Sunday, 13 November 2011

Lituania Adelaide Lithuanian Choir

First Adelaide Choir by J Mockunas (1974)

The first migrants to Australia were mainly single men or couples without children. The men most often lived near their work place, either in tents or metal barracks for the EWS, Railways, sawmill or other places that Australians didn’t want to work.

In 1948 he rented a small flat near his workplace of Calvary hospital. On Sundays Lithuanians would meet to talk about their work, worries and fears, to sing and sometimes to drink cheap wine. A Lutheran pastor of the name A. F Zinnbauer had heard that they like to sing and offered them an opportunity to sing at an informal Scandinavian gathering. Under Mikas Pareigis their director they began to rehearse, all eleven of them. They sang well and were soon invited to sing at the Royal Society for the Blind after hearing about their performance.

The group soon began rehearsing for the February 16th, Lithuania's Independence day in1949. This event had many Australians so “God save the king” was learnt and sung with four Lithuanian songs. Before the concert the first Lithuanian mass was held where Lithuanian hymns were sung, the organ played by A Giniotis.

3 comments:

GK said...

"First Adelaide Choir" conducted by J. Mockūnas in 1974? I don't think so. I arrived in Adelaide in 1964 at the age of 16 and along with my parents I joined the Choras „Lituania“ (which was already well-established then and had been going quite a few years) and I participated in it until 1970 when I left Adelaide to further my studies in Melbourne. The conductor at that time was Vaclovas Šimkus, who later retired and moved to Canberra.

Gintautas Kaminskas

Daina Pocius said...

The date 1974 is refering to when J Mockunas wrote the history of the choir, not when the choir began. Sorry that wasn't clear in the way I posted it. The choir began in late 1948.

Jonas Mockunas said...

Thanks Daina. Your source was most likely the Lituania choir's 25th anniversary souvenir publication (1974) which was compiled while my father was the choir's business manager. The same publication notes that the name Lituania was only adopted in 1951. The first men's choir disbanded in mid 1949, but was quickly followed by the establishment of a new choir under V Simkus in August 1949.

However there seems to be some confusion on who led the first choir; the 25th anniversary publication (1974) refers to him as M Pareigis, while Australijos Lietuviu Metrastis Vol 1 (1961) refers to him as J Pareigis (see your post of 4 June 2008 re Independence Day 1949). Perhaps someone in Adelaide could provide the answer?

Regards

Jonas Mockunas
Canberra