Following a eventful, month-long tour beginning in Tartu on June 1 and stretching from Saaremaa to Setomaa, Valga to Narva and everywhere in between, the Song Festival flame finally reached the capital city of Tallinn at noon on Wednesday, where its tour continues ahead of the double-jubilee Song and Dance Festival to begin on Thursday.
The Song Festival flame arrived at Tallinn's Seaplane Harbour aboard the sailboat Lulu on Wednesday, after which it was was delivered to Tallinn's medieval Town Hall Square by horse and carriage and festively received by the Estonian capital.
Similarly to Saturday's Song Festival concert, titled "To the Teacher," Wednesday's tour around the city is a nod to teachers, as the flame is visiting schools where current song festival conductors first got their start in music.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Song Festival flame visited the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EMTA), Tallinn University (TLÜ), Tallinn Music High School, and Georg Ots Tallinn Music School, being greeted at each location with choir and orchestral music.
"The backbone of our 150-year song festival tradition has been music education, which is admired the world over," said Janne Fridolin, creative director of the Tallinn leg of the nationwide Relay of the Flame. "We have to be proud and grateful to our teachers, who have upheld music education, and stand to ensure that we do not lose their momentum."
At 6 p.m., a special concert featuring several choirs will be held in the courtyard of the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School, after which the flame will continue on to the Governor's Garden on Toompea Hill, where President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) will deliver a speech and receive the flame.
"At 10:20 p.m., the flame will be taken up to Pikk Hermann tower — the safest place in the entire city for the jubilee festival flame to spend the night," Fridolin said.
Sunset is at exactly 10:39 p.m., at which time the Estonian flag will be lowered to "Mu isamaa on minu arm." The Song Festival flame will be bid goodnight with a final lullaby of diaspora Estonian composer and conductor Roman Toi's "Õhtulaul."
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first Estonian Song Festival to be held in Tartu in 1869.
The XXVII Song and XX Dance Festival "My Fatherland is My Love" ("Minu Arm" in Estonian) will take place from Thursday, July 4 through Sunday, July 7.
Click here for information regarding the schedule, tickets and more.
Editor: Aili Vahtla