Our family is getting a crash course in Estonian culture this week as we host two members of the Girls Choir of the Old Town Music House from Talinn, Estonia.
The choir, conducted by Maarja Soone, arrived in town last night and will perform tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Boe Chapel on the St. Olaf College campus. The Northfield Youth Choirs' Concert Choir, of which Louisa is a member, will be singing at the concert, too.
The choir members are ages 14-18 and are on their first concert tour of the United States. Tomorrow evening the choir performs in St. Cloud at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and on Wednesday, it performs with a Hungarian male chorus at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
The two girls staying with us are both 15 years old. We only had about an hour to talk with them last night before bedtime, but we learned several things about Estonia, including the fact that the president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, is known for wearing bow ties (he also grew up in the United States).
One of the girls is a huge fan of Michael Buble. We discovered this as one of his songs played over our Pandora radio service. Minutes later, a song from the musical Wicked came on, and the girls told us in their wonderful English that that they also liked that musical (one had seen the show in London).
Even though it's a short stay, it's been great for my kids to experience how music really does bridge cultures, whether it's classical, pop or another genre. It's too bad the girls have to leave early tomorrow; I'm sure we'd find more common musical ground, if we had more time.