The sounds of Russia play throughout Northeast Ohio - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

The sounds of Russia play throughout Northeast Ohio

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MOGADORE, Ohio - You don't have to travel to Sochi to enjoy the cultural experience surrounding the Olympic games, because the sounds of Russia can be heard right here in Northeast Ohio.

Each week members of the St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra step away from the rush of the day to play the notes that take them back in time.

"It's just so fulfilling, the music is so moving and it all has a story, everything has a story and it is, it's very much therapy for a lot of people," Mary Jane Malackany says, orchestra organizer.

The Russian folk orchestra from Mogadore, has been playing music for crowds for almost three decades. They travel across the county and makes stops throughout Ohio, including Youngstown. 

They practice for hours each week and travel long distances all to share their love of music with those who will lend their ear.

"When you go to a performance, especially if you happen to have some older ones in the audience, and they remember their parents or grandparents and when you're performing and you see those tears coming down their faces, it's one of the most heartwarming things you can experience," Malackany says.

During tough times, having this outlet has helped some get along. Nadya Stallings, of Canton, began playing the Gusli after she was laid off in 2009. Practicing and playing the instrument, which looks like a hybrid harp and piano, is one way she moved forward with her life.

"I grew up with this music, I had no problem reading this music, because it went through all my childhood and youth on TV and radio," Stallings says.

The 25 members range in age, and while they're not all from the country of the music's origin-- there's no denying they're Russian at heart.

The instruments are imported from Russia and each creates a unique sound. When they play together, the music of a nation comes alive.

You can listen to the sounds of Russia this summer, as the St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra is set to perform June 21 at the Simply Slavic Festival in downtown Youngstown.

 

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