EANC will honor Portland’s Lonnie Cline with the 2016 Friend of Estonian Americans Award. And, the Estonian League of the West Coast (EOLL) has been awarded the 2016 Outstanding Organization Award. Both these awards will be presented at EANC’s 2016 awards gala on November 5 in San Francisco.
This is the first time that the EANC has presented an award for outstanding contributions by a Friend of Estonian Americans.
The award is intended to honor non-Estonians who have made tremendous contributions to Estonian American community.
This first “Estophile” award recognizes Lonnie Cline, who has for over 20 years instilled thousands of singers with the beauty and joy of Estonian choral music.
Cline, then choral director at Oregon’s Clackamas Community College, heard Estonian choral music for the first time in the early 1990’s, and instantly fell in love with it. In 1996 he founded the now internationally recognized Unistus chamber choir, forging lasting ties between Oregon and Estonia, and spreading Estonia’s Singing Revolution story to ever broader audiences.
Over the years, Unistus has performed at three Song Festivals in Tallinn, the 2000 ESTO in Toronto, 11 West Coast Estonian Days festivals, 22 Estonian Independence Day celebrations in Portland, and hosted and collaborated with visiting Estonian choirs and directors.
Lonnie Cline retired in 2013 from a 33 year tenure at Clackamas Community College, but continues to direct Unistus. His passion and dedication to the highest caliber of musical performance continues to touch hearts around the globe.
The EANC is recognizing Estonian League of the West Coast (EOLL) with EANC’s highest recognition for Estonian American organization. The award recognizes the tremendous contributions of EOLL over the past 60 years in preserving Estonian American culture and community on the West Coast, through the biannual West Coast Estonian Days festival (LEP). Many thousands of Estonian Americans have been impacted by the 32 LEP festivals held to date.
The first LEP festival was held in San Francisco in 1953. LEPs soon followed in Los Angeles and Portland, confirming the LEP as a biannual tradition. Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle joined to establish the five city rotation. The main assignment of the EOLL leadership remains to prepare for and carry out the LEP festival, and part of EOLL’s formula for success has been the insistence that each host city run the festival with fiscal responsibility.
First, second, and third generation Estonian Americans continue to support and take part in the festivals which over the years have helped preserve language, theater, music, dance, art and handcraft traditions. LEP festivals have also played in preserving the ties between friends and family. During the years Estonia was part of the Soviet Union, the LEP was at the heart of ongoing efforts to make Estonia’s story public and to instill political action. More recent LEPs have celebrated new connections with the Estonian homeland, invited performers and participants from afar and encouraged new collaborations.
For more information about the November 5 awards dinner or the public programs, please contact Linda Rink, firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-546-5863.