Helping Latvia ‘see the song’ for over a century

The mixed senior choir Jolanta celebrates its 130th anniversary concert Saturday at the Strazdumuiža Vision-Impaired Club, having been formally founded as Riga’s oldest choral group in the year 1884.

The name of the choir refers to the heroine of Tchaikovsky’s opera about the blind-girl protagonist.

There are currently 25 singers in the choir, most of them with some form of vision impairment, under the leadership of conductor Jānis Āboliņš.

Ilgvars Hofmanis, who leads the Strazdumuiža social organization and center, told Latvian Radio’s Baiba Kušķe that the concert will feature former conductors, song authors and composers, veterans of the choir whom we want to honor.

“The boom-time for the choir was the 1960’s through the 1990’s, when we had up to seventy choir members singing and could take on large-format performances and works. We earned our official status as a ‘People’s Choir’.

We’re currently registered as a senior choir, however we have some younger soloists and we hope the choir could expand again in the future,” Hofmanis said.

 

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