8th World Choir Games Praised for Exceptional Quality
“I am grateful to the organisers of the World Choir Games for their amazing work that has gone into the event, and I wish that the mission of the World Choir Games – to bring nations together and foster peace and harmony in the world – is ever more compelling at every subsequent World Choir Games,” said Dace Melbārde, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, adding she was very pleased that the guests to the festival would now recognise Latvia and Riga as a place where long-standing choral traditions are combined with contemporary performance standards and popularised around the world.
“For the past ten days Riga, the European Capital of Culture, was witnessing a vibrant and highly diverse festival of world culture. Thanks to singers from around the globe, Riga became the world’s choral capital, acknowledging, with great responsibility, the positive power of culture, the rich diversity of traditional cultures, and the fact that singing indeed brings nations together. I am very grateful to all who participated in organising the World Choir Games, overcoming all challenges to make this immense international cultural event happen,” said Diāna Čivle, the Head of the “Riga 2014” foundation and Head of the National Organising Committee of the World Choir Games, emphasising that she would try to cherish the emotions that she had been revelling in during the World Choir Games for as long as possible.
“I believe that this celebration of world culture that has continued for the past ten days was a truly great and magnificent event, a meeting under the aegis of music, cultural diversity, respect for each other and everyone’s cultural values. I consider it a major achievement for all of us.
This unforgettable event takes a very special place in our cultural programme. I wish to emphasise the artistic values of it and the fact that the Great Celebration Concert in Mežaparks gave us the opportunity to tell the world more about our Folk Song Festival, whereas the Sacred Music Concert in St. Gertrude Old Church was, artistically, one of the pinnacles of the event. The World Choir Games also paved the way for multiple creative collaborations, such as the premiere of Ēriks Ešenvalds’ new composition, jointly performed by such prominent artists as “Latvian Voices”, “The King’s Singers” and the instrumental ensemble “Xylem Trio”.” Diāna Čivle is also very grateful to Latvian choirs and conductors because – “All of us were the hosts for the World Choir Games, and we did our job very well.”
The German cultural organisation “Interkultur” President Günter Titsch said that Riga and Latvia had overcome all the organisational challenges remarkably well: “The choirs that participated in the Games, and are now heading home with the awards they won at the event, may have not known Riga at all, which is especially true of children’s and youth choirs; likewise, many adults told me the same. Now they know for certain that, although small, Latvia is a wonderful country, and you may be deservedly proud of what you have achieved and what you are yet to do. During my prior visits to Riga I saw how rich your cultural life is, and the ten-day World Choir Games most certainly contributed to it.
We, in turn, achieved exactly what we had hoped for – that choirs from all over the world meet here, participate in friendly competition, have a favourable impression of the land and country they are visiting, make friends with each other and, possibly, return with new performances to Riga and Latvia.”
The coverage of the World Choir Games has also been unprecedented – never before had Günter Titsch seen as much choral singing broadcast on TV and radio. “The organiser of the World Choir Games, “Interkultur” is leaving Riga to begin preparations for the 2016 Games, but the cultural life in Riga will certainly continue as you still are the European Capital of Culture, and I wish you every success with all the events to come.” Günter Titsch also presented the latest statistics of the World Choir Games: “460 choirs, over 800 performances in competitions, 71,000 meals at the catering centre, almost 80,000 overnight accommodations and many thousand kilometres on the road – everything was organised at a high level, for which I am very grateful. I also say thanks to the multiple volunteers, without which we would not have been able to create such a cordial atmosphere in the city.”
The World Choir Games Artistic Director Romāns Vanags proudly reminded that Latvia had proven its status of a choral superpower, winning six Champion titles and 54 medals, and making it to the Top 5. “The artistic quality of the participants in the World Choir Games was very high. This is proved by hard facts – the record number of medals handed out by the eighth World Choir Games Jury, and the large number of people who attended performances in various categories, the special concerts, and the workshops.
For the choirs’ outstanding achievements, we owe our gratitude to conductors and choristers. Their daily work is incommensurate contribution to the development of choral music in the world.
This was a chance for us to see choirs’ diversity in the world, and it grieves me a little that we will not see anything of the kind here anytime soon.”
In conclusion of the press conference, the World Choir Games Honorary Artistic Director Morten Lauridsen thanked the organisers for the opportunity to visit a country with such rich choral traditions and meet choirs from all over the world: “We are witnessing a very important event – that we can be united in singing, and the rest of the world can learn very much from the World Choir Games participants. At this event, 27,000 singers shared the most personal instrument they had – their voice. I am proud to be part of this event, and I believe that a country with such rich choral traditions as Latvia deserved to have the World Choir Games take place here. And it is no surprise that the three Baltic countries received the first World Choir Games Peace Prize – thereby we confirmed our respect for the choral traditions here.”
Morten Lauridsen went on to say that he was pleasantly surprised at the rich cultural life of Riga, admitting that, after what he had seen, he would like to stay in Riga for a while yet: “I have really grown fond of Latvia! Thanks to my guide, and the taxi driver, too, I had a chance to acquaint myself with the city, its history, get a feeling of the Latvian atmosphere and experience the culture of Latvia.”
The World Choir Games is the largest choir music festival in the world, which this year brought 460 choirs from 73 countries on five continents, or a total of 27,000 choir singers, to Riga. The idea of the World Choir Games is to bring people together through singing in peaceful competition. For ten days, from the 9th to the 19th of July, competitions in 29 categories were held in Riga concert halls and parks, as well as master classes and seminars, special concerts and friendship concerts, the Parade of Nations and much, much more. The World Choir Games are hosted biennially since 2000. The Games in Riga were organised by the “Riga 2014” foundation in co-operation with the German cultural organisation “Interkultur”.