USA 2015

The ETV Girls Choir will be spending 9 – 23th July with their conductor Aarne Saluveer in the USA. They will be taking part of the International San Francisco Golden Gate Children’s and Youth festival and giving concerts in Eugene and Los Angeles.

To keep you updated, we will be posting pictures and stories of our trip on our choir blog within the next 2 weeks!
See you soon, Estonia!


Our trip to the US began with a rise!
Tallinn -> Helsinki -> New York -> Seattle – we moved a whole day back in time!

While waiting between the flights we would either listen to music, play cards, use the airport WiFi that has a 30 minute limitation, read, fill in colouring books or ride in luggage carts!

After the flights we had another 6 hours to ride in the cold airconditioned bus to make it into the Oregon University dorms by 4 in the morning. It’s still a big question for us: why is there so much airconditioning indoors? The only warm spot on the bus was the toilet. Every now and then we would go and warm ourselves there.

DAY 2-3

Our day began with a morning rehearsal at Soreng Theatre where we gave an hour long concert in the afternoon. We had the rest of the day and the next day to see the city.

The street art in Eugene is a sight on it’s own! 

Some of us made it into the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House museum where we learnt a bit more about the history of the city. 11756599_926610140730162_160055247_n

A baker’s dozen of us spent their saturday morning river rafting. The colder weather gave us more of a reason to move ourselves a bit more inside the boats and paddle faster than the other boat. We sang a lot of old and very very old choir songs and also enjoyed listening to the birds singing on the McKenzie river.


On Friday we had the opportunity to go listen to Canadian Brass within in the Oregon Bach Festival. 11733360_926245727433270_974865990_n

On our last night in Eugene some of us went to listen the rehearsal for Mahler’s 2nd Symphony at Soreng Theatre. The music left us humming for the whole night!

 DAY 4-10

On Sunday evening, after another long busride, we finally made it to San Francisco. Everyone’s host family lived in suburbs: Piedmont, Berkeley, Alameda and Oakland.

Already on our night of arrival we got to experience the real America!

The portions in the US are gianormous!

The people are very bold!

With Monday was also the start of the festival week! Every morning we would have rehearsals from 9-12am with all the festival choirs.

On the first day there was a welcoming picnic in the San Francisco sunlight by lake Merritt. We ate and drank, sang and danced, and played choir games! IMG_6849

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In the evening all the choirs would perform in the festival opening at Scottish Rite Center.IMG_6841


On Tuesday we would perform for the workers at the Pandora Headquarters. The night was free for everyone to shop and listen to other choirs in the festival’s Spotlight Concerts.

On Wednesday Stanford University Librarian Michael Keller would give us a tour on the campus and show us the library. 11703176_928731563851345_1900911584405522905_n


The tour was followed by a rehearsal and concert at Stanford Memorial Church. Near 700 people listened to us that night! Both in Pandora and Stanford we were conducted by our own dear singer Karin Kuulpak, because concurrently Aarne was sitting behind the jury table for the festival. Karin was wonderful and the concert went extremely well! She is a huge rolemodel to us! 

We got Nike bags with the Stanford logo as presents – we’re going to be making them our official choir bags!

The concert was followed by a party at Michael Keller’s. We got to eat and drink there and chat with the people who had been to the concert.
11221412_928731820517986_5061449243351650883_n      On Thursday we were back at Scottish Rite Center. We had a 30 minute performance and later watched the movie To Breathe As One. It talks about the Estonian Song Festival and how one of the festival’s most important conductors and our good friend Robert Geary took part in the festival last year. After the movie had finished everyone had tears in their eyes and was filled with longing for Laulupidu.

On Friday we had a shortened rehearsal and the rest of the day we got to fill with going sightseeing and shopping with choirmates or our host families. The weather was beautiful, the sales were big, everything was A+!

On Saturday we had our last …choir practice and the closing of the festival. After the closing ceremony there was a disco where all the singers could show off their moves. After hours on the dancefloor everyone said goodbye to their friends, there was sobbing and hugging on every corner.

The last day San Francisco we had the opportunity to fill from sunrise to sunset. We enjoyed our day to the fullest by spending it with our host families and choirmates: we went sightseeing, shopping, rode around downtown San Francisco in cable cars. Some of us even climbed up Lombard Street.

DAY 13-15

With a 6h trainride and 2h busride, the new week drove us to LA! IMG_7054

We didn’t have to wait long until our new host families were ready to take us all to their homes (with our now much heavier suitcases).

On Tuesday most of our choir went to explore downtown LA in Hop-on Hop-off buses.

We also saw the Hollywood and Beverly Hills areas. 

We made a longer stop on LA’s oldest theatre street and the walk of fame. We hope to see ourselves there too one day!

We had the evening to spend with our host families in either a nice restaurant, drive-in cinema, watch the sunset at the Santa Monica Pier or just watch Netflix at home.

We didn’t have plans for Wednesday morning wither so many of us went to the beach before practice.

During daytime we prepaired for the last concert of our trip in Pasadena Presbyterian Church with the LA Children’s Chorus and the Finnish choir Vox Aurea.
Before stepping on stage we sat in a circle for one last time, all of our choir together, and thanked Karin, who was responsible for us throughout the whole trip, and Aarne, and each other.

And with that concert was also the end of our official program in the USA!

Half of the choir decided to spend a few more days in LA and even fly to New York. The other half though, bought loads of doghnuts and flew home with them in the early morning of Thursday!

That’s how our wonderful choirtrip ended: full of laughter, singing, happiness, warm weather, new friends, new memories!

Our folks will be hearing more from each and every one of us soon! Aidaa!