Estonia held its first song festival, Laulupidu, in 1869. The grounds where it is held became the focal point of the “Singing Revolution,” which helped win its independence between 1987 and 1991. The festival itself is held every five years, so 2019 was its 150th anniversary.
In 2014, the same year as our tour, our own Michael Peterson was able to participate in the festival, which has now grown to about 35,000 singers. To do so, he had to audition and show that he was able to sing the repertoire in Estonian.
|Links about Laulupidu and Estonia
Wikipedia, Singing Revolution
History of Estonia and the Singing Revolution
The Singing Revolution movie trailer
And this one, from the Allan Petker Chorale’s tour video:
Estonian TV clip from the 2014 festival
This final video of our nested miniseries on freedom and independence is another poem by Sara Teasdale, set to music by Frank Ticheli, “There Will Be Rest.” It begins by showing a common tour phenomena, our excitement in finding our name posted outside the Holy Spirit Church where we would be performing later.
It also includes our visit to the grounds where Laulupidu is held and where a statue of Gustave Ernesaks literally sits. He wrote “Mu isamaa on minu arm” (“My Fatherland is my Love”), a song that became an unofficial national anthem during a period when the Soviets banned the singing of Estonia’s national anthem.