25 September 2008

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Thursday, 25th September 2008

Today was a very long day. On the bus by 06h30 to travel to Kuressaare on the Sareemaa island. Following behind was the Estonian TV Children's Choir, with whom we are also staying. They will be visiting us in March 2009. The trip includes a ferry transfer of about 40 minutes, bus and all.

Sareemaa is Estonia's largest island and Kuressaare its largest town, with a population of about 30 000 people. We first visited the Kuressaare Gymnasium, a school of about 1 200 children, where we had a short performance shared by a local choir, the ETV Choir and ourselves. Once again the adults (even Louis) were crying their eyes out with the mass performance of the Estonian song. Even though we do not understand the words, the meaning comes through so clearly in the music and one cannot help to be emotional.

After lunch at the school we were taken on a short bus tour of Kuressaare, where the autumn colours are now really starting to make an impact. We walked up to the 12th century castle. It is not a big castle, but very well preserved and it contains interesting exhibitions of life on the island through the ages.

Our evening concert at the Siioni Church was well attended by an appreciative audience and we left the island feeling very happy and contented. Of course the trip back was not quite as exciting as going there as it was dark and we were tired, resulting in most of us getting a bit of shut-eye. Our poor hosts had to pick us up at midnight and everybody will be a bit bleary-eyed in the morning.

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