Defense minister wants EDF orchestra to continue as part of war museum

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The Orchestra of the Estonian Defense Forces in 2018. Source: Riigikogu

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) wrote a proposal to the interior and culture ministers to create a joint orchestra out of the Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) and Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) orchestras, which will continue administratively as part of the Estonian War Museum.

"It is important that ceremonial events of the EDF and PPA, along with the president and foreign services, could be organized with dignity going forward and the orchestra is undoubtedly a part of that," Laanet said via a defense ministry press release.

The minister said the new work organization solution would give the orchestra better options to produce and develop top-level wind music.

Laanet proposed that the defense ministry would ensure the orchestra's base funding along with a proportional contribution from the interior ministry. In addition, the defense ministry would provide the orchestra with rehearsal rooms and instruments.

"From the point of state management, this means a cut of about €1 million and we will still have a professional orchestra with more diverse rosters than before. I believe it is a great victory for our state structures and national culture," Laanet penned.

The work group consisting of defense, interior and culture ministry officials will work out the exact details of the orchestra's organization, promising to cooperate with orchestra representatives.

The representative orchestra will mainly perform on commissions by the EDF and the defense ministry, the PPA, the president's office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It will also gain the option of earning their own income, an option the EDF orchestra did not have before.

ERR News wrote on May 17 that the EDF would lay off their entire orchestra as a measure to meet the government's austerity plans. The PPA's orchestra followed soon, but an idea to merge the two orchestras was proposed by the Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center).

The head of the PPA's orchestra Kristiina Veedre said that it might seem easy on paper to merge the orchestras of PPA and the Defense Forces, but in reality, it could cause a lot of headaches.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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