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  Martin A. Dege

News    Press Release    

An example of cohesive development for Lithuania



22 November 2007, Vilnius, Lithuania


There was sunny outside, and the coming winter elated us with the first white snow and frost, and forests were enfolded in a white handkerchief, when 15 titled members of the Royal Breda Male Choir, having exchanged their elegant concert suites with builder’s clothes and rolled up their sleeves, were working from dawn till dusk in Kuršėnai children foster home, from time to time amusing themselves and everyone around them with songs. They were elating children by their presence, playing and drawing together, teaching to develop fairy tales in the home theatre ‘Madame Breda Theatre’ given as a present to the children by them, at the same time painting and reconstructing a fresco of the Soviet times, listening to a concert of young talents, enjoying delicious meals and hospitality of people in the Kuršėnai region.

\'\' Royal Breda Male Choir is one of the oldest Dutch choirs. The choir was founded in 1865. In 1905, the Queen Wilhelmina granted the choir the title ‘royal’. In 1986, the Queen Beatrix extended the validity of this honourable title. ‘Our choir is of respectable age already, but we are not that old’, Mr. Frans Luÿben, the President of the choir was joking. Known for its synergism, social activities, generosity and amiability, the male team unites approx. ninety men. ‘We sing, communicate actively and travel the world every year’, Mr. Hans Talboom, the Vice President of the choir said. The idea of cooperation with Lithuania was offered by Dr. Adriaan J. H. Korver (Program Manager for Yanos International Foundation and a member of the choir). Therefore, in 2005, seventy singers, escorted by a group of their fans, participated in the first program of the cultural tourism project ‘The Seasons: Spring-Summer 2007’ developed by the musician Odeta Abromavičiūtė. The project was to commemorate the anniversary of Lithuania’s membership in the EU, and its successful implementation has induced her to establish the NGO ‘Culture Artfact’ that goes on cooperating with the Dutchmen.

While visiting our country, the Dutchmen were giving concerts with famous Lithuanian and Polish musicians, travelling all over the country, and met NATO soldiers, who initiated the acquaintanceship with pupils of Kuršėnai children foster home. Upon decision of the conductor Mr. Marcel Verhoeff and Mr. Hans Talboom, who was holding the President’s position for twenty-seven years, after returning to its hometown, the choir gave a charitable concert. EUR 5,000.00 donated during the concert were used to buy construction materials for a partial reconstruction of Kuršėnai children foster home and preservation of its frescoes.

Fifteen choristers become builders

On November 11th-17th, fifteen members of the Royal Breda Male Choir were merrily working in the Kuršėnai children foster home, from time by time amusing themselves and other people around with songs. They have renovated the premises of one of the children families (groups) on the third floor: the choristers were dyeing walls of rooms, corridor, laying a new floor cover, reconstructing a fresco of the Soviet times and painting a new one with the Cathedral of the Breda town, where donations are collected. The new fresco (author – Mr. Theo Melis) will remind of the Dutch benefactors and golden-voice choristers for a long time. There was a person who knows the trade of builders among the choristers, and, when needed, he was always giving his colleagues a piece of advice. They were rushing to complete all works in time, yet when someone was starting a song, suddenly other people working in other rooms or the corridor were joining him.

An evening of artistic self-expression

With the help of the NGO ‘Culture Artfact’, a tiny hint of one of the choristers on giving children a string of Dutch songs as a present has developed into a purposeful, memorable and unconventional evening of artistic self-expression organised on the 14th of November 2007 in the spacious concert hall of Kuršėnai children foster home (Pramonės Str. 2, Kuršėnai, Šiauliai district). The Dutchmen were not only given the possibility to present songs of their country to children, but also tell the story of how have choristers giving concerts all over the world become builders in Lithuania, share their impressions about the Hill of Crosses and their thoughts about this very moment of meeting the children, when they were in their home town Breda. Foreign guests and families of the children foster home had an excellent opportunity to meet young talents of Kuršėnai Art School, folk instrument ensembles, listen to poems of the poet and bard Vilhelmina Imbrienė on the coming Holly Christmas and winter, have an eyeful of an exhibition of colourful drawings made by young artist Ms. Lina Zelenytė (fine art teacher Nijolė Bilevičienė), which was organised in the school.

\'\' The little ones were bursting with joy, as they had a theatralised meeting with fairies after the concert: Gintarė Juškienė, specialist-in-chief of the Education Department of the Administration of the head of Šiauliai region, Danutė Daunienė, the head of children library, and Odeta Abromavičiūtė, the organizer of artistic self-expression, as well as representatives of Raudėnai local authority. The entire group was telling their favourite fairy tales to children before they went to sleep.

After the children fell asleep, foreign guests were invited to the presentation of films by the director and cameraman Šarūnas Bartas, who was born in Šiauliai and is one of the most famous representatives of cinematographers of the new generation. In 2005, the director was acknowledged internationally and participated in the international film festival in Cannes (France).

