The singers of the Female Alumnae Choir of TUT

Graduates, who can't live without singing

A story about the Female Alumnae Choir of Tallinn University of Technology

Sing'n'Joy Provo

It won't be long until INTERKULTUR welcomes choral friends from all over the world in Provo, Utah. Amongst all participating groups one sticks out due to its country of origin: The Female Alumnae Choir of Tallinn University of Technology from Estonia.

About 32 years ago a group of women graduated from Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) and thus left the Academic Female Choir of TUT. But they could not imagine their lives without singing, especially when the Estonian Song Festival was coming up the next summer. So they persuaded their former conductor Silvia Mellik not to retire from choir conducting but instead take the lead of the Alumnae Female Choir of TUT. At the first rehearsal in 1983, 19 ladies were present and a year later three times more. Today the choir consists of 40 singers but to be a graduate of the University is not a "sine qua non".

"A choir can't exist without a conductor. We are especially lucky to have our current leading conductor Andres Heinapuu. We have had him since the year 2000. He teaches conducting at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, is an active singer himself in Royal Quintet and participates every summer in the Savonlinna Opera Festival choir. Whenever necessary he can sing a solo with us or accompany us on piano. What could one wish for more?" asked one of the singers. "We are fond of our second conductor Tiina Selke, too. She joined us in 2009 and is also a professor of music didactics at Tallinn University."

In the past conductors and singers have changed, but the basic principles of musical activities, the way of life in the choir as well as the warm and cordial atmosphere remained. Old traditions are valued and new traditions introduced. Alumnae Female Choir of Tallinn University of Technology maintains a very amicable relationship with other choirs. In 1988 the choir made friends with the male choirs in Estonia and in Finland as well as with a mixed choir from the Netherlands. 

"Every year in October we celebrate our choir's birthday" tells one the choir's singers. "Then our two relics find new keepers. The Glass Ball, a gift from our first conductor Silvia Mellik, is given to a singer who has shown excellence in performance and attitude during the previous season. A member who has contributed to general welfare of the choir and friendly atmosphere becomes for one year the keeper of the Silver Tray (with her name engraved), a gift from our friends Vantaan Laulu. New singers, who have successfully passed at least a year of apprenticeship, are accepted as members and those who have sung for 10 years are being honored."

The choir's fundraising concert for the trip to Sing'n'Joy Provo 2016

Classical choral music and pieces by Estonian composers belong to the choir's repertoire. In addition to that the singers participated in large projects performing Artur Lemba's cantata "Sea Queen", Ludwig van Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy", Helen Tobias-Duesberg's "Missa Brevis" and "Requiem" and others. At their traditional spring concerts they performed arrangements of well-known tunes from pop-music, musicals and operettas.

"Besides the music and singing we like to travel and every year we try to find a place we have not yet been to. Last year we participated in Cork International Choral Festival in Ireland. This year we are coming overseas for the second time."

INTERKULTUR is so excited to welcoming the charming singers from Estonia to the festival Sing'n'Joy Provo 2016. The choir has the great honor to perform in the legendary "Music and the Spoken Word" concert together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We are especially looking forward to this broadcasting!

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