2022 Convention: Asheville, NC


The 42nd Annual BDAA Convention:

July 12-16, 2022

Asheville, NC

Updates – 7/7/2022

  • We have added a song to the festival orchestra repertoire (Anthem of Ukraine) – please print this along with your other sheet music.
  • The first orchestra rehearsal on Tuesday, 7/12 has been pushed back to 5:45 PM. Because rehearsal will go through the normal dinner break, the BDAA will provide a free light dinner at the welcome party starting at 8:00 PM.
  • See the most up-to-date schedule here:

Preliminary Workshop Schedule

Before You Leave for Asheville:

  • Remember your proof of vaccination and proof of negative Covid test. Test before you travel to the convention. If you are using an at-home test (max. 48 hours before registration) please bring a photo of the test result that includes an ID and some sort of timestamp. We highly recommend bringing several at-home test kits with you to the convention just in case.
  • Bring items for the auction – anything you think will help raise money for the BDAA and the Scholarship Fund. 
  • Print your sheet music. Music for the orchestra and all workshops (except for beginning classes) are posted online.
  • Pack a nice outfit for the banquet on Friday night.
  • If playing in the orchestra, bring an ethnic costume or orchestra attire (black & white or all black) for the concert on Saturday. See below for extra details.
  • Bring a music stand if you can.
  • Bring jamming books & lead sheets for the evening parties. All types of music are welcome at the jam – we want a diverse our jamming repertoire.
  • Email your coordinators at BDAA.board (at) gmail.com if you have convention questions!

While at the Convention:

  • Note that we are at the Biltmore DoubleTree Hotel, NOT the downtown DoubleTree hotel.
  • You will need your badge to enter any and all workshops and convention activities. 
  • If you registered online, remember to pay for your registration “extras” like t-shirts, pysanky supplies, and Biltmore tickets at the registration desk.
  • If you bought a discounted Biltmore tour through the BDAA, the tickets are physical – you cannot go directly to the Biltmore or use your phone to enter. You will need to pick up your tickets from the registration table Monday night or Tuesday morning. The scheduled BDAA tour starts at 10:15 am. If you arrive after 10:15, you will have to wait for next available entrance slot. We will hand out important Biltmore information (rules, photography, etc.) at registration when you pick up your tickets.
  • Registration will open Monday night and continue Tuesday morning and throughout the week

Festival Orchestra Attire & Costumes

As a multi-ethnic organization, there is no standard BDAA folk costume for the festival concert. We represent multiple countries and cultures and let everyone wear the folk attire they want to, resulting in a beautiful and colorful smorgasbord on stage. If you are new and do not have a folk costume, people will often bring extra costumes / accessories you may be able to borrow. If not, you can wear the classic all black, or black & white orchestra attire for the concert.


With the recent political strife in Eastern Europe, we understand that some musicians may feel strongly about wearing or not wearing the costumes of certain countries in either protest or in solidarity. We support each orchestra member deciding to dress as their conscience may dictate.

About the 2022 Convention

We are happy to announce that Asheville, NC, is still the site of the in-person 42nd BDAA convention, which will now be held from July 12 – 16, 2022! It broke our hearts to cancel the 2020 and 2021 conventions due to Covid-19. But, the 2022 in-person convention is happening after a long pandemic hiatus. We are excited to bring the BDAA to the culturally and musically diverse city of Asheville in the stunningly beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.


Guest Artists

This year we are featuring new and familiar guest artists from Ukraine, Russia, and America, including:


Tetiana Khomenko – Prima Balalaika

The Alexandrov-Skliar Duo – Prima Domra / Mandolin

Dr. Alexander Tentser – Festival Orchestra Conductor

Tetiana Khomenko

Prima Balalaika

Tetiana is a balalaika virtuoso from Kyiv, Ukraine. For 5 years Tetiana was a soloist for the National Orchestra of Folk Instruments and has taught and performed all over Europe and the US. She currently plays in the Balalaika and Piano Duo (B&P Duo) and has a repertoire spanning folk tunes to jazz.


Tetiana‘s Full Bio 

Alexandrov-Skliar Duo

Prima Domra / Mandolin

Both masters of mandolin and Russian domra, Alexey Alexandrov and Ekaterina Skliar (originally from Russia) came together in 2015 to form a unique mandolin-domra duo with a repertoire that spans the globe, bringing together the traditions of classical and folk music and the freedom of jazz.


Alexandrov-Skliar Full Bio

Dr. Alexander Tentser

Orchestra Conductor

Dr. Tentser is a gifted pianist and professor of music originally from Kyiv, Ukraine. He currently conducts the Pima Community College Orchestra and the Arizona Balalaika Orchestra. Alexander performs as a piano soloist, as part of a violin / piano duo, and is a sought-after music lecturer.


