First Latvian Song Festival in AmericaChicago, 1953

Latvians who had fled to the West to escape the re-invading Soviets were only just starting over their lives in the diaspora. The first Latvian song festival in America was a natural outgrowth and continuation of the "Song Days" (Dziesmu Dienas) Latvians held in the Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Europe after WWII, carrying on a tradition which started with the first song festival in Latvia in 1873, during the National Awakening.

The festival was held May 30th, 1953. Twenty-two choirs and 650 singers participated, with an audience of about 5,000. It was the first such festival held outside Latvia—starting a tradition which lasted throughout the Soviet era and which continues today, bringing together those of Latvian heritage, their family and friends from all over the world.

...Timeline...Fischbach Song FestivalDziesmu Diena Fišbachā (Fischbach Song Festival), Kārlis Puriņš. Viktors Puriņš. 1948. Latvians in the Displaced Persons camps of Fischbach and Märzfeld in Nuremberg and environs gather to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the First Latvian Song Festival. Album of 24 pictures, with foreword by composer and Fischbach DP camp elder Jēkabs Poruks. European Unification and LatviaEiropas apvienošanās kustība un mēs (The European unification movement and us), Modris Gulbis, 1948. The necessity of a European Union to the welfare of the European continent and to Latvia Anna Dārziņa Post Card SetLatvian folk costumes, Anna Dāŗziņa. Esslingen DP Camp, Jānis Liepiņš, ca. 1949. Artist Anna Dāŗziņa's illustrations of Latvian folk costumes. Set of 18 postcards. Pīrāgi & GalertsLatviska un Moderna Virtuve (The Latvian and Modern Kitchen), Fischbach D.P. Camp, Germany, 1949. Traditional Latvian recipes, excerpts and translations The Story of LatviaThe Story of Latvia—A Historical Survey. Arveds Švābe. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1949. Švābe's concise history of Latvia, from the Balts inhabiting what is today western Russia through the continuation of Soviet occupation into the post-WWII era. First USA Song FestivalThe First Latvian Song Festival in America, various, Chicago, 1953. Mixed choir participants' music. 21 songs, complete Festival of Lithuanian Art and MusicFestival of Lithuanian Art and Music, Washington, D.C., 1953. Lithuanian exile community celebrates the anniversary of Lithuania's original founding with art, a concert, and banquet in Washington, D.C. Festival program. Müürisepp's Soviet EstoniaEstonia, Wonderful Present—Marvellous Future, Aleksei Müürisepp. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Career apparatchik and then soon-to-be Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Алексей Александрович Мюрисеп waxes eloquently of life under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of propaganda booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Lācis' Soviet LatviaLatvia—Our Dream is Coming True, Vilis Lācis. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Popular author during Latvia's independence and Soviet sympathizer signing deportation orders sending families to frosty death, Vilis Lācis, writes of the materialization of Latvian dreams under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Abrene Fold-outAbrene Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Abrene women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Augšzeme Fold-outAugšzeme Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Augšzeme women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out.
Reproduced from the participants' choir music for the First Latvian Song Festival in America. For personal use only, all rights remain with the original rights holder(s). Under Latvian copyright law, choir music may be reproduced without remuneration to the original author if, generally, a work is used for educational and research purposes, and for musical works, if the work is used during official or religious ceremonies to the extent appropriate, as well as in teaching institutions as part of the face-to-face teaching process.

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