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Triumph in Tallinn

Over the period 27th-30th May, 70 members of the choir performed two concerts in Estonia, the first in the beautiful Jaani Kirik (St John's Church) in Tallinn itself (the yellow fellow on the right) and the second in the acoustically stunning Maarja Magdaleena Kirik in Rapla (below), about 40 miles south of Tallinn.
In both venues we sang to highly appreciative audiences, especially in Rapla where several of the audience were in tears at the end .... for all the right reasons, it should be said!   As is typical in Lutheran churches, and as it was in both cases here, the organ was located in a gallery at the west end of the nave making it a real challenge for Michael and Neil to coordinate between each other for those items with organ accompaniment. True to form, though, Michael took it in his stride and was superb.   It helped that the Jaani Kirik had a second chamber organ near the choir so that was used for the Mendelssohn but the others were played from the gallery.   In Rapla, we cheated a little by singing all the accompanied items from up in the gallery as well!
Tallinn is a wonderful city to visit.   The Estonian people are equally wonderful and very friendly and welcoming - rightly proud of their 'freedom' from previous occupations and what their country has achieved in the past 25 or so years since their last independence.   We stayed in a landmark hotel - the Viru.   It was built in 1972 by a Finnish company during the Russian occupation and was intended to illustrate the "best of the best" of Russian-based hospitality such that visitors would 'see' how wonderful life was under the Russian regime and they would not wish to go out to mix with the local population.   Floor 23 now houses the infamous KGB Museum - originally a radio and eavesdropping office, whose existence was denied by the KGB.
Both our journeys outbound and homebound didn't go exactly quite to plan.    The outbound flight to Helsinki was delayed by more than an hour meaning we had to run to catch the Tallinn ferry by the skin of our teeth, the crew closing the doors right behind us.   Quite a sight - some 90 folks of a diverse range of ages, shapes, sizes, dimensions, levels of fitness, all with wheelie bags running up a gangway with seconds to spare.   Still, it all added to the fun of the whole trip.
Our thanks to Neil and Michael for directing and playing and to Jo for singing the soprano solos with such grace and ease.   They were two wonderful concerts.   Our thanks, too, to our fantastic guides, Heli and Leila, who had pulled all the strings over there, who guided us through the ferry near-miss with such charm, gave us great tours of the city and made all the local arrangements.   Our biggest thanks, though, go once again to Christine who managed and drove everything from this end.   Her organisation was top of the class and we owe her a massive thank you.
Where next?
Posted: 19:19:10 - 04/06/2017

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