Former Political Prisoners‘ and Exiles‘ Choir "ATMINTIES GAIDA“

In November 1988, the exiles in Kaipėda established the Tremtinys (Exile) Club. The Council of the club decided to form a choir of exiles, and quite a large group of those who wanted to sing gathered.

The first rehearsal of the choir took place on 15 January 1989, and, just a month later, they had their first concert in commemoration of the 16th of February at the Palace of Culture of the Maritime Trade Port. The Klaipėda choir of exiles started active public and concert activities. On 30 May 1989, the choir members went to Kaunas to meet with Bernardas Brazdžionis, the beloved poet of exiles. In 1990, a trip to Częstochowa, Poland, was organised to attend the consecration of the mausoleum for the killed Polish officers and the political prisoners and exiles who did not return to their homeland.

Starting from 6 March 1992, the choir was led by Vytautas Saikauskas, a teacher at the conducting department of E. Balsys Art Gymnasium. Under his leadership, the choir strengthened, as well as more people who supported the movement of exiles became involved in activities of the choir. Before going to the World Lithuanian Song Festival (1994), the choir decided on their name - Atminties gaida (The Note of Memory). The Klaipėda choir has gradually become one of the major artistic companies of this kind in Lithuania.

The Atminties gaida choir regularly participates in the Leiskit į Tėvynę (Let us to the Homeland) poetry and song festivals of former political prisoners and exiles, taking place in various Lithuanian cities. In 1997, they hosted of one of such festivals that involved the participation of poet Bernardas Brazdžionis and other famous Lithuanian poets and musicians.

The choir participates in the Su Lietuva širdy (With Lithuania in the Heart) meetings of political prisoners and participants of the Freedom Fights that are held annually in Ariogala.

The voices of the exile choir can also be heard at various events held on public holidays or to commemorate significant dates, at Advent music concerts in Klaipėda, as well as during joint concerts with young performers of E. Balsys Arts Gymnasium. The choir often sings in the Church of Christ the King in Klaipėda, at the Exiles Headquarters and at the Community House.

The choir has recorded and released two CDs: Parveski, Viešpatie (Lead Us Lord) (2007) and Leiskit į Tėvynę (Let us to the Homeland) (2016). In 2009, a book titled “Atminties gaida” (“The Note of Memory”) was published, which is a comprehensive chronicle of the choir’s activities (Druka Publishing Group, Klaipėda).

In 2019, the Atminties gaida choir celebrated its 30th anniversary. The main chord of the commemoration was Ant marių kranto (On the Shore of the Lagoon) festival of the Samogitian Region exile and resistance songs held at the ŽVEJŲ RŪMAI Culture Centre of the Klaipėda City Municipality, which was attended by performers and choirs from all over Lithuania.

The jubilee year of the creative activity of the choir coincided with the 70th anniversary of Vytautas Saikauskas, the leader of the choir team. This date was marked by a joint concert held on the Park Stage near the Klaipėda Concert Hall. The Atminties gaida choir sang along with the Alna mixed choir and the Bangelė ensemble.

Skip to content