90 years old and still pretty glamorous

Ok so here's the Latvian 90th anniversary celebration roundup! Someone up high smiled at us benevolently this year and gave us a four-day weekend to celebrate. One of the highlights was definitely the light festival that was held over the long weekend. I'm glad I wasn't on the organising committee for the celebrations, because if someone would have pitched the idea to me: "our major event for Latvia 90 is going to be a festival where we light up objects all over Riga" I would have told them to go away and come up with something more interesting. But oh, what a mistake I would have made! The light festival around Riga was nothing short of brilliant. Familiar landmarks around the city were lit up with the latest in lighting technology - and while each separate 'light installation' was a fairly quick view, the overall experience was quite inspiring and exciting. Our local park, Vermandarzs, was filled with huge coloured floating globes, and the old oak and linden and fir trees were lit up individually, so that you noticed (for the first time ever) how sculptural the trunk was, or what a space was created by the shape of the branches. There was a certain eerie wonderment to strolling through such a familiar environment which was lit more like a moonscape than a park. Other highlights included the national theatre (where Latvian independence was declared), lit up in faded willy wonka candy colours - like an old, hand-coloured photograph; the fountain in front of the opera house covered in a big plastic bubble - like a snowdome - and the lady inside lit to look like a mermaid underwater; the dome square laden with moving projections of birds and clouds and flowers; and burning posts of fire grouped together outside the Arsenal art gallery, whereby a man would periodically come and dump a bucket of fuel of some kind in the top and sparks would rush up skyward. The whole of Riga was out and about on these nights (which started around 5pm when it was already pitch black!) and the city streets felt alive, happy and bustling.
And then... there was independence day itself. Every year we put down flowers at the freedom monument - this year we had to do it in the dark because during the day there were so many concerts and official proceedings in front of the monument we couldn't get near it. The boys went to the military parade and apparently were very excited by the helicopters and guys in uniforms in armoured personnel carriers.
My own personal excitement on independence day this year was participating with "Saucejas", my singing group, in a piece of music that was composed especially for this occassion by one of Latvia's well-known composers. We were lucky enough to be involved from the beginning, and the part that we sang was written especially with us in mind. Other groups that participated were the "Suitu sievas" (for those who know them) and "Auļi" (a bagpipe/drumming group), a well-known opera singer, the Latvian symphony orchestra and the Latvian radio choir. It was a real experience going to rehearsals over the past few weeks - to see up close the discipline and professionalism of the symphony orchestra and their conductor was impressive. I've got to say that "calling" a song while I had the symphony orchestra accompanying was also pretty cool! So most of my day was spent in a last-minute rehearsal and then in the concert itself, but well worth it. The piece was based on interpretations of the song "Put Vejini", and was quite moving at times. My parents actually made the trip up from Saldus to attend the concert, which was a treat for us, because they come to Riga so rarely these days.
Anyhow, while on the subject of Latvia 90 I should also give an update on the suiting issue for Tiss - I ended up making a compromise and buying him a nice shirt and slacks (sans jacket) for the occassion. Tiss himself was very happy with the outfit, and he fitted in perfectly :). I've added some pics below. One part of his little concert that moved me to tears (you know, laughing and crying at the same time) was that aside from the poem that Tiss said, something along the lines of "Latvia has big rivers, big forests, and a big sea...", he also got to do some solo song "calling", which he hadn't told me about, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that my son is a good singer, confident and very serious on stage!


The pre-school Independence day concert


Rehearsing with the orchestra



One Response so far.

  1. Marite says:

    Hey I like your new look!

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