"Children of happiness. Kokariem - 100 ”

Exhibition “Children of Happiness. Kokariem - 100 ”


Stories and memories, photographs and testimonies of time, all add to the cultural environment of the Kokari brothers, emphasizing the personality of each. During the meetings with the members of the Kokari choirs, we tried to catch the vibrating mood around it - it is impossible to fix it and put it on paper. However, we tried to ask, listen, understand and select events, pictures, stories from the large collection. The exhibition features photographs, stories and audio excerpts from members of the choirs "Daile", "Daina", "Beverīna", "Ave Sol" and "Dziedonis". Through the life stories, I still feel the presence of Imants and Gido.

Brothers


Imants and Gido Kokari. Brothers. Twin brothers. Although each had different character traits, they were aware of the power of the twin brothers. They supported each other and shouted, "Brother ... brother."

"They were not such general philosophers - they were the people of our earth. Everything came from life, from experience. Love and kindness. ”
/ Jānis Rijnieks, composer, conductor /

"If today's life makes you do everything fast from a young age, the experience of the brothers was different. Until the age of 40, they lived a peaceful life in Cēsis: they conducted choirs, organized events, and participated in exhibitions. With these relatively small works, they strengthened their spines. Only after they knew how to keep the world in check, how to conduct, did they succeed and their careers began.
One is logical and the other is romantic. One is a mathematics teacher, the other is Latvian. Both music teachers. ”
/ Laima Kota, books “Brother. Brother ”author /

"Becoming Cocara's 'own' was special, then completely different human aspects were revealed - the taste and passion of life in everything - both at work and in everyday life, maximalism, inexhaustible energy, creativity, leadership, as well as simplicity and sincerity."
/ Aira Birziņa, student of Imants Kokars /

"In the concert of the guide, any song was conducted with heart and soul, he was extremely sparkling, extremely passionate. Imants was more of a classic, he was - like a mathematician - technical, but Gido was with his soul, he was with his heart, he was literally sparkling all the time - and we survived it all. ”
/ Elga Paukšēna, member of the choir “Daile” /

"Imants was always ready."
/ John Rijnieks, composer, conductor / AUDIO

Both brothers at Avotiņi's native house, 20th century. 40s. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Photo session of the premiere of the documentary "Kokaru Song Festival". Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Forest Days, spring of 1936. Imants and Gido are sitting on the ground on the ground with a shovel in their hands. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

An attempt at a song festival. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Everyday life of wood choirs


The choir was a work - with sweat, with discipline, with regime. Being in a choir was a big part of life, creating personalities, forming beliefs and leading life stories.

"At six o'clock, when the rehearsal began, he [Gido] was always in front of us. He was so prepared! But understand what it means for the choir - dear ladies, who worked all day, then ran through the shops, sunbathe, come with their bags, food for the family and settle down - huuu - you can finally relax! But the guide is like a string! And he asks, and he pulls out the choir, pulls out everything he can. ”
/ Uldis Celmiņš, member of the choir “Daile” /

"The rehearsals took place at the conservatory and Strūgu Street. At least twice a week. Monday, Wednesday like amen in church. ”
/ Rūta Branka, member of the choir “Daile” /

"I don't know how life would have developed without a choir. The children had nowhere to leave, so they took it to the rehearsal. The guide's slogan was - kids don't bother me! You're chatting, it bothers me! Then everyone brought their children. ”
/ Vija Ķirse, member of the choir “Daile” /

"The choir was an extreme discipline."
/ Maija Krūmiņa (born Jēgere), member of the choir “Daile” / AUDIO

Before starting the rehearsal, Imants wakes up his watch and the "big singing festival" has begun! Always in time, always in the mood of work and bustle, maestro Kokars is supposedly out of everyday life, now there are musicians, and the choirs, without realizing it, fall under the suggestion of a great master. "It simply came to our notice then. Let's sing gammas for rest! ”
/ Igors Pavlovs, member of the choir “Dziedonis” /

"It simply came to our notice then. Once every six months. There were all the delays. Very great discipline. We were also very respected. Sometimes we get angry - What's the matter ?! But we are adults. Us as small children. - But there must be discipline. It's different than it can be. "
/ Anna Būre, member of the choir “Beverīna” /

Nothing could happen in Daile without Gido's knowledge. Not a single fly could hit a man's forehead when he couldn't see it. ”
/ Uldis Celmiņš, member of the choir “Daile” /

A rehearsal of the choir "Singer" on a trip. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Rehearsal of the choir "Beverīna", Tartu, 1977. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Rehearsal of the choir "Ave Sol". Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Choir trips abroad


No matter how far the choir went, the song was always present.

