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Young Lithuanians dressed in traditional national costumes get ready to present the flags. (Photo by J. Kuprys)

A Song Festival to Be Long-Remembered

by Rimas Cernius with photos by Jonas Kuprys and Arvydas Zabulionis

2015-09-15-LHERITAGE

Lithuanian song festivals in North America are special and rare events. The first one took place in Chicago’s Coliseum in 1956. This year the 10th Lithuanian Song Festival took place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago on July 5th. It was a truly festive event. Memories of the festival will linger with singers and audience members alike for a long time. Thanks to photographers Jonas Kuprys and Arvydas Zabulionis, here are some memorable moments from a very special song festival. You can view a 90-minute extract filmed by Lithuanian Radio and Television at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8eT1XCTzz0

The children’s chorus took an active part in the Festival. Dressed in tee-shirts with the mascots of the Festival–orange and yellow birds nicknamed Melody and Rhythm–the children let their voices be heard (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The children’s chorus took an active part in the Festival. Dressed in tee-shirts with the mascots of the Festival–orange and yellow birds nicknamed Melody and Rhythm–the children let their voices be heard (Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

All rise as the flags of the United States of America, Canada and Lithuania enter the UIC Pavilion. (Photo by A. Zabulionis)
All rise as the flags of the United States of America, Canada and Lithuania enter the UIC Pavilion. (Photo by A. Zabulionis)

 

Close to 1,400 singers from a total of 65 choral groups came to sing at the Festival. They traveled from all parts of the United States and Canada, plus there was one group from England and five groups from Lithuania. The audience was able to get a closer look at the singers thanks to a large screen that showed streaming video of the performers. (Photo by J. uprys)
Close to 1,400 singers from a total of 65 choral groups came to sing at the Festival. They traveled from all parts of the United States and Canada, plus there was one group from England and five groups from Lithuania. The audience was able to get a closer look at the singers thanks to a large screen that showed streaming video of the performers. (Photo by J. uprys)

 

Two soloists from Lithuania brought their artistry to the song festival. Shown here, singer Rasa Serra and musician Saulius Petreikis perform a Lithuanian folk song "Vaikštinėjo Tėvulis" ("My Dear Dad Was Walking")(Photo by J. Kuprys)
Two soloists from Lithuania brought their artistry to the song festival. Shown here, singer Rasa Serra and musician Saulius Petreikis perform a Lithuanian folk song “Vaikštinėjo Tėvulis” (“My Dear Dad Was Walking”)(Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

Soloists Rasa Serra and Rima Birutienė join the chorus for the song “Lek’ Gervė” ("The Crane"). (Photo by A. Zabulionis)
Soloists Rasa Serra and Rima Birutienė join the chorus for the song “Lek’ Gervė” (“The Crane”). (Photo by A. Zabulionis)

 

Conductor Raimondas Katinas from Lithuania leads the chorus in the song "Padainuosim Mes Sustoję" ("We Will Sing Standing Up"). Here he commands the chorus (and the audience too) to lie down like little birds. This was one of several songs where the audience was able to sing along. (Photo by J. Kuprys)
Conductor Raimondas Katinas from Lithuania leads the chorus in the song “Padainuosim Mes Sustoję” (“We Will Sing Standing Up”). Here he commands the chorus (and the audience too) to lie down like little birds. This was one of several songs where the audience was able to sing along. (Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

The Festival honored partisans who gave their lives fighting for Lithuania’s freedom. The chorus sang the song "Partizano Mirtis" ("Death of the Partisan"). The music was by Faustas Strolia, a beloved choirmaster who passed away last December. Violinist Rūta Pakštaitė- Cole, accordionist Rimas Polikaitis and recorder player Saulius Petreikis accompanied the song. (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The Festival honored partisans who gave their lives fighting for Lithuania’s freedom. The chorus sang the song “Partizano Mirtis” (“Death of the Partisan”). The music was by Faustas Strolia, a beloved choirmaster who passed away last December. Violinist Rūta Pakštaitė- Cole, accordionist Rimas Polikaitis and recorder player Saulius Petreikis accompanied the song. (Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

