Review of 2008 Activities
Dear Members and Supporters of TILTS!
Our best wishes for a prosperous and healthy New Year!
We would like to give you here a brief review of our major activities of 2008 and our plans for 2009. To those of you who have been supporting TILTS for many years, thank you for your trust and please continue to do so in the future.
We are sending this review also to many who are not yet TILTS members, particularly to people who have recently arrived in the USA from Latvia. One of the aims of TILTS, which are described in more detail on the last page, is to help people of Latvian heritage preserve their culture and keep their Latvian identity, and one of the ways TILTS accomplishes this is by arranging tours of Latvian theatre and music ensembles. Please support TILTS – become a TILTS member and attend performances sponsored by TILTS. By attending such performances you are providing financial support for the tours and improving our ability to arrange visits by the most popular artists.
In the last few years most of the tours arranged by TILTS were for performers from Latvia. Starting with 2008, the USA government has introduced new regulations and procedures for the admission of performers from abroad by requiring Petition I-129/P and the possession of the P visa. The paperwork for the new procedure, which is stated to be for the purpose of homeland security, requires detailed information on the proposed tour and an approval by the respective US artist union. The procurement of the visa may take up to half a year and incur a cost of over $1,000. As a result, the process has to be started well in advance and has to consider the possibility of rejection, in which case performances and travel arrangements have to be cancelled. This places a significant burden on those arranging the tours and adds to the cost. We will continue to arrange tours by artists from Latvia, but because of the additional work and cost we may have to forsake some opportunities.
Executive Vice Chairperson
School Improvement Project
We stared this program in 1993 with the goal of providing computers to schools in Latvia. This was a period when acquisition of computers became popular for schools in the USA, but was not yet economically feasible in Latvia, which just few years earlier had emerged from Soviet occupation. Since then, TILTS has helped some 150 schools by procuring for them some 500 computers and other teaching materials worth approximately $350,000.
The dire need for computers in schools in Latvia now has been satisfied, and the Latvian government is in a better position to supply schools with the necessary technology. Accordingly, there is now significantly less interest in this TILTS project. In view of this, TILTS will not continue this program and will not in the future actively solicit funds for schools in Latvia. We will, however, try to respond to specific requests, and, if TILTS receives a significant contribution for this purpose, we will act accordingly.
In 2008 TILTS received $2,080 for support of schools in Latvia and awarded a total of $4,674 to the following schools (some of these awards will be paid in 2009):
- $500 to Barkavas school in Madona region
- $674 to Stiklu school in Venstpils region
- $500 for Bēnes school in Dobele region
- $1,000 for Skujienes school in Cēsis region
- $2,000 for Virgas school in Liepāja region
Here is a short history of this program. We started “Procurement of Computers for Schools in Latvia” under the leadership of Lauma Upelniece Katis and Elize Linauts Korn, and in 1993 we signed an agreement of cooperation with the Latvia’s Ministry of Education and Science. We collected new and used computers and peripheral equipment from companies and individuals, and we requested funds from charitable foundations. In the first five years we obtained some $200,000 for some 400 computers. The Ministry in Latvia limited its participation to the construction of the necessary classroom facilities. We cooperated with “Cerība” – a charitable organization established by Ivars Kalme, and we asked Latvians for contributions to equip the schools that they had attended.
In 2001 Pēteris Zariņ and Edīte Irbe took over the program. At this time many schools had already obtained some computers, and the need emerged for other school supplies; accordingly, we renamed our operation “School Improvement Project”.
In cooperation with Lauma Vlasova, the PBLA board member from Russia, TILTS supplied some computers for Latvian communities in Siberia in Lejas Bulāni, Augbebri and Baķīrija. Also, TILTS supplied five Braille printers to the Strazdmuia school for the blind.
Thanks to everybody who contributed money and computers to help schools in Latvia, and thanks to those who started and managed the program. The program accomplished more than just collecting the $350,000 worth of equipment; some local municipalities followed the initiative and example of TILTS and provided computers to their schools on their own. And the efforts by TILTS served as an example to the young people of what can be accomplished by dedication and cooperation.
Organist Kristine Adamaite and saxophonist, the rector of the Music Academy Artis Simanis performed in a tour organized by Dace Aperāne in January and February:
- Kristine Adamaite performed at the Yonkers Latvian church as part of the Culture Day event and gave also a short performance for the Bronx Latvian School;
- Artis Simanis and Kristine Adamaite gave two concerts in Mineapolis;
- Both artists gave two concerts in Boston.
