The pandemic has no power over choral singing
World Choir Council

The pandemic has no power over choral singing

Exchange of the World Choir Council on the current situation in the choral nations

A summary by Professor Alexander Soloviev, official representative of Russia in the INTERKULTUR World Choir Council, (published in http://muzlifemagazine.ru/khorovoe-penie-nepodvlastno-pandemii/  on July 15, 2020)

For more than 20 years, the choral paths have brought us together again and again at the World Choir Games, the largest choral event, which are held every two years in different places around the world and attract both choral experts and choirs from more than 100 nations of the world.

The World Choir Games 2020 were planned to be held in Flanders (Belgium), but had to be postponed to next year due to the pandemic.  Nevertheless, the traditional meeting of the members of the World Choir Council, the international advisory board of INTERKULTUR in artistic matters, was made possible virtually in ZOOM format, and renowned choral experts and choir conductors took part.

The President of INTERKULTUR, Günter Titsch (Germany), remarked: "The meeting of the 70 members of the World Choir Council, especially on these days which are difficult for all of us, is a very good opportunity to show our solidarity with and the unity of the worldwide choir family, which gives us a confident feeling for the future! Our first virtual meeting provides us with new impetus, which we will need for further discussions and consultations in order to master the current challenges and developments in the field of choral singing.“

The artistic director Johan Rooze (Netherlands/ Korea) gave a presentation which summarized practical advice on the topic " Survival of choirs in the digital world". During the pandemic, these and other digital tools became a popular way for overcoming creative isolation, which also affected the rehearsal process. Practice taught us that today it is only an opportunity to maintain social contacts, because it was practically impossible to sing and make music with the whole choir at the same time - the technical possibilities of the internet and software do not allow for synchronized singing and direct interaction. Concern was expressed from remote areas about the poor quality of music content, which has a negative impact on the education of young people's musical taste.

At the same time, a number of positive aspects of digital interaction within choirs have been identified: the possibility to focus on individual work with the singers as part of the rehearsal process; the possibility to draw additional attention to the presentation of archived material; overcoming the breakdown of creative contacts and, as an example, the creation of international projects, especially virtual choirs. The demand for online music lessons increases if a musician can find a curriculum that meets his or her needs.

Social integration is very important in today's world. Music has always had a healing effect, so it is very important to help people in a rehabilitation process by involving them in the rehearsal and concert process. Interkultur is actively involved in this issue and organises many projects that help people with physical disabilities to integrate into social life.

Here are the impressions of Mrs. Inessa Bodyako, director of the Association of Choral Conductors in Belarus, after her discussions with colleagues: "The first thing I experienced when looking at the screen was the feeling of belonging to people who are not indifferent to everything, to those who are familiar with the music and social activities of their countries and the whole world, to those who are open, energetic and friendly, to those who appreciate the present and think about the future in our choral work. In recent years the Belarussian Academy of Music has paid great attention to the work of our students with children's choirs for visually impaired people. We support them in their desire to create new opportunities for the emotional development of such children and develop educational and methodological recommendations."

At the meeting the XII. World Choir Games in the Republic of Korea were announced, to which the splendid choir festival will return after 20 years, this time to the city of Gangneung. Korea is known for its performing choral arts, which are popular with the people of the peninsula and are strongly supported by the state. Gangneung city is located in the Gangwon region, which has a long history of hosting major international events: in 2018, it became the venue of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which went down in history as the "World Games" thanks to the joint appearance of North and South Korean athletes.

Zemfira Poloz (Canada) stressed that "it was a very productive time to share experiences in such difficult times. New creative ideas will continue to accompany us in the future. I would like to point out the excellent research on the implementation of virtual projects - the advantages and disadvantages of working with digital platforms. I was very happy to see old friends and colleagues from all over the world. Gulmira Kuttybadamova from Kazakhstan also expressed herself accordingly: "An important task of the Council is to unite the efforts of the national choral associations in order to achieve common goals for the further development of professional and amateur choral art.“

One of the central slogans of Interculture - "Singing Together Brings Nations Together" - has once again proven its vibrancy, despite the global threat of the pandemic.

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