The second part of the Festival showcased the world premiere of a five-part cantata Dainuojanti Revoliucija: "Lietuva, Tu Prisikėlei su Daina!" (The Singing Revolution "Lithuania, You HaveArisen with a Song!"). The composer was Kęstutis Daugirdas. The words were by Rugilė Kazlauskaitė. The cantata was illustrated with live choreography and scenes projected on the jumbotron screen. Here, conducted by Kęstutis Daugirdas, the cantata begins by depicting a major public anti Soviet meeting that took place in Lithuania on August 23, 1987, next to the monument to Adam Mickiewicz in Vilnius. (Photo by A. Zabulionis)
The second part of the Festival showcased the world premiere of a five-part cantata Dainuojanti Revoliucija: “Lietuva, Tu Prisikėlei su Daina!” (The Singing Revolution “Lithuania, You HaveArisen with a Song!”). The composer was Kęstutis Daugirdas. The words were by Rugilė Kazlauskaitė. The cantata was illustrated with live choreography and scenes projected on the jumbotron screen. Here, conducted by Kęstutis Daugirdas, the cantata begins by depicting a major public anti Soviet meeting that took place in Lithuania on August 23, 1987, next to the monument to Adam Mickiewicz in Vilnius. (Photo by A. Zabulionis)

 

The art of accordion playing was alive and well at the Festival. Sister Ignė Marijošiūtė welcomes a parade of accordionists who accompanied the chorus in a medley of camp songs. (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The art of accordion playing was alive and well at the Festival. Sister Ignė Marijošiūtė welcomes a parade of accordionists who accompanied the chorus in a medley of camp songs. (Photo by J. Kuprys) 

 

The cantata honored the 14 Lithuanians killed on January 13, 1991, when Russian soldiers and tanks tried to suppress Lithuanian independence. (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The cantata honored the 14 Lithuanians killed on January 13, 1991, when Russian soldiers and tanks tried to suppress Lithuanian independence. (Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

The cantata commemorated the Baltic Way. On (August 23, 1989) almost 2.5 million people joined hands to form a human chain that stretched from Lithuania through Latvia and Estonia - a living symbol of Baltic solidarity in their struggle for freedom. As the Festival chorus sang, dancers and stage actors joined hands to form their own Baltic Way in the UIC pavilion. (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The cantata commemorated the Baltic Way. On (August 23, 1989) almost 2.5 million people joined hands to form a human chain that stretched from Lithuania through Latvia and Estonia – a living symbol of Baltic solidarity in their struggle for freedom. As the Festival chorus sang, dancers and stage actors joined hands to form their own Baltic Way in the UIC pavilion. (Photo by J. Kuprys)

DAINUOJANTI  REVOLIUCIJA
”Lietuva, Tu Prisikėlei su Daina! “

Kęstučio Daugirdo muzika
Rugilės Kazlauskaitės žodžiai

I. Tiek metų kentėta 1987m . rugpjūčio 23d.
Tiek metų kentėta galvą nulenkus,
Tiek metų tamsoj gyveno tauta.
Baimė duris buvo užtrenkus,
Bet tyliai bunda laisvės dvasia.
Ligi gelmių suvirpa mūs širdys,
Ten dar kraujoja tėvynės žaizda, tėvynės žaizda , tėvynės žaizda.
Apie tėvų kančią ir mirtį lai nesudrebės ant lūpų tiesa.
Vėjai skraidina pirmą dainą,
Marija, tu švieti aukštai iš dangaus.
Per giesmę sutraukytos melo grandinės,
Marija, apgink mus nuo priešo baisaus, nuo priešo baisaus.
Tiek metų kentėta, tiek metų kentėta.

