Each year the organisers go to the trouble of laying on a whole range of cultural and discovery activities for the Annual Conference participants. Kuressaare was no exception to the rule during the 21st Annual Conference – judge for yourselves!
A breathtaking concert
All seats were taken in the little Church of St Lawrence in Kuressaare at 6.00pm on Thursday October 16th The ARSIS hand-bell ensemble was giving a concert. This was quite an event for this small town and especially for the participants in the Annual Conference. The 'Arsise noorte kellade Ansambel' (Arsis youth hand-bell ensemble) is made up of 14 young musicians directed by Aivar Mäe, the ensemble's founder; they gave us an amazing, magnificent, magic, breathtaking concert. Their highly varied repertoire, ranging from Estonian pieces to classics such as Tchaikovsky, Bach, Albinoni and Johann Strauss, created a total harmony between the musicians and the audience. Adding to the charm were the freshness and smiles of the young musicians and the almost British humour of the conductor. It is difficult to describe the virtuosity of these instrumentalists who used sets of bells of a whole range of sizes to translate the slightest nuances of works which have the reputation of being difficult to perform.
So at the end of the concert the audience gave the musicians a standing ovation as if to ask for an encore – which the musicians were happy to provide. This was a precious moment not only for the audience but, a little later in the week, also for the townsfolk who were invited to a second concert. And what an incredible performance from these young musicians who regularly play on world tours!
Another very popular aspect of the cultural programme were the guided tours: tours of the town and the bishops’ castle, tours of handicraft workshops, tours of the golf course (magnificent and new). There was a workshop entitled ‘The Mysteries of On-line Learning’ for newcomers and fanatics of the internet, a visit to a workshop producing hand-made soap, presentations of the various spa treatments available; and this catalogue of discoveries was completed with a workshop on the Estonian language and last but not least a workshop on bread, the symbol of Saaremaa.
Let’s be frank about it: although these two lectures were most interesting, the subject matter did not attract many people. But we must point out that there were many competing attractions offered to conference participants, and this was doubtless the reason for poor attendance.
The presentation of Restolingua was given by Paul R.A.J. Van den Heuvel, the company’s director and by Arike Vermazen, head of operations; we should note that this company has signed a cooperation agreement with the AEHT. The exposé enabled the handful of participants to observe how this programme allows the user to produce an accurate translation of menus into a number of languages – for the moment eight. It is intended not only for restaurant professionals across the world, but also for hotel schools which would thus familiarise their students with a tool which they could use in their future careers. Members of the audience asked the presenters a number of questions and there were interesting exchanges.
From global tendencies to local perspectives
Jana Raadik is preparing a doctoral thesis at the department of Tourism and Natural Resources at a University in Colorado (USA); she presented the broad outlines of her research which, as the title indicates, involves work on ‘global tendencies and local perspectives’. In her erudite address she gave an analysis of the inner workings of the secret life of the tourist, asking the question ‘Where are those landscapes of desire’ – with reference to tourism, of course.
And again, the event was thinly attended.