We live across the street from the rehearsal space of the Jelsa choir and with those windows open, we do get a lot of free choir music while having breakfast, or dinner at the terrace. And they have been preparing for last night´s performance intensely these days, sometimes in very weird hours, when everyone else was on the beach as it was so hot.
And this year it was not only the Choir of St. Cecile as usual, but there were young voices rehearsing songs about Croatia, occasionally interrupted by the strong voice of support from Slavko Reljić, their choirmaster.
The “To the Homeland with Love” concert took place last night on the day of the Homeland Thanksgiving on August 5 with songs dedicated to Croatia. A night of choir singing accompanied by poetry presented by Vlatka Buj from a balcony over the St. Ivan´s Square with dimmed lights brought up strong feelings in the audience as some had tears in their eyes.
After the opening Croatian Anthem by Vladimir Garić and a minute of silence for all war victims, the St. Cecile´s Choir and a newly formed children´s choir Slavulji sang for the packed St. Ivan´s Square. Beautiful harmony singing from the amazing Jelsa choir and an exceptional Vladimir Garić (member of the famous Klapa Cambi) made it a special musical event.
I must admit I have mixed feelings towards the celebrations of the operation Storm, which took place 20 years ago on this day. It is probably because of my own pacifism principles and the lack of information about the event. And while the Homeland Thanksgiving Day is presented as a celebration of love towards this country, at the same time there are events like The Croatian Army Demonstrating its Power in Zagreb
, which makes the spirit of the unbearable pain of war still present. And it will be present for many years to come.
Especially if children are being brought up with singing songs about “not giving this land to anyone” while waving small Croatian flags. Not saying there is anything wrong with being thankful for everything this country is providing for us. For me, Croatia is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But let´s forget the boarders, nations and religions, it is this planet we live on that is providing the air we are breathing, the beautiful clear blue sea and food we eat. Being thankful for all of that not separating ourselves from other people because they are the other nation could bring more piece to oour hearts and to our world.
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