Epp-Karike Sonin always amazes, inspires and delights us — especially on January 11 when she beautifully performed at the dedication of the "Epp Sonin Music Room" at the Follen Church in Lexington, Massachusetts. Her lovely lyric soprano captivated everyone. The spacious room, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and cathedral ceiling, was filled to capacity. The overflow audience watched the program being streamed to monitors to other church function rooms.
The historic church had recently undergone a $ 4.1 million expansion with the addition of another floor to the existing administrative/ meeting space. The third floor has been named the "Sonin Music Center" in recognition of the lead challenger grant from Epp. For over 40 years Epp has been a Follen Church member and soprano soloist, and is the founder of the Lexington Music School. She has also been board member and president of the Lexington Symphony Orchestra, and is an active member of the Cantata Singers. Epp, among her many other commitments, is on the Board of Directors of Musica Viva NY and is a trustee of the Boston Landmark Orchestra.
The concert "My Musical Journey — A Life in Song and Story" was dedicated by Epp to the retired Revered Louise Curtis who lay the foundation of Follen as "the Music Church." (The Follen Chruch, the oldest church in Lexington, includes Ralph Waldo Emerson as one of its ministers in the 19th century.) The program consisted of songs in four languages and with each song Epp told the story behind the song and how it was part of her personal story. As always, Epp included a selection of Estonian folk songs in her program. A champagne reception with cake and kringel (baked by Karen Ojamaa) was waiting downstairs for the hundreds of well wishers.
For Estonians in Boston, Epp has always been the mainstay of all events. Since she moved to Boston in the 1970s she has not only performed at all of the Estonian functions, but has also introduced other musicians to the Estonian community. She invited Diana Liiv and Hando Nahkur to teach at her Lexington Music School in the Munroe Center for the Arts which she opened in 1984. She has introduced Estonian music by Veljo Tormis and Arvo Pärt to American audiences. Because of her, the Lexington High School Chorus has not only visited Estonia, but also performed Estonian songs at various concerts.
It is no wonder that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently recognized Epp's contribution and dedication, and presented her with an Official Citation in Recognition of her contributions to the success of the Lexington Symphony Orchestra on their 25th anniversary.
Marilem Soodla Ferentinos
January 20, 2020