Ending the busy season and entering the significant year of centenary of Latvia, choir “Maska” spent three weeks in Australia, bringing Latvian choir music to this very far, far land and giving all the best both to the local Latvian society and Australians. These three weeks were full of various adventures and beginning of new friendships.

On December 25, just a few days after choir’s annual concert ChristMASKAs, which we enjoyed together with Vestards Šimkus, the choir got onto plane and began the journey to the other side of the planet – Australia, where the choir’s first concert tour outside of Europe was awaiting. If we don’t consider the unlucky situation that the luggage of 2/3 of the choir was left in Beijing, the traveling was successful and on December 28 MASKA gave the first concert at the opening of 35th Australian Latvian Youth days, for the first time singing in regular clothes, as the costumes were only on their way to Sydney. On the following day, choir gave a full 2,5h concert in Sydney Latvian house, gathering a full house of both Australian Latvians and guests. A full review can be found in newspaper “Latvietis”.

On the last day of 2017 choir’s artistic director Jānis Ozols led a workshop for Sydney’s choir society, showing the best warm-up and vocal exercises, and together with choir MASKA singing several songs form the repertoire of the following song festival dedicated to centenary of Latvia. Choir celebrated the coming of year 2018 in Sydney Latvian house in a fun event together with Australian Latvians, creating more and more new friendships.

Photo: Rūdis Dancis

On January 3 choir went to the capital of South Australia – Adelaide. After enjoying quality free time, on January 6 choir gave the hottest concert in choir’s history, since the temperature both outside and inside of Adelaide St. Peter’s church was 42.5°C

Further the choir traveled to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road, enjoying three beautiful days, full of marvelous landscapes, look-outs, hiking paths and ocean itself. Although there wasn’t a workshop planned to be held also in Melbourne, however local choirs – mixed choir “Daina” and male choir “Veseris” asked for one really nicely, since they also wanted to obtain the knowledge from Jānis Ozols and sing together with MASKA, and their wish was granted on January 10.

Photo: Roberts Birze

A really special concert occurred on January 12, when the choir gave a pop-up concert in Victoria State library – the beautiful “Cowen Gallery”. Choir MASKA really values this chance to be the ambassadors of Latvian choir music and culture in the very beginning of the year of centenary of Latvia. The concert was attended by many locals and the guests of the city, who were introduce to the classics of Latvian choir music, as well as some best peaces of contemporary artists. On January 13 choir gave a full concert in Melbourne Latvian house, pleasing both Australian Latvians and guests with a versatile concert.

Choir is truly blessed with the time spent in Australia. We wish to thank the Australian Latvian society, especially the families who opened their doors and took in choristers both in Sydney and Melbourne. A special thanks goes to the active organizers – Sandra Draguns and Anita Andersone. This tour will always have a special place in the memory of every chorister as an unforgettable adventure.