A shower of presents and joyful emotions

\'\' Thanks to dynamic and creative pedagogue Audronė Vaitiekūnienė, we have managed to create a musical surprise. Pupils and teachers of Kuršėnai Art School and its Raudėnai branch performed it as a present to foreign guests. The following pupils and teachers were performing at the concert: Karolina (traditional Lithuanian instrument kanklės) and Kazimieras (hornpipe) Lubiai (pedagogues Rima Ananjavienė and Alvaidas Bernotas); Ensemble of Samogitian Kanklės (art director Audronė Vaitiekūnienė); Trio - Dovilė Streckytė (violin), Alvaidas Bernotas (hornpipe) and Danutė Streckienė (concertmaster). Pleasant sounds of waltz and polka played by Kuršėnai Orchestra of Folk Instruments (headed by Nijolė Kačinskienė and Alvaidas Bernotas) livened up everyone.

\'\' The evening of artistic self-expression was crowned by folk songs performed by members of the chamber group of the Royal Breda Male Choir, and their presents. Mr. Theo Melis, member of the choir, painter and author of the fresco, presented to pupils of the foster home his family’s home theatre called ‘MADAME Breda Theather’ (P.S. the name MADAME originates from family initials: MA – the first syllable of the daughter’s name, DA – a syllable of the son’s name, ME – family surname) and a lot of puppets. Guests even gave a short, ad-lib, humoristic play with the puppets about how do they work and live here. Another present given by the guests was a photo of the Royal Breda Male Choir taken at their concert in Vilnius, in the St. Johns’ Church, together with Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Mr. Marcel Verhoeff. Odeta, the initiator of the event, also received a warm present from children – a picture embroidered by Ms. Lina Zelenytė.
Mrs. Audronė Vaitiekūnienė, owner of honorable nomination the "Teacher 2006", Deputy Director of Kuršėnai Art School , delivered some presents (pieces of needlework and ceramics made by children of the art school) to the guests as well, and the Dutchmen expressed their gratitude for the presents by singing and showing genuine sincerity.

’We are pleasantly surprised that you are spending your time with our children’ - Mr. Feliksas Rudzinskas, Director of Kuršėnai Children Foster Home said expressing his gratitude to the Dutchmen, young performers, organisers, functionaries of Šiauliai region, heads of local authorities, employees of children library, pedagogues, and journalists.

According to Ms. Odeta Abromavičiūtė, Director of the NGO ‘Culture Artfact’ and coordinator of the project, cooperation with the Dutchmen will continue. When the choristers, who have accomplished a noble mission, get back, the society of the Breda town will start making Christmas presents for pupils of Kuršėnai children foster home and will allot accumulated funds to children needs.

 Thus, everyone in Lithuania, who is willing to meet Christmas with open heart and meaningful works, is welcome to join the international creative team and narrate fairy tales, donate a musical program or assist otherwise. If you are looking for that, please contact the organisers. While we are residents of a peaceful land, let cosy creative meetings become little miracles and memorable presents for everyone, who needs you. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.

Organisers of the event express sincere gratitude to:

• Svajonė (5 m.) and Danielė (10 m.) Raudonytės for the books they have donated to pupils of Kuršėnai children foster home.
• Ms. Irena Budrienė, PR Manager of the Administration of the head of Šiauliai region, for benevolence, cooperation and spreading of information in the Šiauliai region;
• Ms. Kristina Kaziūnienė, Ms. Vida for accommodation, hospitality and possibility to work out of the office;
• Kuršėnai Art School for hand-made presents and a concert given to foreign guests;
• Director of Kuršėnai children foster home, as well as his deputies and teachers for their love, openness to children and talents raised for Lithuania.
• Pupils of Kuršėnai children foster home, who were listening so sincerely and accepting the love of the adults with such great warmth.
• TV channels of Šiauliai region: Nijolė and Justinas Visockai of ‘S plius’, and correspondent Reda Gilytė and cameraman of LTV.
• Mr. Algimantas Brikas, a honourable journalist of ‘Šiaulių kraštas’, for his time and information support.
• News agency ELTA – for humanism and spreading of kind and noble works.
• Royal Breda Male Choir for being true and wise friends.

Photo Gallery:

- Members of the Breda Choir on the Hill of Crosses (two years later) |2007-11-18|

- KVGN – Fairies from fairy tales and other little miracles
Fairies: Gintarė Juškienė, specialist-in-chief of the Education Department of the Administration of the head of Šiauliai region, Danutė Daunienė, the head of children library, and Odeta Abromavičiūtė, the organizer of artistic self-expression.
Artistic elves: Members of the Royal Breda Male Choir

- KVGN - Šiaulių TV, frescoes and final works |2007-11-18|
Titled Dutchmen and Lithuanian artists are helping Kuršėnai children foster home

- KVGN - "The Seasons: Fall_Winter 2007" a concert for children and youth |2007-11-18|
Jungtinis Lietuvos ir Olandijos atlikėjų koncertas, pasakų fėjos, teatras ir lietuviškų filmų peržiūra

- KVGN – Titled Dutchmen and Lithuanian artists are helping Kuršėnai children foster home
Members of the Royal Breda Male Choir and Ms. Audronė Vaitekūnienė, Deputy Director of Kuršėnai Art School

\'\' For more information please contact:
Director Odeta Abromavičiūtė
Mob. tel.: 8 ~ 659 69 211; tel./fax (8 ~ 5) 234 80 95

Bank details for those able and willing to contribute: 
NGO ‘Culture Artfact’,
Company code 300146129
Settlement account: LT 737300010091815353
with Hansabankas AB

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