Tallinn's Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) was treated to a live musical performance from the U.S. First Infantry Division orchestra as this year's Christmas market drew to a close. Soldiers from the division are in Estonia ahead of a joint training session with the Second Infantry Brigade of the Estonian Defense Forces in Võru.
According to vendors working at Tallinn's Christmas market, little has happened on the main stage since Christmas, so the orchestra's performance provided a welcome finale to this year's winter season.
Even though the Americans aren't used to performing in Estonia's winter conditions, they still managed to put in a strong performance.
"We rarely perform in these conditions. As you could see, the instruments tended to freeze. We don't usually play in this kind of weather. But we made an exception to play here, in the historic Old Town," said conductor Gena Duran.
"We will participate in the winter (training) camp with the Estonians at the end of January, and beginning of February. We look forward to the opportunity to learn from (them). The conditions here are different from those we've experienced before, so let's see what we can learn from the Estonian Defense Forces," said U.S. First Infantry Division Artillery Commander Colonel Richard J. Ikena.
Tallinn's Christmas market closed on January 8, and the stalls will now disappear from Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) until next fall. According to market vendors, this festive season was the worst for business in six years. While there were a lot of visitors to the market, both from Estonia and abroad, most were just looking, not buying.
Editor: Michael Cole