Anima Singers Return from Tour of Baltics, Russia

Among those making the trip were 16 Glen Ellyn students.

Submitted by the Anima-Young Singers of Greater Chicago

Forty-one young people from  recently returned from an amazing two-week concert tour to Estonia, Latvia and St. Petersburg, Russian. Participating in this tour were Anima’s most experienced singers who comprise the “Touring Chorus” ensemble. They performed everywhere from the capital cities of Tallinn and Riga to St. Petersburg, Russia. 

The Chorus has been preparing for this tour for more than a year, learning about the culture, the history, the dance and the music. In addition, in May the Chicago Latvian dance troop Dzelmieši were guest artists at the Anima’s spring concert, Under the Baltic Sun.

A very special addition to the trip was having composer Imant Ramiņš accompany the chorus back to his Latvian birthplace. Anima has enjoyed a relationship with Mr. Ramiņš since 1980, and commissioned his opera, The Nightingale, for its 40th Anniversary in 2005. His soulful, beautiful music has impacted hundreds of choristers and Anima was thrilled to share this tour with him.

Choristers ranged in age from 11 to 18 and came from 13 different towns: Aurora, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Roselle, Westmont, Wheaton, Winfield and Woodridge.

Anima sang in concerts with the Youth Choir of Tallinn Music High School in Estonia and with the Cathedral Girl Choir in Riga, Latvia. They performed at the Ogre Cultural Center for Latvian choral conductors, in the Riga Dom, for the Jugla Centre for the Blind and for a residence for older adults in St. Petersburg. They were warmly received everywhere they went and completed their tour in concert at the renowned Glinka Capella in St. Petersburg with the Russian chamber choir, “Serenade”. 

When asked about the tour Artistic Director, Emily Ellsworth, said “This tour took us to a part of the world which places a high value on choral singing. Estonia alone, with a population of 1.4 million, has 1000 choirs with tens of thousands of people singing!  To sing in places with such rich musical heritage was a thrill, and to have composer Imant Ramiņš with us made this the trip of a lifetime.” 

One chorister, Jenna Devries, said “This was my first international tour, and it was absolutely amazing.  The cities we went to, the churches we sang in, and the people we met were all incredible. Sharing music bonds people in a way that is truly unforgettable…We get to connect with the audience, and each other and all learn and grow from the music. I think the music translates in all languages, and there is no better way to experience that then going on tour.” 

Anima is one of the nation's most highly respected children's choirs. Now entering its 48th year, the Chorus is dedicated to providing any interested child with extraordinary choral music experiences through excellence in performance, outstanding music education, serving the community through song, and touring nationally and internationally.

The Chorus serves approximately 800 children from about 40 different Chicago suburban communities, including outreach programs which include the annual Honors Chorus SingFest, ExpressMale Workshop and School Exchanges. Choristers have performed with the world's most prominent conductors at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Millennium Park with the Grant Park Orchestra, the Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera House, and Symphony Center with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.   

All interested children are welcome to join the Chorus and no prior experience is needed. Interested families should call 630-858-2471 for more information or to schedule an appointment for the Chorus' 2012-2013 season.


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