Senior School choir captures Estonian hearts

Sydenham High’s Senior School choir has returned in triumph from a concert tour of Estonia (13-18 April) having won the hearts of their audiences with magical vocal performances. They even found themselves headlining the local press as well as the concerts.

The 31-strong choir – some of whom are as young as 11 – amazed and delighted their hosts with their strong, clear voices and ability to sing from memory in four languages, including Estonian.  In fact many audience members were moved to tears when the choir performed the traditional and much-loved Estonian Ta Lendab – the Mesipuu or Bee Hive song.

Led by Choral Director Caroline Lenton-Ward and accompanied by Director of Music Andrew Baars, the girls sang to hugely appreciative audiences in four venues: the medieval Holy Ghost Church and Hopner House in Tallin, the colonnaded University Hall in Tartu and the atmospheric St Peter’s Church in Viljandi.

In between performances and rehearsals, the girls had the opportunity to explore Estonian culture, take in spectacular views and architecture and visit some of the country’s most popular attractions such as the Open Air Museum.

Caroline Lenton-Ward said: “The girls were utterly amazing; their singing, behaviour, sheer enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment of not only the concerts but all the other cultural and educational experiences were something very special to be part of. And their singing was so poised and polished; I had tears in my eyes more than once.  We had so many positive comments from our audiences; I am immensely proud of them.”

Here are just some of those translated comments:-

“Sydenham High School girls’ choir are the real cultural ambassadors – non-one would stand up applauding with tears in their eyes for a grown-up attaché!”

“Years ago we went to (see) the Vienna boys choir in Tartu and we can confidently say that the Sydenham girls sang better.”

“The concert was super.  People were crying.  Let more such choirs come here please!”

“The girls sang like professionals.  The songs were sung really clearly.  This concert was a huge event (for Tartu).”

Headteacher Kathryn Pullen said: “I am really proud of our amazing girls and their music.  Music is an international language as the choir’s fantastic repertoire in English, French, Latin and Estonian really underlines.”

Click here to listen to the choir’s performance of the Bee Hive song at Hopner House in Tallinn.