"One of the longest concert tours in the first years of the choir's existence, when Gido Kokars had organized a visit for his large choir to the students of the Tartu Teachers' Institute, is vividly remembered. Even though almost nine years have passed since the end of the Second World War, all the members of the choir still went to Tartu in open trucks. ”
Source: Zigrīda Kraule Bīrīte, “Born to the Amber Song”, Riga, 2008

"It was beautiful to travel around the Soviet Union."
/ Maija Krūmiņa (born Jēgere), member of the choir “Daile” /   AUDIO

"We were in Leningrad several times. There was a house of culture named after the great communist. We had to sing there and [Imants] Kokars felt that there would be no sound at all. He picked up and tore down all the curtains. And we gave a concert. ”
/ Maija Ozoliņa, member of the choir “Beverīna” /

"It was one of the reasons why people came to sing."
/ Jānis Rijnieks, composer, conductor /

"You have to be in the right place with the right song and mood."
/ Maija Ozoliņa, member of the choir “Beverīna” / AUDIO

Choir “Daile: foreign travel map. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Choir "Singer" in Romania, 1976. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Choir "Beverine" meeting with the choir from Brest. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Imants Kokars notes calendar, 1972. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Choir "Beverina" with a choir from Kamchatka, Estonia, 1977. Source: Exposition of the choir “Beverīna” at Cēsis Bērzaine Primary School.

Choir shows, competitions


The excitement of the fight and the taste of victory. Thorough preparation. Your vision of how everything should be. Choir course, length of women's choir costumes, singing. Above all - trust.

Imants taught us to "hold" and tune us. I think he was worried internally, but we didn't show it. Before the shows we sang very difficult exercises. He was convinced, at the same time, with such positive excitement that we - the choirs - would sing at the right time and place. Imants made us relax, breathe, then lie on chairs, then sit up, get up, exercise. You have to go to the show with the thought - we will be the best. "
/ Anna Būre, member of the choir “Beverīna” /

"What fascinates me most about Gido - no matter how responsible the concert, the choir show or whatever - I never felt insecure about him. As we walked forward, he never felt the excitement in his eyes. You could look at him and make music with him. ”
/ Maija Krūmiņa (born Jēgere), member of the choir “Daile” /

"It was all thanks to Gido - he invented, organized and did everything. Concert life was very serious, as Gido approached the song and the concerts with the utmost responsibility and attention. The choir had to be ready like a knife anytime, anywhere. He believed that no fledering could take place. "
/ Uldis Celmiņš, member of the choir “Daile” /

"Actually, we all loved Guido so much!" / Zigrīda Grīna, member of the choir “Daile” / AUDIO

"Imants and Gido always invented something new to surprise their singers. Once after a concert it was decided to transform the choir into a stable orchestra, now and now. After a short while, the willow branches turned into stables, the pitch was adjusted within the octave, and the choir, accompanied by a stable orchestra, was already walking on an open truck to continue on its way. ”
Zigrīda Kraule Bīrīte, “Born for the Amber Song”, Riga, 2008

"Before any concert, Imants became nervous, planted and transplanted men's lines, changed everything that gave in to such a change, but never corrected the overall sound. I think that with these manipulations, the maestro drives away the tension from which even this supererudited musician was not free. ”
/ Igors Pavlovs, member of the choir “Dziedonis” /

"I remember that he [Imants] had his lips painted before the concerts. When you get on stage, you have to be beautiful and your clothes neat. ”
/ Anna Būre, member of the choir “Beverīna” /

Ave sol, Japan, 1993. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Song Wars, Beverīna Choir ”, 1970. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Awards for the choir "Singer", Gorizia, Italy, 1977. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Honorary inscription for the choir "Dziedonis", 1960. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Choir costumes


Self-sewn, self-forged. Sometimes heavy, but carried with honor and nobility.

