Award Ceremony at the World Choir Games 2018 © NoltePhotography

Why Choir Competitions Are as Exciting as Big Sporting Events

In the World Choir Games, as with any sport, the competition drives the action.


"It's a terrific example for choirs to follow, because when one choir sings that's great, when two choirs sing together that's better, but when you get as in these INTERKULTUR events with many choirs, then there is an energy which flows from it, which is not like anything else, except maybe a great sports event."
— John Rutter, composer (Great Britain)

In 2022, INTERKULTUR is doing something big. We are introducing Sing for Gold — The World Choral Cup. Taking place in Calella/Barcelona, this new event will feature choirs from countries around the world, all vying for the first ever World Cup of choirs!

It’s an exciting addition to our World Choir Games, and we’re looking forward to seeing a global community of choirs compete in this new competition!

This will be a new way to bring singers together, but it's something we’ve been doing for a long time. Since 2000, INTERKULTUR has been organizing the World Choir Games. And every year, we see the same thing: choir competitions create a special atmosphere. That’s why we continue to innovate new ways to host singing competitions.

Choir competitions bring out a feeling that you can’t really get anywhere else, except maybe at a big sporting event like the Olympics. We started the World Choir Games in the first place to give singing its own Olympics — bringing the excitement and unity that we feel at these major events into the world of singing.

And when you start to think about the world of sports and competitive singing, you find a lot of similarities. Maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising that they deliver such a similar feeling.

The Sport of Song

Anyone who has sung in a choir knows that it is truly a unique experience. When your voice joins with others, following music that you have practiced together for a long time, magic happens. You start to lose yourself in the activity. And for a while, the group works as one.

That feeling of community is special. It’s a big part of why choral music will always be an important part of the art and culture of humanity.

And anyone who has played team sports will know that this same feeling can appear on the field (or the court, or wherever else the game is played). Playing together with a shared goal brings teams in unison. There are moments in a game when the team is completely absorbed in the act of seeking victory, working as one. Again, it’s magic.

Part of the unity in both choral singing and team sports comes from the physicality of both. Singing at a high level is a full body workout, and in a choir you have to match your performance to others. It really is physically demanding like any sport, pushing singers to treat their bodies well.

There is an even bigger kind of unity that begins to form in both competitive choral singing and sports. Because there are people in the stands who become attached to the action.

You can really feel it at the World Choir Games. Spectators come to see their country’s choir succeed. It isn’t that they want anyone to lose, it’s that they feel a certain pride in their own country’s singers.

It goes without saying that the same is true of sports, where spectators can become deeply connected to a team.

Go Team, Go!

Feeling all of this connection to others is the essence of what it means to be human. We connect with an important part of ourselves that is often absent from much of our day-to-day life.

And when you add competition into the mix, the excitement that can erupt is pure joy.

In the World Choir Games, as with any sport, the competition drives the action. It gives people a goal and forces them to be better than they’ve ever been before. And it creates a framework to understand exactly what you need to do to succeed.

For spectators, a competition gives us a direct way to understand when something good happens for our team, and when something bad happens. And it let’s us all cheer as one.

It’s like a dramatic machine — instantly producing emotional highs and lows that we all feel together.

The Electricity in the Air

These features make it clear that competitive singing and sports have a lot in common. And our upcoming SING FOR GOLD — The World Choral Cup 2022 in Calella/Barcelona promises to deliver the same thrills as the next big sporting event.

At INTERKULTUR, we are proud to bring so many talented choirs together in one place. We’ve seen over more than two decades how incredible the experience can be for both the singers and the viewers.

Learn more about SING FOR GOLD