© Bela Bartok Male Choir
European Choir Games 2017

Wine and song – the recipe for success for the Bela Bartok Male Choir?

Hungarian choir lines up to convince the jury of the Eurovision Choir of the Year competition

Wine and singing are inseparably connected and bear an amazingly rich and colorful treasure of vocal art music and folklore. This conviction led the Bela Bartok Male choir to establish in 1993 an annual forum for the male choirs of Europe and the world – the annual Winesong Festival. Moreover they regularly perform winesongs on stage which capture audience and jury alike. And this recipe for success might also work at the Eurovision Choir of the Year competition when the choir represents Hungary at this European choral contest.

Reanimated after the war in 1944 the Bela Bartok Male Choir resumed its musical mission with its conductor József Sólyom, who led the ensemble until 1957. The choir was supported by the Union Committee of the Transportation Company Pécs and thus the singers mainly consisted of trolley drivers, ticket inspectors and drivers. But singing alone did not meet the singers’ ambitions, so they initiated a nationwide meeting of choirs, held in different cities year by year.

During this period they also toured by the means of choral exchange partnerships. They achieved outstanding results at national music competitions with their conductors István Hegyi, Valér Jobbágy and later József Hergenrőder. In 1980 Tamás Lakner became the new leader of the ensemble and this upswing gave the choir a new direction which included performances of new modern works, tours abroad and their participation in international competitions. After the political transition in Hungary, the choir took advantage of the new possibilities which arose from this development and succeeded in numerous international and nationwide contests.

Eurovision Choir of the Year is a new format in the Eurovision event family led by the Eurovision Song Contest. Its first edition will be held in Riga on July 22 and be broadcasted in nine European countries. More information at www.eurovisionchoir.tv.

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