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Kaia Maripuu with her mother and sisters at Laulupidu.

After traveling to Saaremaa almost every summer for the past 18 years, Estonia feels like my second home. When I was younger, my two older sisters and I would visit for about 1-2 months and stay with family and friends.


Estonia became the place I’d go to to “get away” from life's stresses and responsibilities and have fun with my family. I was eight years old when I first attended the Laulupidu. I’ll never forget the feeling I had listening to the beautiful music sung by thousands and thousands of singers. Back then, I never thought I would ever be a part of something so amazing in my life. But that changed this summer.

Two years ago I joined the Estonian Community Choir of San Francisco with my mom. All my life it had been my dream to sing at the Laulupidu and now it was finally coming true. Every week my choir would rehearse our music and go over the meaning behind each song.


I had a lot of fun learning songs that were completely different from what I was learning in my high school choir. It was definitely a challenge singing in a language I wasn’t 100 percent comfortable with but towards the end, I got the hang of it and was happy I pushed myself to keep going no matter how tough things got.

On July 6 and 7, after two years of practicing, my choir and I were on stage and ready to sing our hearts out.

The whole time I was on stage I couldn’t stop smiling. I was stunned by how many people were singing together in sync. I noticed everyone was smiling and having a good time. I had such a positive experience at the Laulu-pidu. This will forever be a memory I will look back on as one of the most amazing experiences of my life.


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Kaia Maripuu


Note: The San Francisco Estonian Community Choir formed in 2017 with the goal of participating in the Laulupidu, and is proud to have achieved its goal.


The choir thanks the Estonian American National Council, the Estonian Relief Committee, and local suppor-ters for help with funding.


The choir is now setting its sights on goals closer to home, and welcomes new singers.


For more information, visit


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