Foto: Kaupo Kikkas



Admission is free

7:00 pm, Saturday, August 27, 2016
First Presbyterian Church of Miami
609 Brickell Avenue
Miami, FL 33131
Freewill offering

11:00 am Worship Service
Sunday, August 28, 2016

First Presbyterian Church of Miami
609 Brickell Avenue
Miami, FL 33131

About the Choir. Tallinn Music High School (TMHS) is unique both in Estonia and Europe. From 1st to 12th grade pupils learn both regular academic subjects and music. There are about 300 students at the school, who all learn an instrument, singing, conducting, music theory or composition as a specialty. The purpose of TMHS is to raise future professional musicians who will continue their studies in the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre or in a foreign music college. Girls aged 14-19 sing in the youth choir. The choir is very active with concerts and interesting side projects with professional musicians, choirs and orchestras, e.g., the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Male Choir, among others. The choir and its director have won several awards in international festivals and competitions. An interview with choral director Ingrid Kõrvits, published in Vaba Eesti Sõna, can be found here: July 31, 2016 interview with Ingrid Kõrvits.

About the Concert Program. The choir’s music programme contains very different pieces of music, from Estonian folk song arrangements to American gospel arrangements. On its American tour, the choir will also be performing music from Finnish and Swedish composers. The choir has chosen pieces that would speak to the audience and offer an exciting listening and visual experience (several songs are choreographed). We hope you will come and enjoy!

The Choir’s Tour to the United States (Aug. 18-20 and Aug. 26-27) and the Bahamas (Aug. 21-25). The choir’s travels have taken them to Germany, Spain, Austria, England, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy. This year the choir will be participating in America Cantat VIII in the Bahamas from August 21 to 25, 2016. Bookending the festival, the choir will be on its first tour to the United States. Three performances are scheduled from August 18 to August 20, 2016 and two performances are scheduled in Miami August 26 to 27, 2016. Two public events in the northeast, which are free and open to the public, are listed below. The choir will also be performing informally in a children’s hospital in Washington DC.

7:00 pm, Thursday, August 18, 2016
First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis
171 Duke of Gloucester St, Annapolis, MD

Concert dedicated to Estonia’s 25th
Anniversary of Independence from the Soviet Union
7:00 pm, Saturday, August 20, 2016

Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Co-presented with the Estonian Ministry of
Culture and Scandinavia House. The concert is
free and a reception follows. If attending, RSVP
at scandinaviahouse.org.

Arrangements for the choir’s visit to Miami have been made by Jorge L. Viera, Honorary Consul of Estonia, Miami; and Lisa A. Mets, Honorary Consul of Estonia, St. Petersburg (FL).

Steve LatternerThis posting is written by Kaie Põhi Latterner, beloved member of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts), to let us know of the untimely passing of her cherished husband, Steven Lavalle Latterner, June 22, 2016, and services to honor his memory in July (Florida) and August (Minnesota).

Dear friends and family,

I lost my beloved Steve on June 22, 2016, very suddenly and unexpectedly. For those who have not heard yet, and to update everyone on the memorial services times and places, I’m sending this information.

I am beyond moved and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, hugs, cards, calls, and messages I have received since the passing of my beloved Steve. Please forgive those calls I have not directly answered – I’m still having a great deal of difficulty speaking on the phone. Steve battled a total of five cancers over a 19-1/2 year period more bravely than anyone could have ever expected or anticipated. And he did so while never, ever, ever complaining or feeling sorry for himself. When asked how he was feeling or doing, Steve’s answer was always a firm “I’m fine” no matter how many challenges he was facing at the moment. While having a chemotherapy infusion on June 22nd, he suddenly told me that he felt “really, really weird” and within just a few minutes, we lost him. Some type of catastrophic event, such as a pulmonary embolism or cardiac arrest, took him from us, and even after a long CPR effort, they could not bring him back. I am so devastated over this loss, but I know that he is in heaven with God. We are all thankful that he is no longer suffering.

Steve was known and loved for his positive can-do attitude, his incredible eyes and smile, his gentleness and patience, his generosity and kindness, his clever sense of humor, and most of all his loving and caring ways. He was a hard worker all his life, which he accomplished with the highest level of ethics, morals and honesty. His love and dedication to me and our marriage was beyond anything that could be expressed in mere words.