The American Latvian Association (ALA) financially supported the concerts for the Latvian schools in Yonkers, Boston and Minneapolis.
The programs consisted of works by Latvian composers. The artists recorded a CD specifically with the program presented at this tour, called “Cantus Orationis”, which received high praise in the press in Latvia. The program included compositions by R. Dubra, M. Einfelde, P. Vasks, A. Vītoliņ and D. Aperāne. The CD is available from D. Aperane for $20, which includes shipping.
The Kultūrkapitāla Fund financially supported the travel expenses of the artists. Nevertheless, the tour’s budget had a shortage close to $100.
Violinst Vineta Sareika and pianist Inara Zandmane presented four concerts in November (organizers: L. Aldiņa, D. Aperāne, G. Zeidenbergs). This tour was undertaken at the request of the Latvian ambassador to the USA Andrejs Pildegovičs to provide a program for the diplomatic event in the Kennedy Center arranged by the embassy on November 19 in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the declaration of Latvia’s independence. The artists gave performances in:
- Cleveland, OH
- Boston, MA
- Hamilton, ONT
- Washington, DC, Kennedy Center at the embassy’s celebration
This was the first TILTS’s tour subject to the new USA government regulations requiring P visas for foreign artists. Līga Aldiņa spent countless hours studying the regulations and filling out the forms, and it is only because of her efforts that Miss Sareika was able to come form Latvia to the USA and perform at the Embassy’s event (the pianist Zandmane resides in the USA). The tour had a shortage of $640.
Māras Theatre from Riga with “Kronis 2” by Lelde Stumbre presented a set of performances on the US east coast in September, starting with Boston and ending with Minneapolis. The play was about two people in Siberia who discover that they both are deportees from Latvia. The two actors – Niks Ērglis and Māra Mennika – gave a very convincing performance, and response from viewers was positive, although some were disappointed about the sad subject. A total of approximately 1350 people saw the show. TILTS provided a car and a driver to transport the actors on their tour, and, with the financial support from ALA, receipts covered expenses.
The Sanfrancisco Little Theatre with “Meli un to piedoana” by Raimonds Staprāns gave performances in Boston, Yonkers, Priedaine, Washington, Cleveland and Toronto. TILTS arranged this tour at the suggestion of the Latvian Foundation, and the Toronto performance was part of the program for the annual meeting of Latvian Foundation membership. The play takes place in 15 scenes in Latvia in 1949 and is about the lies, betrayal, occupation, friendship etc.
Four actors from Sanfrancisco (Laimonis Siliņ, Brigita Siliņa, Māra Martinska un Andrejs Gulbis) un two form Latvia (Ivars Puga and Aīda Ozoliņa) participated under the direction of Laimonis Siliņ. The total audience was approximately 600. As with most tours of this type, TILTS provided a car and a driver to transport the actors, and, with grants from ALA ($3,500) and the Latvian Foundation ($2,000), receipts approximately covered expenses. Without these grants the tour would not have been possible.
Both tours were managed by Marcis Voldiņ.
Showing of the film “Rīgas Sargi” (Defenders of Riga) took place in Poughkeepsie on April 5 in the South Hills Mall theatre. According to the latest statistics, this has been the most popular of any local or foreign films ever shown in Latvia. In spite of the fact that this film had been recently shown twice in New York City, attendance at the Poughkeepsie screening was around 60. The screening was arranged by Andris Padegs, who gave also a short review of the complex historical events depicted in the film.
Exceptional Young Artists Fund
The Exceptional Young Artists Fund, under the leadership of Laila Robiņa and with the participation of Jānis Cigūzis and Baiba Pinne, in 2008 made grants with total value of $5,000 to:
- Paula ūmane (violinist)
- Reinis Zariņ (pianist)
The fund received in 2008 a total of $49,000 from the following generous contributors: Ilga un Kurt Blankmeyer, Māra Dole, Arkady Fomin un George Landegger. TILTS values very highly the support the contributors are providing to the exceptional young artists as well as the trust they have demonstrated in TILTS’s administration of the funds.
Contributions to the Fund can be made by sending a check, written to “Latvian Cultural Association TILTS, Inc.”, to TILTS, c/o Laila Robins, 241 Central Park West Apt. 14H, New York, NY 10024.
During its existence, the Exceptional Young Artists Fund has awarded a total of over $100,000 to over 30 young artists.
History Projects Fund
The History Projects Fund, managed by Lilita Bergs with the assistance of Aivars Keire and Baiba Pinne, in 2008 received a total of $230 in contributions. Since it’s founding in 2006 the fund has received a total of $5,180.
