To Breathe As One
“A beautiful documentary, To Breathe as One captures the power and inspiration of the festival and of voices joined en masse to be heard over past and present world events.”
– Marta Yamamoto, Contra Costa Times
In Estonian, the words “soul” and “breathe” come from the same root — “to breathe as one” means more than coordinated inhaling and exhaling — it connects souls together.
Every five years, 30,000 people gather on the same stage in the small country of Estonia to join
voices and sing in the National Song Festival for two days, becoming the largest choir in the
world. More than a music festival, it’s a miracle that at least twice in history gave freedom to
that country. To Breathe As One explores the beauty and meaning of the choral festival through
the eyes of the young members of the California-based Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir,
one of the few American choirs invited to participate.
Learning difficult songs — all in Estonian — the youngsters prepare for months and then set
off to join the many thousands from around the world who gather every five years in Tallinn.
Forming cross-cultural friendships that span the oceans, there they discover the unique role
that music has played for Estonians for over 150 years, as an integral force in maintaining
strength and identity for a people who have faced cultural genocide — more than once.
From the filmmakers of the acclaimed The Singing Revolution, the film reveals that for Estonians
singing is not just a means of cultural expression, but a defining part of their national identity.
Filmmaker Jim Tusty will be present at this screening.
Learn more about the film here.