In lieu of flowers, I have started a foundation to memorialize Steve and his valiant fight against the monster we call cancer: The Steven L. Latterner Memorial Foundation, at Wells Fargo Bank. With monies that we collect and raise for the foundation, I will keep Steve’s legacy alive to help others to be brave and stay as healthy and positive as possible while fighting this horrid disease. Although only in the initial planning phase, likely goals are for the funds to provide inspirational messages and signs in chemotherapy and clinical trial facilities, to provide education and information on the importance of strong patient advocacy, and to supply cancer patients with a wide variety of helpful and motivational products and activities that are so needed during these unbelievably stressful times. We are thinking of calling the foundation “Steve cares…” Any and all ideas and suggestions will be heartwarmingly welcomed. Donations in Steve’s memory can be made out to The Steven L. Latterner Memorial Foundation and mailed to our home address: 241 173rd Avenue East, North Redington Beach, FL 33708. Please contact me via e-mail for further details. You can also make a donation at your local Wells Fargo Bank by asking them to process a donation to a registered Wells Fargo memorial account. (The account was setup by Nakita Vizena at the Redington Shores FL branch.)

There will be two memorial services for Steve: one in Florida and one in Minnesota. The one in Florida will be at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd located at 10891 102nd Avenue North, Seminole, FL (727-391-4644) on Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 2:00 P.M. The memorial in Minnesota will be on Saturday, August 20, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. at American Legion Post #398, at 2333 Wilshire Blvd. in Mound MN. His obituary can be read at the funeral home website at http://www.mohnfuneralhome.com/home/index.cfm/obituaries/view/fh_id/13726/id/3765507. I am eternally grateful to all of our friends and family who are helping us through this inconceivably difficult and painful time. God bless… Kaie

Four members of a Civil Affairs Team of the 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, engaged in a mission readiness exercise with members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) and the Estonian Honorary Consul in St. Petersburg, Florida, from May 9-­13, 2016. A mission readiness exercise engages members of a civil affairs team with diaspora community leaders to learn more about the ethnic experience of the diaspora community and to learn and practice cultural sensitivities. This is the second time a civil affairs team assigned to Estonia has worked with the Estonian Honorary Consul in St. Petersburg (FL) and the Estonian Society of Central Florida on a mission readiness exercise.

The program this year, coordinated by Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) Board member Anneliis Kuusik, was based on the model developed by Estonian Honorary Consul Lisa A. Mets for a Civil Affairs Team that visited in June 2015. The model was designed to introduce civil affairs teams to Estonian and Estonian-­American perspectives through multiple generations that live in Tampa Bay and return often to their beloved Eesti: those born in Estonia before World War II, those who were refugees with experience in displaced persons camps, first generation Estonian-­Americans whose lives have been committed to preserving Estonia’s sovereignty, and those who were children in Estonia when Estonia regained independence in 1991.

The mission readiness exercise began on Tuesday with a program led by Honorary Consul Lisa A. Mets at the Estonian Honorary Consulate at Eckerd College. A whirlwind orientation program covered Estonian geography, demographics, history with an emphasis on the period from 1918 to 1991, government, economy, Estonia’s place in international rankings today, language, educational system, cultural aspects (sports, music, art, and literature), and e­Estonia. A second presentation by Jüri Toomepuu focused on his paper, “Estonia, a NATO ally in peril.” Both sessions included good conversation responding to the team’s questions about Estonia. Additional Estonian participants included Anneliis Kuusik, Tõnu Toomepuu, Erkki Taada, and Jaan and Maare Kuuskvere. To introduce the Civil Affairs Team to Estonian cuisine, refreshments included traditional Estonian kilu­, lõhekala­, and sink­ ja vorsti­võilevad, kohupiima kook and Kalev šhokolaad.


In response to the team’s request, a language immersion program was offered Wednesday afternoon at the home of Steve and Kaie Põhi Latterner. Before class, a traditional Estonian smorgasbord (külm laud) was offered for lunch to introduce the team to these Estonian traditional tastes: rosolje, kartulisalat, rukki leib, skumbria, kurgi salat, seene salat, täidetud muna, sült, pasteet, õuna kook, and Vana Tallinn jäätisega. Having heard Estonian is a difficult language to learn, Kaie and her colleagues (Linia Elmend, Anneliis Kuusik, Kersti Linask, and Erkki Taada) demystified the language and made language learning a fun experience. After learning the Estonian birthday song, “Ta Elagu!” the program concluded with the singing of the Estonian national anthem.


The Civil Affairs Team engages in an Estonian lunch and language program with members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts), at the home of Steve and Kaie Põhi Latterner, May 11, 2016, St. Petersburg, FL. (l to r): Linia Elmend, Anneliis Kuusik, Kersti Linask, and Kaie Põhi Latterner with the Civil Affairs Team. Foto: Erkki Taada

The mission readiness exercise concluded Thursday evening at the home of Kersti Linask, President of the Estonian Society of Central Florida. Triin Karr, a member of the KFES Board, joined the group to provide her perspectives on what it was like to grow up in Estonia, experience re­independence as a young girl in 1991, and to see the progress Estonia has been making for more than two decades now. Triin and her American husband Edward have two children, both growing up in Tampa Bay bilingual in English and Estonian. The final meal of the program was a traditional Estonian Christmas dinner: verivorst, suitsetatud sink, röstitud kartulid, hapu kapsad, rukki leib, jõhvika moos, roosamanna, piparkoogid and sea kõrvad. A highlight of the closing dinner celebration was a presentation of plaques by the Civil Affairs Team to the Estonian Society of CentralFlorida and the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia.


