Singers from Thailand

Development of a choral music scene in Thailand

The duties and tasks of the Thailand Choral Association

Lanna Int. Choir Competition

Thailand belongs to the most beautiful countries on earth. Every year thousands of tourists come to discover the breathtaking landscape and to get to know the unique culture. On the occasion of the 1st Lanna International Choir Competition, which is going to be held from October 19-23, 2016 in Chiang Mai and which will unite international singers in the land of smiles, INTERKULTUR wants to take a closer look at the choral scene in the festival's host country Thailand.

Dr. Kittiporn Tantrarungroj from Thailand, one of the artistic directors of the festival and vice president of Thailand Choral Association, described that in Thailand the choral scene is not strongly represented because choral singing doesn't belong to the country's traditions.

Choral singing emerged in Thailand 300 years ago. A view back to the history of the country shows, that the trading and the diplomatic relations with European and American countries opened the doors for other cultures. In this time these diplomats came to Siam (former name of Thailand) and they agreed with the kings of the country the establishment of schools and churches with Christian backgrounds. Parallel to the building of new institutions the tradition of joint singing emerged. Since then choirs can only be found in churches where foreign missionaries are represented. In contrast to that choral singing is not being exercised at Thai schools because 90 % of the residents are Buddhists.

"To sing in a choir slowly became more and more popular maybe 20 years ago. Unfortunately the most people still don't understand what it means to sing in a choir and how much pleasure is gives," explains Dr. Kittiporn Tantrarungroj. "The choral singing starts penetrate into school, but poorly.  But the majority of the Thai schools still do not have choirs until today or don’t have the interest in having a choir. In fact many schools appoint teachers, which are working as leader of school bands, for conducting a choir. But that doesn’t work, we know that. The songs which they are singing are mostly less successful arrangements of Thai music."

The duty and the big task of the Thailand Choral Association is to create a choral scene in Thailand by promoting the choirs and by helping the schools to build up some more school choirs. "We teach the choirs to sing a range of choral standard pieces, step by step. And on the occasion of the '1st Lanna International Choir Competition' we will prepare the already existing choirs, so that they are able to perform their own competition repertoire."

The INTERKULTUR event in Chiang Mai will be a big challenge for some choirs from Thailand. But we are convinced that they will meet this challenge with good results.

More information about the 1st Lanna International Choir Competition can be found on the official event website or on Facebook.

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