Alexander’s Full Bio

Workshop Leaders

Aleksei & Irina Lutcenko – Bayan & Chorus

Irina and Aleksei Lutcenko both studied at the Academy of Far Eastern Arts in Vladivostok, Russia. In 2017, the two artists decided to settle in Quebec, Canada. The love of music and the complementarity of their instruments, bayan and domra, are at the origin of the success of this family. Russian folk music has conquered the hearts of many audiences in Russia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Canada thanks to the interpretation of these two musicians and the original sound of their instruments. The musicians also take an active part not only in the artistic life, but in the social life of Montreal: their performances are warmly welcomed by residents of long-term centers, rehabilitation centers and palliative care.

Andrea Kulish – Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Egg Painting) 

Andrea is a talented local artist at Studio A in Asheville, where she does mixed media, graphic design, and pysanky eggs. She is a first-generation Ukrainian-American and has been making pysanky since she was five years old as a tradition her mom passed down to her. She enjoys using this unique medium as a creative outlet, but also sees it as a to keep this rare Ukrainian folk tradition alive. Three of her pysanky are currently in the Pysanka Museum in Kolomyia, Ukraine. In addition to teaching and making pysanky, she is active in raising money for Ukraine relief efforts in the Asheville area and has raised over $20,000 so far. 

Svitlana Eadie – Ukrainian Cooking

Svitlana owns a local catering company, Svitlana’s Kitchen, in Asheville. She loves bringing people together with food, especially traditional Ukrainian dishes. She has been using her cooking to organize folks to raise money for Ukrainian relief efforts, including the “Taste of Ukraine” fundraiser. 

Peter Omelchenko – Domra Choir

Until recently, Peter was a member of Moscow’s Osipov Balalaika Orchestra, and is a domra virtuoso, arranger, composer. Previously, he was a featured soloist with the Nekrasov Radio and Television Folk Instrument Orchestra. He spent his childhood in the south of Russia, surrounded by the rich folk-music traditions of the Cossack people. Peter studied at the Gnessin Academy with Alexander Tsygankov and has subsequently won many prestigious competitions, such as the “Cup of the North” in Cherepovets. Peter moved to the US two years ago and is currently a lead musician and soloist with the orchestra of the Washington Balalaika Society, with whom he has both soloed and conducted as a featured guest artist.

Anya Shatilova – Beginning Domra & Lecture

A native of St. Petersburg, Anya Shatilova is a professional domra player and was the BDAA domra soloist in 2017. She is a graduate scholar at Wesleyan whose research interests include traditional musical practices in nineteenth-century Russia, performance on Russian plucked lutes (domra & balalaika) in the U.S., pre-revolutionary Russian diaspora in the U.S., and Finno-Ugric music in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her other interests include the impact of sound studies on the research of musical instruments, sound art, music & film.

Jason Schreiber – Beginning Balalaika

Jason is a music educator, arranger, and ethnomusicologist from Wisconsin where he currently teaches music to 3rd graders through high school.  He holds a B.A. and M.M. in music from Northern Illinois University where he focused on the steel band art form, music theory, and ethnomusicology. He has performed in Trinidad and Tobago twice for the World Steel Band Festival and Panorama competitions and in South Korea for the 2002 Seoul Drum Festival.  While in Trinidad and Tobago, Jason conducted fieldwork to study the organology of the steel pan. He has worked with the Hummingbird Monitoring Network to analyze hummingbird vocalizations and songs. In addition to balalaika, he performs and accompanies on steel pan, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin, accordion, trumpet, upright bass, piano, and voice. 

Greg Carageorge – Contrabass Balalaika

Greg has been a professional contrabass balalaika and string bass player for over thirty years, performing in numerous ethnic music groups such as the Berkeley, CA based Klezmorim, Troika Balalaikas, The Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival, and several popular touring Greek folk music bands. He was the leader of the house band at New York’s Russian Tea Room, and has appeared with numerous folk, bluegrass and jazz ensembles. Greg recently completed a three week concert tour of China as principal basis with “The Hollywood Concert Orchestra.”


We ask that everyone registers as soon as possible for planning purposes, especially since the cut off for our special hotel rate is June 19th. We cannot guarantee you a hotel room if you try to book after this date. To facilitate early bookings, registration costs will increase after June 1st.

You can register online if paying by credit card or by mail if paying with a check. If paying by credit card, you must fill out a separate form and pay separately for each person in your family or group (additional credit card payment instructions can be found here). Multiple registrations can be grouped together if paying by mail.