92nd Civil Affairs Battalion, Civil Affairs Team presents Certificates of Appreciation to the Estonian Society of Central Florida and the Estonian Honorary Consul in St. Petersburg, FL. (l to r) Kersti Linask, Anneliis Kuusik, Lisa A Mets, Kaie Põhi Latterner, and Triin Karr with the Civil Affairs Team. Foto: Erkki Taada

As the Civil Affairs Team did last year, this team asked permission to recommend to their superior officers that future civil affairs teams assigned to Estonia be given the opportunity to participate in a mission readiness exercise with the Estonian Honorary Consul and Estonian Society of Central Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Estonian Honorary Consul and members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida who have participated in this experience consider it an honor and privilege to engage in mission readiness exercises and stand ready to continue to serve in this way. On behalf of all Estonians in Estonia and the diaspora, the Estonian Honorary Consul and Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selt) express deep gratitude to the USA for its continuing support for Estonia.

Nearly 30 members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) gathered for a conversation with Toivo Tänavsuu on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 4:00 to 6:00 (to 8:00) pm hosted by and at the home of Erkki Taada and Lisa Mets, who also serves as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Mr. Tänavsuu is an investigative journalist with Estonia’s weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress. Mr. Tänavsuu engaged in a Question and Answer session about current events in Estonia: Who are Estonia’s newest immigrants? Is the threat from Russia real?

Mr. Tänavsuu also is the founder of “Kingitud elu” (gift of life), Estonia’s largest charitable organization. In just two years, the organization has raised over a million dollars and supported 90 individuals seeking cancer treatments that are not covered by state insurance. Those treatments have given patients the gift of extra precious time among their loved ones, hence the name of the charitable organization. Mr. Tänavsuu gave a moving presentation that told the story of his mother’s courageous battle with life-ending cancer and that recounted the founding and current success of Kingitud Elu, Estonia’s most successful philanthropic organization to date.

Mr. Tänavsuu and members of his family are on a 12-day whirlwind visit to Texas, Florida, and Illinois, and we are delighted the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts (KFES)) caught their attention.

More than 45 members and friends of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) had a wonderful time at their annual Jüriöö/Jaanipäev picnic and April birthday celebration on an exquisitely beautiful sunny and breezy day under the Bayfront Pavilion on Anna Maria Island, Florida, Sunday, April 24, 2016, from noon to 4:00 pm. Folks came from Tampa Bay and sort of nearby Zephyrhills and Orlando, and as faraway as Tallinn, Estonia; and two families came in a boat! We were thrilled to welcome a newlywed couple that just celebrated their marriage the preceding day.

Once again, the members provided an outstanding potluck luncheon that deliciously complemented grilled bratwurst provided by the membership and perfectly grilled by Anneliis Kuusik, Maare Kuuskvere and Markus Larsson.  Anne Holda on her guitar and Kaie Põhi Latterner on her accordion led us in festive Estonian songs. We congratulated our April birthday celebrants by singing the Estonian traditional birthday song, “Ta (nad) Elagu!” Happy birthday/palju õnne to Leena Aare (94!), Monica Orumaa Craig, Karl Noor, Triin Karr, Maare and Jaan Kuuskvere, and Aini Stephens!

This marks the end of KFES formal activities for the October-April period and the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) now goes on summer hiatus. Escaping the scorching heat and sweltering humidity of Florida in the summer, our members now scatter to cooler places up north and in Estonia. We will resume our activities formally at 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 2, 2016 (location to be determined).

If you are in our area in the meantime, please let us know. Those of us who are still here would love to spend some time with you!

Happy summer!

Nearly 30 members and friends of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts (KFES)) gathered together again on Sunday, March 20, 2016, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, for a potluck smorgasbord lunch and convivial conversation at the home of Ms. Kersti Linask, the President of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts). Indrek Linask, from Connecticut, was a welcome special guest.

