Prelude in Riga
Opening event with choral sounds from seven participating countries
On Sunday, July 16, 2017 INTERKULTUR and Live Riga officially opened the Grand Prix of Nations Riga 2017 & 3rd European Choir Games at the National Library of Latvia in Riga. The symbolic significance of this venue, also called castle of light, embodying the fusion of various cultures, matched the performances of the choirs present. First of all the president of the Republic of Latvia – Raimonds Vējonis – rose to speak, welcomed the participants, the audience and the choral community in general and stressed that this event would offer the singers “a lot of opportunities” for musical enrichment. Afterwards the Riga City Council executive director Juris Radzevičs also made a speech of welcome and praised the event as an occasion to “meet new friends” and experience “unforgettable emotions and a cultural event once again”.
After these words of welcome the flags of all 30 participating countries were presented by standard bearers in traditional Latvian costumes accompanied by a solemn fanfare and a cheering crowd. Subsequently Günter Titsch, president of INTERKULTUR, thanked all persons involved in the event and highlighted that “this city beams with amicability and harmony and receives all choirs and guests from Latvia and abroad open-hearted.” Especially the TV Show Eurovision Choir of the Year “is something all choirs of the world can be proud of.”
Then the flags were carried into the National Library where all participants were invited to enjoy a musical introduction: The Cantamus Girls Choir from the United Kingdom, the South China University Women’s choir, Incantanti from Switzerland, the Roskilde Cathedral Girls' Choir from Denmark, the Academic Student Choir of the Ural Federal University from Russia, the Kimberley Girls’ Choir from South Africa and the Latvian choirs Aura, Fortius and Vivere gave a musical foretaste of the choral days to come.
The scores of these songs were donated to the library collection and in order to contribute to the cultural diversity of the Latvian Library and enrich the comprehensive intercultural collection of music scores. The opening finished with a good-luck ritual: All singers were invited to take a card with a traditional Latvian four-line poem as a good luck charm for the European Choir Games.
For regular updates, photos and videos from Riga, follow the official Facebook page for the event.