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Screening of "To Breathe as One" at Stanford University, Nov 19

Location: California, USA

On November 19, 2013, a new remarkable film "To Breathe as One" will be screened at Stanford University. The film is the final part of a free evening about Estonian studies hosted by Stanford University Libraries.

"To Breathe as One" (2013) is a documentary film about the extraordinary Estonian song festival called Laulupidu. Every five years, 30,000 people gather on the same stage in the small country of Estonia to join voices and sing in the National Song Festival for two days, becoming the largest choir in the world. More than a music festival, it’s a miracle that at least twice in history gave freedom to that country. "To Breathe As One" explores the beauty and meaning of the choral festival through the eyes of the young members of the California-based Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, one of the few American choirs invited to participate. Learning difficult songs — all in Estonian — the youngsters prepare for months and then set off to join the many thousands from around the world who gather every five years in Tallinn. Forming cross-cultural friendships that span the oceans, there they discover the unique role that music has played for Estonians for over 150 years, as an integral force in maintaining strength and identity for a people who have faced cultural genocide — more than once. From the filmmakers of the acclaimed "The Singing Revolution" (2007), the film reveals that for Estonians singing is not just a means of cultural expression, but a defining part of their national identity.

“To Breathe as One” may be of particular interest to Bay Area choirs because it looks at this 145-year-old phenomenon through the eyes of members of the Piedmont Children's Choir. The singers’ insights and reflections while visiting Estonia make the film engaging and accessible to American teenagers everywhere. Members of the Piedmont choir have been invited to attend the screening at Stanford. They and filmmakers James and Maureen Tusty will speak afterward.

Participants are welcome to attend the entire event but it’s likely that the “To Breathe as One” will be of greatest interest to students and choir members.

Schedule for Nov. 19, 2013

  • 6-6:30 p.m. Screening of “The Woman Who Gave Estonia a Gift of a Museum: Olga Kistler-Ritso,” followed by Q&A. Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education, 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford.
  • 7-8:00 p.m. Tour of the Estonian collection in Green Library next door. Refreshments will be served.
  • 8-9:30 p.m. “To Breathe as One,” followed by Q&A. Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education, 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford.

Participants are requested to register by Nov. 11 via Eventbrite: or 650-736-4724. For additional information, please contact Liisi Eglit,