Singing Revolution Film to Reach Millions of American Students
Monday, November 21
"The Singing Revolution" - a documentary film about how music played a role in keeping Estonian culture distinct during its struggles with the Soviet occupation - is being used in US classrooms as an educational tool and the creators say it will reach millions of Americans.
The foreign and education ministries have been promoting the patriotic historical film to raise Estonia's profile abroad. Three thousand copies were provided for schools this fall. Filmmaker Jim Tusty said he plans to offer another 5,000 to 7,000 copies.
“The 3,000 units were taken in a matter of days. It was amazing how fast they went out the door,” said Tusty.
|Singing has always been an essential
part of Estonian culture.
Photo: Enterprise Estonia
Rob Schimenz, a social studies teacher in a Queens, New York high school, has put together a 25-hour program for studying the film's various aspects, including historical, propagandistic and psychological.
“Estonia is a country that very few students have ever heard about, including many of their teachers,” said Schimenz. “We're getting great examples of what people can do in the face of this oppression - not to lose faith, not to give up [...] I teach city kids, and that's a wonderful lesson for them.”
"The Singing Revolution" has also reached 850 public broadcasting stations in the US.
“The fact that they could withstand all that through singing and their culture makes me proud of them,” said high school student Andy Collado.
Estonia has a long background in teaching music studies. High school students have lots of options to learn instruments and singing in music schools and university students can learn musicology, choir conducting, chamber music, piano, strings, music composition and many other specialties in Tallinn, in the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Because of the singing traditions Estonian song festivals are always long-awaited amongst the Estonians and also foreigners.
Every year Estonia attracts lots of young foreigners to come to Estonian universities to study music and Estonian music festivals and song festivals.