VES Estonian 97th Independence Day Program, 2015
Thank you to everyone who attended and helped with the Eesti Vabariigi 97. aastapäeva aktus. With close to 100 people in attendance in the Meie Kodu hall, it was a beautiful afternoon celebrating together Estonia's 97th Independence Day.
The program's emcee, VES President Thomas Pajur, welcomed everyone followed by a prayer read by St. Peter's Lutheran Minister Algur Kaerma. Independence Day greetings from the BC Premier were read by Estonian Honorary Consul in Vancouver Harry Jaako, and kind greetings were passed on from the President of the Lithuanian Community of BC, Birute Macijauskas. Congratulations to Irene Olljum for receiving a Canadian Estonian Medal of Merit from the Estonian Central Council in Canada, for her dedication and service to the Estonian community.
This year's guest speakers came from within the Vancouver Estonian community, all answering the question of 'What Does My Estonian Heritage Mean to Me'. 6 submissions were received, 4 of which were presented during the program by: Marie Kaul-Rahiman (on behalf of Jessie and Kristen), Michelle Kangro and Ingrid Soide (on behalf of Vivien). The stories and poem read were warm and heartfelt, and reflected the proud voices of Estonians from the community. A love of music and singing in Vancouveri Segakoor was repeated, along with memories of Laulu-ja Tantsupidu in Tallinn, and poetic stories telling the beautiful connection and calling of Estonian Heritage. Submissions not presented were available for all to read before and after the program. Thank you to the following for sharing their stories: Kristen Dobbin, Michelle Kangro, Jessie Anneli Viirlaid McNeil, Ingrid Soide (and Arvo Marits), Vivien Soide and Brigid Zurock.
The Vancouver Estonian Mixed Choir - Vancouveri Segakoor - captivated the audience with beautiful Estonian choral pieces led by choir director Thomas Kirves, followed by a presentation by the L.E.P. 2015 Executive committee welcoming everyone to Whistler this summer, and a flag procession led by the Kuuskmann family children. At the end of the program was a reception with delicious cake and conversations that lasted well into the afternoon.
It was definitely a lovely afternoon where everyone came together, connected and shared their love and pride for our homeland, Estonia.
A special suur tänu to Eesti Sihtkapital Kanadas for their kind support in making this event possible.