■ In 1963, the sixth LEP, which was the first one I participated in, I performed on the piano at the opening ceremony. I was 12 years old and a young concert pianist at that time. I remember being very nervous on the stage. I remember my mom saying "Mati, don't worry. Everything will be fine". And this statement is what I have remembered for all of the subsequent LEP-s I played for.
■ In 1973, the ninth LEP, I remember I was in charge of the teen dance and activities at the beach. I remember there was a wonderful contingent of Toronto teens that came to participate (this was after the Esto in Toronto in 1972). I made wonderful friends from this event, of whom several became life-long acquaintances.
■ In 1975, the twelfth LEP, I recall driving up to San Francisco. Rein Luik was the President of these days. He had the event take place at Mills College. It was such a warm reception with so many participants from Toronto and the US east coast.
■ In 1981, the fifteenth LEP, I remember coming back from Esto in Stockholm the year before, where the Puus Brothers Band performed for the first time. We performed the second time at this LEP on a boat back from the Rahvapidu. What a blast. I also remember accompanying Urmas Kärner on the piano when he performed on stage at the Noorte Talentide õhtu. He sang "Tallinn" and it brought the house down.
■ In 1983, at the 16th LEP in San Francisco, I remember taking an active leadership role with Peeter Gruner being in charge. I remember the fantastic Salakõrts at SF State College; the infamous Toga Party in the dorm rooms; Rahvatants on Union Square; and the party for my closest 135 friends in my Pacific Heights Victorian prior to the start of the days. It was fun and wild.
■ In 1989, the 19th LEP in Los Angeles, I remember when Rock Hotel came to visit and perform. I remember their performance at the Roxy night club on Sunset Strip. I remember their performance in San Francisco too. It was the awakening time in Eesti – and there was such excitement and an "electric" feeling during the LEP.
■ In 1993, the 21st LEP in San Francisco, I was the President. I remember all of the planning to make this a success. I remember all of the wonderful and hard work done by all of the VPs and event directors. I remember Rahvapidu in Napa Valley, the Laulupidu on Union Square (under the direction of Saima Kint), the elegant Grand Ball at the St Francis Hotel and all of the wonderful solo performances. I also remember the Salakõrts at the Elk's Lodge, the same place we are having it in 2013. For me, it was such fun, playing again with the Puus Brothers. I also remember taking one of the busses from Napa Valley coming back to San Francisco and doing a detour at Valdek Parik's house. Image a 60-person bus stopping on a residential street to party on the block.
■ In 2001, the 25th LEP in San Francisco, I remember Valdek Parik organizing it and the wonderful Rahvapidu at Castle Rock, the same place we are with LEP-ESTO 2013. Karin Sillat was in charge of this event and it was so memorable.
■ I could go on and on with memories, but I know that Ingrid Echter and her team are putting on an absolutely fabulous LEP-ESTO, which draws from our past success and creates a brand new beginning of LEPs on the West Coast. We want to draw all generations of Estonians, from every walk of life, no matter whether born in Estonia or Ecuador or Edmonton. We wish to celebrate our Estonian heritage and showcase it to the west coast as well as the world. We want everyone from Toronto to participate in what is going to be a world class experience.
Eesti Elu Nr. 26 - 30. juuni 2022 DIGILEHT
Kõik numbrid koos sisukorraga: www.issuu.com/estonianlife
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