The Vatican City team including Kristina Agur – far left and Sam Barton – far right.
Reede, 14 September 2012 13:54
Sam Barton - Estonian Life No. 37 2012
Summer can be an exciting time for a professional musician; one is thrust outside of the routine of regular rehearsals and concerts, and one finds themselves involved in rather interesting projects. While a number of Estonian events usually take place in these warmer months, this summer was a quieter time for song festivals allowing Estonia Choir members to engage in other pursuits.
I had a sizable number of projects, most notably one taking place in my homeland of the UK. For the past few years I have been taking part in a concept known as 'music camp', not like 'camp' in the North American sense, where children and teenagers go out into the woods, sleep in cabins, and partake in a variety of activities; but instead, a place where professional and amateur musicians get together to play music to each other at a high standard. The wonderful thing about this place is that it is not a commercial venture that one applies to go to, but it is instead a place where one is invited by a current camper. To be the right kind of participant here, one cannot rely on just their musical prowess, but also needs to have a strong sense of community, after all, everyone is camping together, and so there is an expectation that everyone takes part in the day to day running of camp.
In talking to my friend Kristina, not long after I moved to Toronto, I found that the Estonian Girl Guides and Boy Scout camp Kotkajärv up in Muskoka follows very similar principles as a community. She took me up there just after Christmas in 2010, and I saw it for myself. Having seen that she had grown up going to a place like that, I knew straight away that she would be a perfect candidate for music camp. This summer, with Kristina already in Europe in July participating in an opera program, seemed the perfect opportunity to bring her to along.
As this year was also going to be my conducting debut at camp (I had been playing double bass previously), I decided to bring some Canadian-Estonian joy to the repertoire, and picked for the choir, the Requiem by Canadian composer Eleanor Daley; and Kaks laulu Ernst Enno sõnadele by Veljo Tormis, who very kindly granted me permission to use and distribute the score. This piece by Tormis was a rather nice choice for introducing Estonian to a new bunch of people, as the 'kaks laulu' sort of 'book-end' his composing career; the first was written early on in 1948, and the second was written in 1998, and has a poignant text for the Estonian people: 'Kuulmata kuskil kumiseb kodu'. Musically, all that needs to be said is, see on väga ilus! The choir loved singing it, and the orchestra loved hearing it; hopefully there are some new Estonian converts now lurking around the UK...
While music is the main focus of camp, there are of course other things that take place; projects happen, such as a staging of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which had around two days of preparation; providing a wind-band (without need for rehearsal) for the nearby village fete; an arbitrarily scored pub quiz; an incredibly large amount of knitting; a conductor performing an Elvis-themed cabaret (that wasn't me!); a 7.30am wake-up call in the form of a performance of the scene of Brünnhilde's entrance in Wagner's Der Walküre, accompanied by an orchestra of trumpet, trombone, piccolo, and ukulele; and to celebrate the events taking place nearby in London, our own version of the Olympics, which included events such as throwing a giant inflatable hammer, peeling potatoes, an 'equestrian' event, and a team synchronized dance to unknown music. My team was the Vatican City. [photo attached. It may be too inappropriate, but I'm happy for it to go in; Kristina's permission would be good to have too!]
So there is a glimpse of what just two Estonia Choir members did to pass the long summer months. With the new season upon us I look forward to unleashing ever more weird and wonderful musical techniques upon the choirs I conduct, but I will be kind and allow a mass choral massage to begin each rehearsal...
Estonia Choir rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings from 7-9:30 pm in the Crystal Hall at the Toronto Estonian House, 958 Broadview Avenue starting on September 6th. This year the choir will participate in many larger scale performances including a Christmas concert "Jõulutervitus" on December 1st with other North American Estonian Choirs, the 95th anniversary Estonian Independence Day celebrations on February 24th as well as Seedrioru's Song Festival in June 2013. As for next summer (2013), the Estonia Choir will participate in the 30th West Coast Estonian Days/ESTO 2013 in San Francisco.
New singers are always welcome. For information, please contact Riina Klaas: See e-posti aadress on spämmirobotite eest kaitstud. Selle nägemiseks peab su veebilehitsejas olema JavaSkript sisse lülitatud.
OR (416) 444-5613.