World Choir Games 2014 introduced at "Esplanāde 2014"
„Latvia is waiting participants of World Choir Games with pride fulfilling a dream of Latvian great conductor Imants Kokars to organise the event in here. It's a significant time to prepare for the Games, as XXV Latvian Song and XV Dance Celebration is being held at the same time presenting one more bright choir contest,” said Žanete Jaunzeme-Grende, Minister for Culture, during the opening event.
Günter Titsch, president of German culture organisation „Interkultur” (organisers of World Choir Games) noted:
„Singing in Latvia is not just a symbol of its independence. It's an important part for every Latvian. Riga is an excellent place to organise this event.”
Before recording a video greeting to all potential World Choir Games (WCG) participants, international joint choir performed „Saule. Pērkons. Daugava” („Sun. Thunder. Daugava.”) by a composer Mārtiņš Brauns. Previous WCG winners joined to this large-scale joint collective: mixed choir „Sōla”, vocal band „Latvian Voices”, mixed choir from Russian city Ulyanovsk, Spanish choir from Lübeck (leaded by a creative director Andis Paegle from Germany) and other collectives leaded by Romāns Vanags, the creative director of WCG. He, in fact, has agreed to teach all WCG participants how to sing „Saule. Pērkons. Daugava”.
When met at the event, young people from Ulyanovsk choir told they have learned three Latvian songs while preparing for Song and Dance Festival: „Saule. Pērkons. Daugava” („Sun. Thunder. Daugava”), „Gaismas pils” („Castle of Light”) and „Dvēseles dziesma” by Ēriks Ešenvalds („Soul Song”). „Latvian language is pretty hard to learn, but we managed to sing those three songs! We hope to join WCG next year, as long as someone invites us,” said singers.
On Friday, during Latvian Song and Dance Festival, and at Mežaparks, when the closing concert of the Festival „Līgo” was held, Spanish choir from Lübeck leaded by conductors Andis Paeglis and his colleague Gunta took their part also thinking of joining next year's WCG. „We are two Latvian conductors who got to live in Lübeck, thus, we now conduct one choir. It was founded in 1995 by a conductor from Ecuador. It's interesting that this collective actually grow from Spanish language learning courses. It's easier to learn the language when you sing in it.” The repertoire is mainly based on songs composed by Spanish speaking and Latin American authors. As soon as Andis and Gunta took over the choir, several Latvian and Finno-Ugric songs have appeared. „We really hoped we could join Song and Dance Festival. And it happened,” joyfully says Paegle.
Asked about the meaning of WCG organising in Latvia next year, a composer Ēriks Ešenvalds (he is also an author of WCG hymn „My song”) answered:
„I think arranging WCD in Latvia is a completely logical next step for us considering our long singing traditions.”
When I met Morten Lauridsen, he is a composer coming to WCG next year, I said to him: Morten, let's meet in Riga! He replied: Yes! I'll meet you there."
Conductor Mārtiņs Ozoliņš thinks WCG is another way Latvian choirs can represent themselves. „I know many collectives have already applied, so they will be able to perform next year, as well, in a world context. Let's be honest: it would be hardly possible to go to WCG in any other country. In those conditions, it is a great possibility for all of us. We have to apply!” He thinks „Arēna Rīga” is perfectly suitable for WCG large-scale singalong concert also not forgetting about other, no less important, big events. Open-stage style event, of course, suits Song and Dance Festival the best. Weather may be quite unpredictable by that time, so this arena is perfect for WCG."
WCG will be held during The European Capital of Culture programme from 9 to 19 July. 20 000 participants from 70 countries will compete in 29 categories including sacral and folk music, jazz, contemporary music, etc.
To find more information about „Rīga 2014” foundation events, click here.