts Center, Music Building, Concert Hall
551 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public
Melodia- Eastern European Instrument and Vocal Ensemble
Melodia- Eastern European Instrument and Vocal Ensemble

Founded in 2014, the William & Mary Melodia: Eastern European Instrument & Vocal Ensemble (formerly Russian Music Ensemble) is one of William & Mary’s diverse array of musical groups. What began as a labor of love for ethnomusicologist Jonathan Johnston (M.A.) and founding member Robert LaRose ‘16 has since evolved into a one-credit course under the direction of Yelena Khomenko that students across all disciplines can take to learn about the cultural history of Eastern Europe and become acquainted with instruments they may have never seen before. As the ensemble underwent a name change under the leadership of Yasha Barth ‘23 in 2023, we continue to look forward to diversifying our repertoire to represent a wide array of cultures, including but not limited to Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Bulgarian, and Jewish songs.

In 2020, accordionist Ina Yakubeika became the director of Melodia and helped grow the ensemble’s reputation on campus both among students and faculty, fostering a close relationship with W&M’s RPSS department. Yakubeika was replaced by guitarist Yelena Khomenko in the Fall of 2022. The RPSS department has continued to work together with students of the ensemble to showcase the instruments through small performances in classes and campus events, as well as sponsoring guest musicians and fundraising events. Melodia prides itself on educating audiences of all ages about Eastern Europe's rich and varied culture and maintaining strong relationships with local and regional musicians.

Previous collaborations with prestigious musicians and organizations include the Washington Balalaika Society, the Balalaika and Domra Association of America, bayan maestro Stas Venglevski, the MusAlliance duo featuring domra virtuoso Peter Omelchenko and guitarist Anna Kusner, and the Accordion Renaissance. Similarly, the ensemble has performed for Ukrainian balalaika virtuoso Tetiana Khomenko during her very first tour of the United States, domra virtuoso Angelina Galashenkova and classical guitarist, Dr. John Huston, the 2017 William & Mary Global Film Festival, during which it helped present Chad Gracia’s Ukrainian documentary The Russian Woodpecker, the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre, and the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) convention at the Williamsburg Hilton Double Tree Hotel.


Yolena Khomenko at [[ykhomenko]]