Marlik Choir, Iran © Jonas Persson

How it feels to represent your country in the World Choir Games

Three special choirs about the feeling of taking part

World Choir Games 2021

Representing your country at the World Choir Games as the largest international choir competition in the world is a huge honor for many choirs and many of them take on all challenges and difficulties to make this dream come true.

Marlik Choir is the only non-European choir participating

Of course, for some choirs it is easier to achieve this goal than for others. And thus, there are even groups that only find out that they are allowed to leave for the Games on very short term. This is what happened to Marlik Choir from Iran this year: The process of getting visa was not easy at all and therefore the choir learned only two days before departure that they will be able and allowed to come to Flanders for the World Choir Games – at a time when the event was already in full swing in Belgium – and that they will be non-European choir competing in the event live on site.

“It was very difficult and an awful process to make us coming here. But we were able to go through it all together, and this gave our performance a real powerful and positive energy today,” explained choir conductor Keivan Habibzadeh to us after their competition performance in category “Folklore with accompaniment” in the Elizabeth Hall in Antwerp. And, he continued, it wouldn’t matter what happened in the future, and if the choir will be ranked first place or the place in the end: “We’re already winners in our hearts, because we managed to be here and that’s an incredible feeling”.

Marlik Choir is from Gilan province of Iran and for them it’s also important to showcase their home and its traditions in the world. Thus, they perform their songs in the beautiful Gilaki language to help preserve and celebrate it. Their passion and kind-hearted appearance became perceptible in every minute of performance, as you can see here:

Siparantum Choir represents Kosovo at the World Choir Games for the first time

Another choir which is currently in Flanders participating live in the World Choir Games is “Siparantum Choir” from Kosovo. This special group has already gained international recognition by joining and winning at international choir competitions. But nevertheless, it’s their first time at the World Choir Games and it’s also the first time that a choir is representing Kosovo in the event’s 20 years history.

Conductor Memli Kelmendi, who is also a member of the World Choir Council, told us that a participation in the World Choir Games is still something special, even if you have already on other international choir events: “We are all highly motivated to participate here. You will only see the happiest faces on each one of us, because this is the largest international choir competition in the world, and we couldn’t wait to be here representing our country, finally.”

Big emotions and great memories to come back home

And in the end, when everything works out and the sought-after World Choir Games experience has finally happened, the special feelings and pure emotions that the different singers experience here are taken back home, no matter where they come from. An experience summed up here in words by the Bulgarian singer Malomir Ingilizov and the Vocal Ensemble “Fortissimo”, who emailed us directly after his return from the World Choir Games 2021: 

"The competition has been a dream-come-true for our choir! We couldn’t be prouder!
It was a lifetime achievement and experience none of us would ever forget."

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