II. Į rytojų keliame akis 1988 m. rugpjūčio 23d.
Šiandien iš šios išdegintos žemės naujai užaugo ąžuolai, Tylinčioj, priespaudos menėj, tylinčioj, vėlei suskambo mūsų balsai.
Į rytojų keliame akis, tikime baigias, baigias jau naktis , Ir tėvynę vėlei atradau savo širdy.
Tų geležinių sienų galybę drąsi daina galėtų nuverst.
Skaudų istorijos lapą laikas artėja amžiams užverst.
Į rytojų keliame akis, tikime baigias, tikime baigias jau naktis,
Ir tėvynę vėlei atradau savo širdyj.
Į rytojų keliame akis, tikime baigias, baigias jau naktis,
Ir tėvynę vėlei atradau savo širdyj.
Ligi gelmių suvirpa mūs širdys, tariame vardą Lietuvos.
Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva.
Laikas artėja, laikas artėja, neišsiginsim  savo dalios.
Visas pasaulis tegirdi: Kelias į laisvę–tautos valia!

III .Baltijos kelias 1989m. rugpjūčio 23d.
Baltijos kelias, kelias į laisvę.
Baltijos kelias, kelias į laisvę.
Bunda jau Baltija,
Baltijos kelias, kelias į laisvę.
Bunda jau Baltija, rankoje ranka.
Bunda jau Baltija, rankoje ranka.
Broli, sese, stovim už laisvę.
Stovim už laisvę, stovim už laisvę, laisvę, laisvę,
Baltijos kelias, kelias į laisvę.

IV. Tu prisikėlei 1990m. kovo 11d.
Tu prisikėlei, Tėvyne Lietuva, pražydusi ieva.
Pakirsta, sužeista, kaip pavasaris balta.
Tave išvydau, tu liejiesi upe, galinga ir šventa,
Atkovota, sulaukta , trispalvė vėliava!
Pragydo tauta didybės šviesoje, šviesoje.
Aš giedu tavyje, atgimus Lietuva, Lietuva.

V. Tikėkime vienas kitu 1991 m. sausio 13 d.
Tamsus debesis apgaubė dangų, baimė užtvindė gatves.
Nejaugi su dundančia armija tankų tėvynę atims iš manęs?
Beginklė ant sniego prieš vėtras nakties į aikštes išeina tauta.
Prieš aidinčius šūvius tik žodžiai giesmės, prieš tankų pabūklus malda.
Praplėšia naktį mirtis klykdama, sniegą nudažo krauju. Broliai stovėkit kaip stovi tauta, tikėkime vienas kitu, tikėkime!
Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva…
Tikėkime, broli, tikėkime, sese, tikėkime, tikėkime vienas kitu.
Lietuva, Lietuva, tu prisikėlei, tu prisikėlei.
Te stiprybę semia tavo sūnūs iš praeities, iš praeities.
Tėvyne Lietuva, tėvyne Lietuva, tu prisikėlei, galinga šventa!
Tu prisikėlei, tu prisikėlei, tu prisikėlei su daina. Su daina!

SINGING REVOLUTION
“Lietuva, You Have Arisen with a Song!”
Music: Kęstutis Daugirdas Lyrics: Rugilė Kazlauskaitė; Translation: Jonas Daugirdas

I.Suchlongyearsoftorment August23,1987

Such long years of torment, heads bowed in suffering, In darkness and fear the nation survived,
Doors locked up tightly, everyone frightened,
Now softly roused by liberty’s cry.
Deep in our hearts comes a trembling,
There where still bleed the motherland’s wounds, The motherland’s wounds, the motherland’s wounds. The death and demise of our mothers and fathers, A truth frozen cold and stopped on our lips.
But on the wind aloft a song is turning,
Marija, your radiance streams from Heaven above.
This hymn rends asunder the chains forged from false- hoods,
Marija, protect against this terrible foe, this terrible foe.
Such long years of torment, such long years of torment.

