World Choir Games 2024 Opening Ceremony © Pieter du Plessis

World Choir Games 2024 Opens with a Spectacular Ceremony

250 choirs and groups from 42 countries and regions are meeting in Aotearoa New Zealand these days.

World Choir Games 2024

The 13th World Choir Games have officially commenced with an awe-inspiring Opening Ceremony at Spark Arena in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland on July 10, 2024. Known as the “Olympics of Choral Music” and presented by New Zealand Choral Federation, New Zealand Major Events, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, and INTERKULTUR, this grand event is welcoming 250 choirs and groups from around the globe until July 20.

At the beginning of the official ceremony, the Māori tribe Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei welcomed the international participants of the World Choir Games with a traditional ceremony in the national language Te Reo Māori. This was followed by the traditional Opening Ceremony of the World Choir Games with the entry of the flags of all participating nations and the hoisting of the national flag of New Zealand and the flag of the World Choir Games.

In her Opening Speech, the Minister for Economic Development, Hon Melissa Lee emphasized the high significance of the World Choir Games for New Zealand: “The World Choir Games firmly establish New Zealand’s reputation as a Singing Nation and showcase Auckland as an exciting, culturally vibrant and welcoming city to hold a global choir festival. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase to the world the choirs of the Pacific, and celebrate Māori, Pacific and Kiwi culture.”

INTERKULTUR President Günter Titsch reminded the audience in his speech about the strong power of collective singing: “Music connects people and nations! We aim to use choral music to unite people across borders, fostering understanding and setting an example for global leaders. Above all, we sing for peace. Today, more than ever, we must promote solidarity across borders. Auckland's rich cultural diversity makes it the perfect place for this celebration of unity."

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson is putting the spotlight on the huge amount of choral singing this event is bringing to the city: “In Auckland, we strongly believe in the transformative power of the arts. Choral music plays a vital role in our community. It nurtures our young people (and our young at heart), providing them with opportunities to develop their skills, build confidence, and discover the joy of making music together.”

After the official opening of the World Choir Games by Günter Titsch, the host country New Zealand introduced itself to its international guests: In a spectacular show, including performances by the well-known singer Ria Hall, the Māori Haka dance group Hawaiki TŪ, the Freshmans Dance Crew and the Auckland Gospel Choir, among others, the international guests were given a first insight into the diverse culture of the country, especially that of the Māori and the Pacific region.

Around 11,000 participants are joining the World Choir Games 2024 to sing and celebrate together and to learn from each other. From July 10-20, these singers from over 40 countries will sing in two different levels of competition featuring 28 different categories each, joyful ceremonies, stunning Celebration Concerts, workshops, and Friendship Concerts across Auckland.

Further, the World Choir Council will also meet again in Auckland for its regular General Conference and discuss current developments in the world of international choral music.

In addition to various competitions and festival activities, especially the Celebration Concerts celebrate diverse themes and cultures during the event. These include "Pacific Spirit," "Matariki" (celebrating the Māori New Year), and two "The Night of the Dragon" concerts in honor of the Year of the Dragon in Asia. The latter concerts have been organized during the World Choir Games as part of the "World Choir Events in the Belt and Road - 'World of Voices'" series, which celebrates the participation of 97 choirs from China at this year’s World Choir Games.

A total of around 550 activities are planned for the participants during the coming festival days. This makes the 13th World Choir Games the largest international music event that New Zealand has ever hosted.

Opening Show World Choir Games 2024 © Jonas Persson