There are many reasons that can lead a group to tour. Some groups strive to connect with local audiences through sharing of their music. Others want the thrill of performing in specially-chosen halls. For the Lexington High School Choirs from Lexington, Massachusetts, one of their priorities was to touch history. Specifically, that of Estonia’s Singing Revolution.
Along with preparing their music, they also enhanced their cultural understanding by watching a film, The Singing Revolution, and holding a fundraising dinner complete with costumes and folk dancing. They even received a visit from a representative of the Estonian Consulate in New York, who was thrilled to hear about their tour.
They also had personal connections to the country: one of the students had family in Poltsaama, which led to including on the itinerary a day trip to the town and school. Also, a beloved music teacher in Lexington is Estonian and worked with the students for months preparing diction for their singing and historical information for their cultural understanding.
Finally, after months of work, fundraising and rehearsing, the group found themselves on a plane bound for Europe. Their first concert was in Helsinki’s Rock Church, followed by a ferry trip the next morning across the Gulf of Finland to Estonia.
It was a cold day for mid-April, but after the buses pulled into the parking lot of the Estonia Song Festival site in Tallinn, every last person was eager to go outside and see it in person.
They posed in front of the statue of Estonian composer and choral conductor Gustav Ernesaks, who keeps watch over the grounds.
After listening to the tour guide share some stories and more history, finally came the moment they’d been waiting for.