II. To the morrow in hope we lift our gaze
August 23, 1988
In earth scarred by fire and ruination, oak trees growing once again.
Gagged and stilled, in oppression once silenced, gagged and stilled,
Voices ring no longer constrained.
To the morrow, in hope we lift our gaze,
Waiting for morning, to sweep the night away,
And our homeland, we feel her once again, a joy in our heart.
A fence of steel, a wall made of iron, are overturned by valiant song.
The time has come to bury forever, this page of history unduly prolonged.
To the morrow, in hope we lift our gaze,
Waiting for morning, to sweep the night away,
And our homeland, we feel her once again, a joy in our heart.
Deep in our hearts comes a trembling
As we give voice to our fatherland’s name,
Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva.
The moment is near, the time fast approaching,
For each one of us to take up our role.
All the world’s countries must know this:
Pathway to freedom−our solemn goal!

III. Balts on a pathway to freedom
August 23, 1989
Balts on a pathway, pathway to freedom,
Balts on a pathway, pathway to freedom.
Wake from sleep, o Baltija.
Balts on a pathway, pathway to freedom,
Baltija, arm in arm, hand in hand, arm in arm.
Wakening, o Baltija, hand in hand, arm in arm. Brother, sister, stand up for freedom.
Stand up for freedom, freedom, freedom. Balts on a pathway, pathway to freedom.

IV. You have arisen, our homeland Lietuva
March 11, 1990
You have arisen, our homeland, Lietuva, a tree in glorious bloom.
Axed and tarred, bent and scarred, like springtime, white anew.
I felt you streaming, a river’s surging flow, so sacred, proud and strong.
And our flag, battled for, long awaited ours once more. Erupting in song, in greatness and in light.
I sing as part of you, reborn, o Lietuva, Lietuva.

V. Let’s believe in each other January 13, 1991

Gloom and black clouds, roll over the sky and terror floods into the streets.
Don’t tell me this thundering convoy of tanks,
Will be taking my country from me!
Unarmed in the snow in the dark stormy night, Comes the nation defending the square.
With brave songs and hymns against whirling black shells, and with prayers against turrets of tanks.
The night air is rended with screeches of death,
The snow painted scarlet with blood.
Brothers, stand up, as one nation arise;
Believe in each other again, believe we can!
Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva…
Believe, O brother; believe, O sister;
Believe in each other again,
Believe we can, believe we can…
Lietuva, Lietuva, you have arisen, you have arisen. From your past, your sons draw strength.
Our homeland, Lietuva, our nation, Lietuva,
You have arisen, sacred and proud!
You have arisen, you have arisen, with a song. With a song!

The chorus, dancers, and conductors congratulate the two men most responsible for putting together the Festival:Artistic Director Darius Polikaitis (left) and Creative Director Vytas Čuplinskas (right). (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The chorus, dancers, and conductors congratulate the two men most responsible for putting together the Festival:Artistic Director Darius Polikaitis (left) and Creative Director Vytas Čuplinskas (right). (Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

Kristina Kliorytė from Montréal conducts the song "Aš Negaliu Sustot Dainuot" ("I Can‘t Stop Singing"). (Photo by J. Kuprys)
Kristina Kliorytė from Montréal conducts the song “Aš Negaliu Sustot Dainuot” (“I Can‘t Stop Singing”). (Photo by J. Kuprys)

 

The Festival conductors line up to join the chorus in the song "Mūsų Dienos kaip Šventė" ("Our Days Are like a Festive Holiday"). Pictured from left to right (only a part of the conductor group is shown) are Darius Polikaitis, Nijolė Benotienė, Juratė Grabaliauskienė, Kęstutis Daugirdas, Rimas Kasputis and Ksaveras Plančiūnas. (Photo by J. Kuprys)
The Festival conductors line up to join the chorus in the song “Mūsų Dienos kaip Šventė” (“Our Days Are like a Festive Holiday”). Pictured from left to right (only a part of the conductor group is shown) are Darius Polikaitis, Nijolė Benotienė, Juratė Grabaliauskienė, Kęstutis Daugirdas, Rimas Kasputis and Ksaveras Plančiūnas. (Photo by J. Kuprys)