"At that time [in 1955] everyone was still dressed not in some kind of fine iron, but in white clothes sewn from their underwear clothes with garters around to look a little like folk costume."
/ Rūta Branka, member of the choir “Daile” /

"The costumes of the choir" Daile "consisted of small rings." / Uldis Celmiņš, member of the choir “Daile” / AUDIO

“1960. Song Festival of the Year - what a waistcoat for all the ladies, how perfect the dress is! But in fact, those suits were made of cotton rags. We had a camp in Dubulti - Gido had me tear down those old dresses, I had one that I could surround myself three times. Everything had to be torn apart, the folds made so that everything fit - then we had to go show Gido. The length had to be up to the height of the matchbox from the ground; waist, the bodice had to fit snugly. Then he allowed to sew. One singer brought a sewing machine, sewn through the nights. ”
/ Vija Ķirse, member of the choir “Daile” /

Then the Centenary of the Song Festival was approaching, Imants already had a conversation with the artist Mirdza Kangari about the new costumes of "Beverīna". Kangare drew sketches. Imants came to me and said - All the choirs are awful, all the workshops and art houses in Riga are busy, busy, there is no one who makes jewelry for "Beverīna". You, as a master of arts and crafts, have to make jewelry. I had no choice. "
/ Vilnis Ozolins, member of the choir Beverīna /

The biggest material investment was the choir's "clothing". We had 4 "uniforms" at our disposal, suitable for all occasions. Already in the second half of the 1960s, the choirs could be proud of their well-sewn tailcoats made of expensive fabric, which caused envy among the members of other choirs. ”
/ Igors Pavlovs, member of the choir “Dziedonis” /

"Imanta always needed cufflinks. He regularly lost them, either one or both. Sofia and I always got to look for new ones. There was no way without them. They just had to be. The butterfly also had to be. ”
/ Maija Ozoliņa, member of the choir “Beverīna” /

Sketch of the women's costume jewelry of the choir "Daile". Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Imants Kokars is sewing a concert costume for himself. Source: Exposition of the choir “Beverīna” at Cēsis Bērzaine Primary School.

The so-called Lāčplēsis costume of the choir “Beverīna”, Anna Būre with her husband Raiti Būri. Source: Anna Būre's private album

Fragment of a jute costume by the choir “Beverinas”, author Vilnis Ozoliņš. Source: Vilnius Ozolina's private album

Choir repertoire


Each choir has its own anthem song. Serious and great songs, modern and everyday songs were sung. From time to time, the brothers' favorite songs are added to the repertoire.

The Dailes Choir was one of the first to collaborate with Imants Kalniņš. We sang songs that Imants Kalniņš had written especially for the choir "Dailes". ”
/ Elga Paukšēna, member of the choir “Daile” /

"Imants Kalnins said:" And have I really written it all ?! " / Vija Ķirse, member of the choir “Daile” / AUDIO

When I was working in television and at the same time creating "Happiness", I tried to put on the song "Meadows decorated with flowers" every spring. Because it's such a light - When Gido conducted, the choir responded to him, everything sparkled there. ”
/ Jānis Rijnieks, composer, conductor /

"Both conductors, with some inner flair or sixth sense, have always been able to guess what people will want to hear now or in the near future."
Zigrīda Kraule Bīrīte, “Born for the Amber Song”, Riga, 2008

"The most striking impressions are the song wars before the Song Festival. Once we sang "Broken Pines" one night! There was nothing to sing that year. Everyone sang "Broken Pines" - over and over again, we were about seven. It was a must-have song, the choices were "Tek, saulīte". The hall was crowded, it was hot, it dragged on for an awful long time. ”
/ Rūta Branka, member of the choir “Daile” /

"One of Imants Kokars' favorite songs." / Maija Ozoliņa, member of the choir “Beverīna” / AUDIO

Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkaln

Concert program dedicated to the 70th birthday of the Kokari brothers. Source: Gulbene County Library Local History Collection

The Kokari brothers as teachers

Toughness and demandingness, at the same time understanding and humanity. Ask from others as much as others give.

