The strains of the Estonian national anthem Mu Isamaa rang through the Nova Centre in downtown Halifax on Wednesday night as the annual Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo honored Estonia’s Club Piruett as its nightly featured performers.
The elite rhythmic gymnastics group marched alongside bands from Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States carrying the Estonian flag at the conclusion of the evening. The theme of this year’s show is the Power of Peace.
John Soosaar, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Estonia in Nova Scotia, took the salute.
The Estonian girls gymnastics group, formed in Tallinn in 1990, has become a feature of the Tattoo celebrating its 41st t anniversary as Nova Scotia’s signature summer showcase. The Tattoo marks the start of the summer tourist season here and its week-long, twice-daily shows attract many from across Canada and the United States.
This year Club Piruett sent its junior school performers, ranging in age from 12 to 15 years. who recently participated in an international competition in Singapore. Aside from the daily city performances, the girls have also appeared in suburban Sackville and made TV appearances.
The girls are accompanied by their head coach Heili Parras, who was part of the gymnastics group several years ago when they appeared at the Tattoo.
Scott Long, managing director and executive producer of the Tattoo, said a “thread of harmony” is woven throughout the history of Europe and this year’s show focuses on that.
“We’ve chosen to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As global citizens, peace is something that we must strive for.
“Peace is also rooted in friendship, and I’m delighted to welcome friends, both old and new, from Australia, Estonia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Germany sent the 56-member German Air Force Band Erfurt, representing the German Air Force and Japan its Maritime Self-Defense Force Bank from Tokyo. Also appearing is the United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team and the Valley Forge Military Academy and College Regimental Band.
An annual favorite is the Massed Pipes and Drums, featuring the best military, police and civilian pipes and drums units from across Canada.
Aside from the military component of the show are two Irish dance groups, a highland dance group, the Tattoo Choir and the Tattoo Children’s Chorus and Australia’s Black Diamond Drilldance Team.