Established in 1870 and still continuing as the oldest Estonian academic fraternal order, the Estonian Student’s Society (Eesti Üliõpilaste Selts – EÜS) values not only academic achievement, patriotism, brotherhood, but also song – singing together whenever the occasion allows.
Their choir’s upcoming concert tour called “First We Take Manhattan” already bespeaks of the enthusiasm and upbeat dedication with which they approach singing. Scheduled to join an academic “sing along” at Tartu College on June 23, they will present a concert at Estonian House in Toronto on June 24 and also sing at an academic mid-summer gathering at Jöekääru on June 25.
Prior to arriving in Toronto, they will already have taken Manhattan by storm (perhaps even the United Nations) and sung in Lakewood, Baltimore, Washington. After Toronto (including Ehatare) their tour takes them back to New York.
EÜS’s singing tradition is as old as the Society itself. One of the explicit reasons for the founding of EÜS was to learn choral singing in four part harmony. By 1890, being directed by the legendary composer, linguist, historian, journalist and Estonian nationalist Karl August Hermann, EÜS was presenting public concerts. Later, under the direction of composer and conductor Aleksander Läte, EÜS’s choir continued to be active until 1940 when the Soviet Union occupied Estonia and all academic organizations were banned.
But clandestine singing together continued in Estonia and in full voicwe in the EÜS chapters in exile. The choir was formally re-established in 2004, at Tarmo Jürisson’s home, a few hours after XXIV Estonian Song Festival had sung its last song.
The choir’s repertoire includes the classics of male choral music, patriotic and student songs, contemporary choral arrangements, popular music and musical pieces specifically arranged for the choir. They have passed rigorous auditions, sung at numerous occasions and venues, and also under the baton in 2010 of popular conductor Hirvo Surva.
The Estonian Student’s Society choir is poised to extended musical greetings to you from Estonia.
The Estonian Student’s Society’s “First We Take Manhattan”