BRANDON, MB – A chorale ensemble from Brandon University (BU) School of Music is en route to the Baltic countries of Latvia and Estonia, for a cross-cultural musical sharing with some of those countries’ most respected choir performers and conductors. The BU Chorale will also perform in historically significant venues, including the Niguliste Museum Concert Hall and Riga’s famed Cathedral, which both date back to the 13th century, and Estonia’s oldest and largest university, established in Tartu in 1632.
“The highlight will be the moments when we intermingle and sing together with the Estonians and Latvians, elbow to elbow, heart to heart,” says Chorale Conductor Dr. Andrée Dagenais, School of Music. “You draw so many things from that primary experience of sharing.”
Dr. Dagenais and 19 students will spend ten days performing and participating in workshops and rehearsals with university choristers; visiting music departments at Estonian schools, the Riga Conservatory, and the music faculty of both the University of Tallinn and Tartu University; and spending a day in grade schools in both countries, speaking about Canada, eating lunch in the cafeterias, and getting a real feel for a typical day in students’ lives.
“The people of the Baltic countries obtained their political independence from the Soviet Union by singing protest songs between 1986 and 1991,” says Dr. Dagenais, “a pacifist, singing revolution. The BU Chorale singers will experience the richness, depth and diversity of this cultural scene during our one-in-a-lifetime tour.”
Chorale member Jonathan Klassen, a fourth-year music major at BU, says, “For me, the highlight will be singing with the Latvian and Estonian choirs. We have learned famous, traditional songs in Latvian, German, French, Spanish and English for this tour.” First-year music student Kristian Scott says, “This is my first time to Europe so I am excited to absorb the culture and history, especially since choral music is such a big part of life in the Baltics.”
This is the fifth major trip by the Chorale ensemble since 2000. Brazil, France, Quebec and Cuba have been previous destinations. Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
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|Dr. Andrée Dagenais
Chorale Conductor, School of Music