The fund’s current objective is to cover the expenses of Anna igure in the preparation of her book, originally called “Eslingena,” about the Latvian Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Germany following the Second World War. The current name of the forthcoming book is “Viņi”. Her plan is to cover the lives of people, in the form of a novel, after the people left Latvia in 1944-1945 to escape the advancing soviet army and before they left the camps for overseas countries around 1950. The manuscript is expected to be ready in the spring of 2009.
Contributions to the Fund can be made by sending a check, written to “Latvian Cultural Association TILTS, Inc.”, to TILTS, c/o Lilita Bergs, P.O. Box 67, Fabius, NY 13063.
Meetings in Latvia
To facilitate interaction with and among people who have moved to Latvia from the West, particularly among the members of TILTS, on July 3, jointly with The Canada-Latvian Business Association managed by Edvīns Kalviņ, TILTS arranged in Krastmala Lido a gathering of Latvians of the world. Participants were from the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, Great Britain, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden and Latvia.
The restaurant could seat 300, in view of the ongoing Song Festival 350 signed up, and 370 arrived. Some were unhappy with the crowds at the registration, but overall the event fulfilled its purpose. The new PBLA president Mārtiņ Sausiņ gave a short address, and later the Toronto folk dance group “Daugaviņa” performed.
To continue this tradition, a similar meeting is planned for the summer of 2009. With the help of board member Edvīns Kalviņ Riga company “Tehniskie partneri”, a meeting is planned for August 2, 2009 12:00 to 3:00 PM at the “Čarlestons” restaurant. This time there will be a strict limit of 150 seats, and therefore timely registration is advisable with the following: Ģirts Zeidenbergs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 001 302 529 7442, Skype: ‘girtszeidenbergs33’; Astrīda Jansone, email@example.com; Velga Kalniņa firstname.lastname@example.org; or Indra Sproģe-Kalviņa, email@example.com, 371 6729 3361 or 371 2961 1205.
With Gratitude, the Board of the Latvian Cultural Association TILTS
There were 123 members of the TITLS board in 2008: 88 USA, 31 Latvia, 3 Canada, 1 UK
|TZO||= Triju zvaigžņu ordenis|
|TZOGZ||= Triju zvaigžņu ordeņa goda zīme|
|AK||= Atzinības krusts|
|AKGZ||= Atzinības krusta goda zīme|
|LMB||= Latviešu Mūzikas balva|
|LZA||= Latvijas Zinātņu akadēmijas Lielā medaļa|
|ALA||= ALA Atzinības raksts|
Dace tauvere Aperāne /TZO, LMB/
Anita telmane Auzenberga
Lilita Bergs /ALA/
Laima Rita Bērziņ
Jānis Bībelnieks /TZO/
Aleksandra Aldermane Cigusis
Rolfs Ekmanis /TZO/
Emīls Elstiņ /ALA/
Līga Tālberga Gonzalez /ALA/
Maija Veinberga Hinkle /AK, ALA/
Edīte Mūrniece Irbe /ALA/
Astrīda Jansone /TZO, ALA/
Benita Jaundāldere /ALA/
Līga Jēkabsone /ALA/
Imants Kalniņ /TZO/
Edvīns Kalviņ /AKGZ/
Lauma Upelniece Katis /TZO, ALA/
Uldis Klauss /TZO/
Zaiga Voldiņa Klīmane
Elīze Linauta Korn
Anita Liepiņa /TZO/
Maija Medne /ALA/
Vita Grolle Ozoliņa
Andris Padegs /TZO, LZA, ALA/
Ilze Pētersone /ALA/
Zaiga Alksne Phillips /AK, ALA/
Marģers Pinnis /TZO/
Ināra Reinis /ALA/
Laila Michelsone Robiņa /TZO, ALA/
Jānis Robiņ /TZO/
Anna čakste Rollins /TZOGZ/
Andris Runka /ALA/
Gunta Puzule Semba
Laimonis Siliņ /TZO, ALA/
Raimonds Slaidiņ Jr.
Sandra Padega Slokenberga
Inta rādere /ALA/
Ruta Krūze Strobele
Jānis Students /ALA/
Rita Gāle Uibo /TZO/
Juris Ulmanis /TZO/
Ināra Dermane Vehvilainen
Katrīne Čakste Wilson /TZOGZ/
Maija Zaeska /ALA/
Diāna Dumpe Zaķis
Ģirts Zeidenbergs /TZO, ALA/
Māra Zemdega /TZO/
Astra Pētersone Zemzare /TZOGZ, ALA/
Kārlis Zvejnieks /TZO/