After breakfast the choir drove to the beautiful Kaarli kirik (St. Charles Church), a Lutheran church built in 1862-1870. It is called Tallinn’s grandest 19th century church. The interior is a gorgeous space that was wonderful to sing in. They worked hard during this 2½ hour rehearsal, polishing their repertoire and learning new music. They accomplished quite a bit, then had a quick, easy lunch of bread, meat, and cheese outside of the church.

Approaching Kaarli kirik

A glimpse of the interior

BYU Singers

Then came a long bus ride to an orphanage for a scheduled service project. There are 49 children there now, but there have been many more in the past. Children are put in groups of age ranges, then parents near the village act as foster parents. The choir spent a few hours painting and raking. They didn’t see many kids, but the choir enjoyed serving and spending time together. They did visit with the manager of the orphanage, who told them of his growing up years in Estonia before the country’s independence in 1991. He served in the government before taking this position.

Some of the rakers


There was some free time to rest or wander before dinner—some found a fantastic farmer’s market.

Dinner was at Old Hansa Medieval Restaurant. This was dinner by candlelight, with long tables to seat the entire choir. There was a “Feast Master” appointed (Taylor Rane) who requested the next course and generally watched over the dinner. They had three courses: hors d’oeuvre of  bread, olives, coleslaw “that tasted like your great-grandma’s house” duck liver paté, cheese, and salmon. Main course: elk steak, bear sausage, wild boar, ginger turnips, lentils, and sauerkraut. There was rose petal mascarpone to end the meal, which some liked and some didn’t. Root beer or juices to drink; the root beer was not at all what we are used to, which is a common complaint outside the US.

The choir enjoyed being together as a group more today, and look forward to more time rehearsing tomorrow. They enjoy all the new culture and sightseeing–but sharing both great music and their spirit is their main purpose, so it is very good to be singing together again.

[Editor’s note: photos are borrowed from all sorts of places and people. Thanks to all, though they may not even realize this plundering is happening.]