The Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs and the Foreign Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland both took part in the opening of the event in Toronto on July 4.
The slogan of the XV Latvian Song and Dance Festival dedicated to the centenary of Latvia is “One Song, one Dance... One Nation!” The festival will run until July 7, with concerts planned at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, Koerner Hall and Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The culmination of the song festival will be a Mass Choir concert, which will happen on July 6 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Participants of the 2x2 Latvian Youth Choir Project will also be part of the Mass Choir. The concert will feature both the favorite choir classics and new work by young Latvian composers from Canada, the US, Australia, and Latvia.
Meanwhile the culmination of the dance festival will be the Folk Dance Spectacle on July 7. Dances will be accompanied by the folk musical band “Raxtu Raxti”. The program will incorporate dances such as “Ačkups”, “Sešdancis”, “Sēju Vēju”, “Audēju Deja”, “Kurzemnieku Pērkoņdancis” and others, as well as “Salti vēji pūta”, a dance number created specifically for the festival by the choreographer Jānis Purviņš.
There will also be exhibitions, a children's ball, writers' events, film screenings and many other events. The whole program can be found on the XV Latvian Song and Dance Festival homepage.
The organizers of the festival have announced that tickets to the Folk Dance Spectacles, as well as to the Cabaret and the “Latvija” choir concert, are sold out. The song festival is widely advertised in Canada, and the Canadians have shown a great interest in the event.
A total of 20 000 – 25 000 Latvian citizens and Canadians of Latvian origin reside in Canada. The main diaspora centers are Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), Edmonton and Calgary (Alberta), Vancouver and Kelowna (British Columbia ), as well as Halifax (Nova Scotia).