Sound Choir has decided to participate this year to one of the most important eastern-European choir competitions, held in Macedonia. This event has managed to attract no less than 35 choral groups from 16 countries. Being somehow close to home, Romania has been represented here by 5 choirs. And I bet you had no idea about this.
Let’s get things started without furthermore introduction. The next best thing by participating into a competition is that you have the chance to meet with a lot of competitors from all over the world. From this experience you can learn a lot. See new ways of interpretation, recognize music education based on ethnic originality and of course, trade musical sheets.
I haven’t been able to witness all performances due to the fact that our conductor, Voicu Popescu kept on telling us that this is not a vacation, but I think we have seen la creme de la cremes.
On the first day of the contest, the competition concert was opened by Children’s Choir “Omnes” from Riga, Latvia. The choir was founded in 1999 and participated and won prizes at several choir competitions and festivals. The conductor is Aija Kukule, a person that I had admired from the beginning but I will get into details later.
The kids were awesome, full of life and joy. Their image was simple but vivid. It is quite difficult to work with kids and this proofed the talent of the conductor. I guess one of the most important things while working with kids is the repertoire. If the kids like it, than you’ll pretty much have chances of success. And they had. They won the first prize in A category. No wonder there, with pieces like The Crokodile and my favorite, In the clock house by P. Plakidis.
Clearly, Ave Musica from Odessa, Ukraine has managed to do that with no problem. Conductor Sergii Savenko founded the choir in 2007 and won several prizes. I guess the surprise came from the soloist Tetiana Aleksandrova and the choosing of Behind our Barn by Volodymyr Zubitskiy. This song ended their performance and quickly became the favorite of the audience due to the amazing abilities of Tetiana to imitate domestic animals.
This song was also repeated in the evening of the award ceremony and also they have performed a negro spiritual song that from my opinion didn’t suit them perfectly. I mean the soloist is great but not for all genres of music. Despite that, they have won the first prize in the B category.
I’m referring to Eli! Eli! by Deak-Bardos Gyorgy and the modern approach of an Lacrymosa by Calixto Alvarez that can be heard below in the interpretation of another choir met in Debrecen a few years ago, University Choir from Mendoza of the UNCuyo, Argentina (these guys won the Bela Bartok Choir Competition with this song).
Despite the interesting program, Stellatus won the third price. We should also remember the soloist Eniko Jordanov, for the interpretation of Lacrymosa.
Mother Russia finally came to the stage and all the guys rushed to the front row with their cameras ready to capture every…note. Simply coded as Page 9, April choir was formed in Gatchina, Russia in 1998 by their present conductor Elena Smirnova along side Elena Voronez and Marina Kaplan.
Conductor Ewa Mackiewicz, who has been with the choir since the beginning, has chosen between other songs, Il bianco e dolce cigno by Jacob Arcadelt and Ave Maria by Javier Busto, two great songs that came from two different aspects of music. You can hear Sound Choir below interpreting Ave Maria.
The choir was awarded with the third price in C category at the Ohrid Choir Festival 2010.
First romanian choir to take stage was Vox Humana from Sfantu Gheorghe. Well, maybe not quite from Romania 🙂 but still they’ve made a beautiful appearance at the Ohrid Choir Festival. They have chosen songs from Romanian composers as well as Hungarian composers. A balanced repertoire that suit them just perfectly, although the choir idea was to rush everything to it’s imminent dramatic end.
One of the strong competitors in this contest was Bel Canto from Vilnius, Lithuania. Again with the Lithuanians. Kind of a huge choir filled the stage and thunder and storm was supposed to begin but actually it sounded in perfect piano nuances when needed. This was clearly a choir of professional singers, if not, singers who had musical background. The group was formed in 2009 and consists of singers – members of other Lithuanian choirs.