"You are a woman, I do not know how to conduct," is the sentence I remember most vividly from the first hour in Imants Kokars' class. It is important to mention here that there are very few women on the list of students of Imants Kokars; In his words, "one wept, one was silent." Then, after many, many years, I was again the first person he taught. "
/ Aira Birziņa, student of Imants Kokars /

"Before I got into his conducting class, there was a lot of respect, dignity and awe for the rector, even the fear of getting into his sharp sight when there was a question: 'What's going on here?' Only those who have heard this question and experienced the closeness of Kokari can imagine it. Kokaru's unusual tone of voice and manner of speech, sense of language must be added to everything.
/ Aira Birziņa, student of Imants Kokars /

"Imants Kokars was very demanding in his specialty." / Rota Salmiņa, student of Imants Kokars / AUDIO

"Another thing taught by Imants Kokars is that a musician's life can be full and fulfilled only if the work of a conductor is combined with the work of a teacher. Never just one or the other. ”
/ Rota Salmiņa, student of Imants Kokars /

"The guide learned to bring such peace." / Irēna Azace, student of Gido Kokara, member of the choir “Daile” / AUDIO

Different individualities. Rector's office. From left: Gido Kokars, Imants Kokars. Source: Library collection of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

Travel names. Rector Imants Kokars congratulates graduate Aldan Milzaraja. Source: Library collection of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

Great talents of a teacher, psychologist and organizer. Guide Kokars. Source: Library collection of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

Brothers Kokari's choral conducting gestures


Conductors' gestures are like handwriting, each conductor has its own - unique, unique, specific. Imanta's gestures - strong and temperamental. Guide gestures - exciting, creative and understandable.

"Imants' choir conducting gestures cannot be confused with anyone else. He was so precise, so readable, telling the content of the songs. He had those wide gestures. He said everything with his gesture, it was full of love. Very fluid, professional and very accurate. Every voice knew when to sing. ”
/ Anna Būre, member of the choir “Beverīna” /

"I remember one of my first prayers. I was asked, "Ornament, do you know very little what a hint is?" And it was drawn and explained. ”
/ Rota Salmiņa, student of Imants Kokars /

"When I started studying at the Riga Pedagogical Institute, I started singing - at that time, two other Kokari were conducting the same song at the same time. The two were in front, they dressed exactly the same - in the same suits, in the same garter - they looked exactly the same! And they both stood together. ”
/ Rūta Branka, member of the choir “Daile” /

“The Latvian School of Conducting is highly valued in the world, and Imants Kokars, who was very demanding as a teacher, was also very demanding in the nuances of both manual technique and musical expression. In Japan, for example, it is felt in the hands and posture of new choral conductors, the master himself is no longer alive and the young artists are not present in person, but influenced by his personalities through his teachers. ”
/ Aira Birziņa, student of Imants Kokars /

Imants Imants Kokars. Chord gestures. Source: exposition of the choir “Beverīna” at Cēsis Bērzaine Primary School

Rehearsal of the choir "Singer", 1968. Source: Brothers Kokari exposition in Ozolkalns

Inventor of the "powder". Imants Kokars. Source: Library collection of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

The closing concert of the 1980 Song and Dance Festival. Imants refused to hide under an umbrella. Source: exposition of the choir “Beverīna” at Cēsis Bērzaine Primary School

Chord gestures. Guide Kokars. 2014 Photo: Egons Stals

Kokaru's contribution:

“In principle, their activity was a special turning point in the history of the development of Latvian choral music in the period after the Second World War. A fundamentally different attitude towards the song, towards the performance. It was no longer such strict academism. They brought so many new colors, choir music and choir concerts became popular. The guide had to announce several concerts for the program in order to buy tickets. ”
/ Jānis Rijnieks, composer, conductor /

Project “Children of Happiness. Kokari - 100 ”has received support in the cultural project competition announced by the Vidzeme Planning Region“ Vidzeme Culture Program 2021 supported by the Latvian State Forests and the State Cultural Capital Fund ”.