Indianapolis song fest runs July 4-8

Thirty-one choirs totaling about 500 singers and 34 folk dance ensembles with about 720 dancers are expected to perform during the 12th Latvian Song Festival in the United States, held this year from July 4-8 in Indianapolis, Ind.

With a theme of “Dziesma, deja – latvju seja” (Song, dance: The Latvian presence), the festival will mirror Latvians’ strong ties to folk songs and dances, the organizing committee said in a press release.

Among highlights of the festival will be the grand joint choir concert, which will include the cantata “Lielā junda Brāļu kapos,” the performance of which will be directed by its composer, Imants Rāmiņš. Besides choirs from across the United States and Canada, the grand concert will include Kamerkoris Ventspils from Latvia.

Twenty-two folk dances and choreographed works are scheduled for the grand dance performance. Among participating dance ensembles will be Līgo, one of the best from Latvia.

Also planned for the song festival are performances of the Anšlavs Eglītis and Andrejs Jansons musical “Homo novus,” the traditional new choreography show, the cabaret show “Kabaremonts” which will unite some of the best known singers in the United States, and a distinguished artists’ concert featuring performances by Pauls Berkholds, Andrew Martens and Laila Saliņa.

The song festival will take place in various venues in downtown Indianapolis, but will be centered at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel.

The second-to-last day of the festival, July 7, coincides with Latvia’s national referendum on amendments to two security laws. To accommodate Latvian citizens who wish to vote, a polling station will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Latvian Community Center, 1008 W. 64th St., Indianapolis. The American Latvian Association will operate a shuttle from the song festival to the pollling station throughout the day.

The song festival schedule includes:

  • July 4: Opening program, a concert of spiritual music, a folk costume show, a get-acquainted dance and the “Kabaremonts” cabaret show.
  • July 5: The “Kabaremonts” cabaret show, the new choreography show, a men’s choir concert, a performance of “Homo novus” and a social evening.
  • July 6: A concert by Kamerkoris Ventspils, the grand folk dance perforance, and two balls, one for youth and one for those “who are young at heart.”
  • July 7: A morning presentation by Latvian writers, a performance by the folk dance troupe Līgo, the grand choir concert, a performance of “Homo novus” and the festival ball.
  • July 8: An ecumenical church service, a folk song concert, the song festival lunch and the distinguished artists’ concert.

For further information, visit the official song festival Web site.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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