Record-breaking Estonian National Party

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The last concert of the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration that ended few days ago broke several records and was more popular than the last concert of Michael Jackson in Tallinn.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to song celebration grounds

They came by train through St. Petersburg and from St. Petersburg by bus to here. It took them two and a half or even three days. One of the grandmothers is already 78 and the other 82 years old. It is not easy for them to take on such a trip and travel such a long way. But they are Estonian patriots and thanks to my grandmothers my Estonian is so good!

The 3-day traditional Estonian festival Song and Dance Celebration was visited by 153, 000 listeners-viewers from all over the world, including from the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and of course the neighbouring countries of Estonia. A clear proof of the popularity of the Estonian national celebration is that the number of people visiting the concert of the best known artist of the world, King of Pop Michael Jackson was several thousand less.

In total 864 choirs with 26,430 singers and musicians performed to the masses of people at the Song Celebration that started with a parade that is unique in the world. Hits of classical music as well as Estonian traditional tunes to which people actively sang along, were performed at the Song Celebration ground. The 2-day Song Celebration ended officially on Sunday at 7 PM but people stayed at the festival ground and the choirs kept singing known traditional tunes. Before the night fell the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration ended and the 37, 000 performers returned home.

Singers from all over the world participated at the Song Celebration but the majority of them were from Estonia where choir music is the most popular hobby among people. 26, 430 singers and musicians of children, female and male as well as mixed choirs performed together on Sunday. The oldest singer was 92-year old bass singer Endel Reinberg who went to the Song Celebration for the first time in 1938. To stay in shape, the gentleman goes to choir practice every week.
Paul Kiilaspea, singer of the Toronto Estonian male choir said that the atmosphere at the festival was grand. "Last time we came five years ago. The men are in good mood, people received us very well" said Kiilaspea who will stay in Estonia for a while with his daughter and father.

"To participate in Song Celebration and feel this Estonianess that we have here in Estonia - it's great!" said Caucasian Estonian Arnold Rutto. He has been living in Estonia for the past three years and helped his relatives who had come from Caucasus move about during the Song Celebration.

"We also participated in the parade yesterday. Although we were few, we were seen, heard and greeted. This is really very important, it is a tradition," said Arnold. Both of his grandmothers belong to the 28-member group - among others the 15 singers of the choir Kaukaasia Laulumemmed (Caucasian Singing Mammas) -, who had come from by the Black Sea to enjoy the celebration in Estonia.

"They came by train through St. Petersburg and from St. Petersburg by bus to here. It took them two and a half or even three days. One of the grandmothers is already 78 and the other 82 years old. It is not easy for them to take on such a trip and travel such a long way. But they are Estonian patriots and thanks to my grandmothers my Estonian is so good!"

Indrek Teder, Chancellor of Justice of Estonia who carried the flag of Estonia in the Song Celebration parade thinks that the positive aura of the Song Celebrations is created by the feeling of unity. This was the name of this year's Song and Dance Celebration: To Breathe As One.

The Estonian national celebrations started on Friday with the Pillipidu (Instrument Party) at the Town Hall Square of Tallinn which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage, where the brass bands and traditional music ensembles performed to thousands of Estonians. The popular Dance Celebration took place on Saturday when 534 dance and gymnastics groups with in total 7,460 performers performed. Without exception all shows of the Dance Celebration were sold out and at each show 11, 300 spectators could enjoy traditional Estonian folk dances.

The tickets of the Song Celebration was also stormed - at ticket sales offices everywhere in Tallinn hundreds of people could be seen standing in the queue for hours in order to participate in the beloved concert. At the Song Celebration ground nationally minded Estonians took hours to stand in queues for tickets to see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears the popular choir singing.

The 25th Song and 18th Dance Celebration To Breathe As One was held in Tallinn from July 2nd to July 5th. The celebration was introduced by Folk Music Celebration on Tallinn Town Hall Square, on July 2nd, then followed by three concerts of Dance Celebration "The Sea" and two days long Song Celebration. The author of the idea of the Dance Celebration was Henn Tiivel and the artistic director was Ülo Luht. The artistic director of the Song Celebration was Ants Soots.

Photos, videos and news from Estonian Song and Dance Celebration:

Celebration blog with videos, news and photos: http://tobreatheasone.wordpress.com
Celebration YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/tobreatheasone2009
Celebration Flickr photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobreatheasone
Celebration Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Estonian-Song-and-Dance-Celebration/101478136995

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Lauri Levo
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