Important Covid-19 Information

For the safety of our members, for this convention we are requiring both:

    1. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination 
    2. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test, taken no more than 48 hours before entering the convention 
      • We will accept results from all forms of Covid-19 tests, including PCR, at-home test kits, and saliva monitoring.
      • Your negative test result and vaccination card must be presented at the registration table to receive your convention badge. You will not be allowed into any workshops, rehearsals, or convention activities without a badge. 
      • If you have a vaccine exemption (medical or religious) you are required to provide a negative Covid-19 test to the registration table every day of the convention or your badge will be revoked. 
      • The BDAA will not provide Covid tests. Acquiring tests is the responsibility of the attendee. Free at-home tests are available from covid.gov and many insurance companies cover or reimburse the cost of at-home tests.
      • Masks are not mandatory but are recommended, especially during high occupancy events such as orchestra rehearsal and the festival concert. 
      • If you cannot attend the convention due to Covid, your registration will be reimbursed up until the start of the convention (minus a $25 cancellation fee).

Best Practices for Covid Testing

It is best to test before you travel to the convention. If you are using an at-home test (max. 48 hours before registration) please bring a photo of the test result that includes an ID and some sort of timestamp.

We highly recommend bringing several at-home test kits with you to the convention just in case.

Sheet Music Access

When your registration has processed we will email you an access code / login code to download and print copies of the orchestra and workshop music. You can go directly to the link in your email or enter the login information below to be redirected.

Sheet Music Access (Login Required)

Scholarship Application

Each year we offer multiple scholarships to cover registration costs for the convention through the Michael Kolos & Walter Kasura Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are available to all BDAA members, whether it is their first convention or not. Anyone who has an interest in Slavic folk music, attending a convention, and has a financial need is welcome to apply.


Note there is a lifetime limit of 2 scholarships per member, but we do have extra resources available through our Youth Initiative Fund for students and young members who have maxed out their scholarship awards. If this is relevant to you, then we encourage you to fill out the scholarship application to request assistance through the Youth Initiative. 


The application deadline has been extended to Tuesday, May 31st, 2022!

Scholarship Application

The 2015 scholarship convention attendees

Hotel Location

The convention will be held at the DoubleTree Biltmore Hotel in Asheville, NC. Please use the link above to go directly to the booking site for the BDAA. Check your newsletter for the code to get the special discounted convention rate, which will be honored for 2 days pre-convention and 4 days post-convention if you would like to extend your stay.


The BDAA’s special hotel rate must be booked before June 19th, 2022!!! The hotel will likely sell out of rooms during the busy summer season, so it’s imperative that you book early! 


Parking is free, and the hotel serves as a pick-up spot for the daily scheduled “Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Shuttle” to downtown Asheville and for the Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours.

Workshops and Daily Schedule

This year we are offering many of our classic (and favorite) workshops, alongside some new ones.

Click the link for the preliminary workshop schedule!

Preliminary Workshop Schedule


      • Balalaika technique, balalaika choir, and beginning lessons
      • Domra technique, domra choir, and beginning lessons
      • Bayan / accordion
      • Chorus
      • Festival orchestra
      • Contrabass workshop
      • Music lectures
      • Evening concerts, open mic, and jamming
      • Ukrainian Easter egg painting with a local Asheville artist (pysanky)
      • Ukrainian cooking (with food!)
      • A demonstration of Ukrainian lira (hurdy-gurdy)
      • And more to be announced!



Concert Information

The annual BDAA Festival Concert will be held on Saturday, July 16th, 2022 at 7:30 pm in the ballroom of the DoubleTree Biltmore Hotel in Asheville, NC. 

The concert brings together musicians from around the world performing Eastern European and Roma folk music and is the culmination of the BDAA’s annual convention. The performance will feature our virtuoso guest artists with an 80-piece folk orchestra.

This year, a portion of the concert proceeds will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts. We will also collect donations for this important cause during the performance.


Festival Concert Page / Links to Tickets

Free Day Activity: Biltmore Tour

The Tuesday morning/afternoon (7/12) before the convention starts we are offering a planned activity for those who arrive early. We will be touring the Biltmore Estate, which was home to the Vanderbilt family and is the major tourist attraction in Asheville.

The date to purchase a discounted Biltmore Tour ticket has passed. You can still visit the Biltmore on your free day on Tuesday 7/12, but you will have to email BDAA.board (at) gmail.com or book tickets on your own.

How do I get to Asheville and the Hotel?

If flying, the best option is the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). There is no shuttle to the hotel, but ride-sharing services and taxis are available. There is a city bus route available for $1.00 (Asheville Transit – ART S3) from the airport with a stop directly across from the hotel (Hendersonville Rd. @ Irwin St.), but service is limited.

If renting a car, you can also fly into the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), which is about an hour away and may have cheaper rental rates than AVL.


2022 Sponsors / Donors

The BDAA is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of our members, donors, and sponsors. This year the convention and benefit concert are supported by gifts from:


We are seeking additional donations and sponsorships for the concert. If you would like to donate and be recognized here and in our concert playbill / program booklet as an individual or as an organization please click below to go directly to the donation site or email BDAA.board (at) gmail.com for more info.

Donate Here!


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