25,000 musicians gather under arch for Youth Song Festival rehearsals

XXVII Song Festival
XXVII Song Festival "My Love" in 2019. Source: Sven Zacek

Regional preliminary rehearsals for the XIII Youth Song Festival have concluded, and the artistic committee has selected the choirs and orchestras that will perform beneath the arch on the Song Festival Grounds on July 2. Approximately 25,000 musicians and singers will participate in the summer festival.

Pärt Uusberg, the artistic director of the XIII Youth Song Festival, is happy with the outcome of the lengthy regional per-rehearsals, which began in January and are now finished.

"These rehearsals were a lot of excitement and joy for me personally. I participated in many of them and I found the repertoire to be very interesting and well-practiced," the artistic director said.

Uusberg said that "all that remained was the last step of reuniting under the arch in about a month and a half to enjoy the fruits of their joint labor."

The XIII Youth Song Festival's music editor, Kersti Seitam, said that while the pandemic has affected the choir and orchestra activity, it has not dampened the excitement of singers and young musicians.

"The average level was quite high," she said, adding that "the significance of the teachers' contribution to the preservation and transmission of the Song Festival tradition should not be overstated."

According to Seitam, the exact number of participants in the 13th Youth Song Festival is not precise. "It will take some time to tally the numbers, as some children and youngsters will be performing in multiple groups. We estimate that there will be approximately 25,000 performers at the Song Festival, including more than 22,600 choral vocalists and nearly 2,300 symphony and brass band musicians," she said.

Seitam pointed out that the majority of the choirs performing are children's choirs and mixed choirs. "In addition to the Estonian musicians and singers, there will be about 300 performers from abroad," she added.

On Tuesday, the Song Festival organizing team contacted the choirs selected for the festival. The information will also be posted on the website for the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival.

"At the end of June, we are expecting the choirs and orchestras to Tallinn Song Festival Grounds for the final rehearsals, where the whole program will be put the finishing touches to it," the music editor said.

"Holy is the Land" is the motto of the XIII Youth Song Festival, which was conceived by the festival's general director, Pärt Uusberg.

He said that Hando Runnel's poem "Light!" inspired him and best encapsulates his vision for the youth festival. The combined choirs will perform a portion of Uusberg's composition based on the same poem at the XIII Youth Song Festival.

Tallinn will host the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival from June 30 to July 2. The "Bridges" dance performance will take place on June 30 and July 1, followed by the "Päriselt" folk music festival on July 1. On July 2, the Song Festival procession and "Holy is the Land" celebration will take place.

Pärt Uusberg is the artistic director of the XIII Youth Song Festival, while Agne Kurrikoff-Herman is the featured performer at the XIII Youth Dance Festival. Juhan Uppin is the folk music festival's general manager.


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Editor: Karmen Rebane, Kristina Kersa

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