The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 8: Identity, Diversity, Unity, and Marketing

Originally posted here on June 29, 2017 In April of 2016, I began writing this series of articles entitled “The Making of a Dziesmu svētki” that ran every two months here on Latvians Online. The idea was to give a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into organizing a Latvian song and dance festival, told from … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 8: Identity, Diversity, Unity, and Marketing

The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 7: Crunch Time

Originally posted here on June 14, 2017. Nineteen months ago, a small group of D.C. area Latvians nervously met up at Lost Dog Cafe, a local pizza and sandwich joint in northern Virginia, and listened to their friend Marisa Gudrā pitch a crazy idea; we should host dziesmu svētki.  One week ago, a similarly-sized group … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 7: Crunch Time

The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 6: The Music

Originally posted here on March 23, 2017   I have a confession: when song-festival chair Marisa Gudrā first mentioned hosting dziesmu svētki, I had zero interest. Then she told me that Krisīte Skare was already on board as music director. Suddenly, I was interested. I knew Skare from our time together at Gaŗezers Latvian summer … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 6: The Music

The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 5: The Folk Dancing Show

Originally posted here on January 27, 2017   On a gray day in early December, a small crew of folk-dancing organizers from Philadelphia was hard at work inspecting the nooks and crannies of the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, thoughtfully jotting sketches in their notepads, counting seats and wheelchair spaces, and talking with arena management. All around, … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, Part 5: The Folk Dancing Show

The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, part 4: Venue Selection

Originally posted here on November 29, 2016.   As soon as I heard we might be hosting a Latvian song festival on the East Coast, the flashbacks hit. “Well,” I thought with a laugh, “It’s a good thing that we just had all that practice with venue selections.” It had only been half a year since Washington, … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, part 4: Venue Selection

The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, part 3: Rīc Kom

Originally posted here on September 13, 2016. You know the beginning of any good ensemble-cast blockbuster, where the ringleader travels to goofy locations collecting a ragtag bunch of specialized misfits to assemble his crack squad? The tough guy, the master thief, the tech nerd, the female. Collecting the squad that makes up the Rīc Kom … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svētki, part 3: Rīc Kom

The Making of a Dziesmu Svetki, part 2: Baltimore

Originally posted here on July 12, 2016. If you ever want to feel like a total rock star, host a dziesmu svētki (Latvian song festival). Yes, the majority of your time leading up to the event will consist of unglamorous sweat and tears, sleepless nights poring over non-profit status applications, budget woes, marketing plans, and … More The Making of a Dziesmu Svetki, part 2: Baltimore