KFES, 20. märts. 2016. St. Petersburg, FL. Foto: Erkki Taada


An amazingly delicious smorgasbord was assembled by the members, and it included smoked ham prepared by Steve and Kaie Põhi Latterner, Reet’s potato salad, rosolje, salmon sandwiches, smoked fish, Jae’s Asian dumplings, and more. Dessert included chocolate frosted keeks, Kalev cookies, fresh fruit, a lovely jello mold, Merle Huber’s fabulous cookies and yogurt torte and more. It was a grand afternoon, and we are now looking forward to our potluck picnic on Anna Maria Island on Sunday, April 24, 2016, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. We hope you’ll plan to join us then! Please visit the events page for more details on the picnic.

Kesk Florida Eesti Seltsi (KFES) Eesti Vabariigi 98.a. Aastapäeva Tähistamine

Sel aastal Kesk Florida Eesti Selts tähistas Eesti Vabariigi 98. aastapäeva 20. veebruaril, 2016, Clearwater, Floridas. Nagu eelmistel aastatel toimus see ka sel aastal Countryside Country Club’is. Meil oli põnev ja tore kava külalistele!

Meie aukülaline oli eesti suursaatkonnast Ameerikas – lgp. pr. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, suursaatkonna asetäitja.

Kõik võtsid osa meie programmist “Kas tunned maad, mis Peipsi rannalt käib Läänemere kaldale…” ja õppisime meie kallist kodumaad paremini tundma!

Kavas oli langenute mälestamine, loterii, eesti muusikat, ühislaule, ja maitsev lõunasöök. Saime kokku vanade ja uute sõpradega ilusas päikesepaistelises soojas Floridas!

Estonian Society of Central Florida Estonia’s 98th Independence Day Celebration

This year the Estonian Society of Central Florida commemorated the 98th anniversary of Estonia’s Independence Day on Saturday, February 20th, 2016, in Clearwater, FL. As in previous years, the event was held at the Countryside Country Club. We had a fun and interesting program to engage our guests! Our event began with champagne generously donated by Tõnu Toomepuu and a lunch enlivened with raffle drawings led by Marju Cabrera and Annika Karr and festive group singing led by exceptional accordionist Kaie Põhi Latterner.

After lunch, we began our formal program with a welcome from the president of the Estonian Society of Central Florida: Ms. Kersti Linask. Honoring the United States, we sang the Star Spangled Banner. Pastor Priit Rebane offered the invocation. Ms. Monika Orumaa Craig brought greetings from the Estonian American National Council (Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides (ERKÜ)). In a special tribute in memoriam, Anneliis Kuusik and Kaie Põhi Latterner presented the poem Võõrsil (A. Grenzstein Piirikivi). Together we combined our voices in Laul langenud kangelastele (K.E. Sööt and J. Aavik).


Our honored guest speaker this year visited us from the Estonian Embassy in Washington D.C. – Mrs. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission. Mrs. Tihhonova-Kreek’s message was inspiring: Estonia must continue to be focused on matters of national security; the support of Estonians both at home and abroad is essential to Estonia’s continuing prosperity. To read greetings from Estonia’s Prime Minister on the occasion of Estonia’s 98th Independence Day, please visit this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-vmg9Jn6mU&feature=youtu.behttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/iweun6dxhd5t3rr/AADuoKMTjCRLV0P0xDYC2MZ4a?dl=0 The singing of the Estonian national anthem concluded our formal program.

Then there was a surprise visit by the KFES talutütred, whose folkdance enchanted the audience with their spirited sharing of secrets and gossip. The dancers included Marju Cabrera, Triin Karr, Maare Kuuskvere, Anneliis Kuusik, Kersti Linask, and Lisa Mets. Kaie Põhi Latterner provided the music for the charming well-known Estonian folkdance.

More fun followed. All our guests took part in our program, “How well do you know Estonia? – Kas tunned maad, mis Peipsi rannalt käib Läänemere kaldale…” and we all learned more about our homeland. Every table represented a county or “maakond” in Estonia, with table decorations reflecting the county’s coat of arms, pictures and information. Ms. Geraldine Raja prepared the lovely floral arrangements.


To bring the festivities to an end, closing remarks were then given by Lisa A. Mets, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia, St. Petersburg, Florida. The theme of her remarks was a tribute to Eesti as a “vabariik” (free country). In closing, Ms. Mets thanked Ms. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, our guest speaker from the Estonian Embassy in the US; Arno and Evi Kallas from the Estonian National Association of South FLorida (LFEK), who drive annually from West Palm Beach to attend our celebration; and Ms. Kaie Põhi Latterner, the leader who organized our celebration, emceed the event, and provided our musical energy.

It was a great afternoon. On top of it all, we had lots of time to reminisce with old friends as well as to meet new ones here in warm, sunny Florida. If you plan to be in Florida in February 2017, please visit our website and accept our invitation to join us as we celebrate Estonia’s 99th Independence Day! If you are in Florida now, please continue to visit this website; we have activities planned in March and April before our summer hiatus.




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