This year, the biggest singing event in the world is coming to Flanders. Starting on 30 October, more than 300 choirs from all corners of the world will take part in the 11th edition of the World Choir Games in Belgium.
Every two years since 2000, INTERKULTUR has organized the so-called ‘Olympic Games for choirs’. Antwerp and Ghent in Flanders are jointly hosting the 11th edition.
The Games include competitions, gala concerts and workshops in and around the two host cities. Given the current pandemic, not all choirs can physically attend, and so INTERKULTUR has developed a digital platform to give choirs the opportunity to contribute to the atmosphere of the World Choir Games from their home countries.
For the first time, the World Choir Games will be a hybrid event. Sophie Detremmerie, COO of the World Choir Games 2021 Flanders, said, ‘We are proud to present our innovative digital platform, ‘The Virtual Village’. The concept offers the choirs, who in the current context cannot travel to Flanders, the chance to compete in the Virtual Games. But also the visitors will be able to enjoy the unique atmosphere of this event via the daily live streams in the digital Music Hall at home.’
By analogy with the Olympic flame, the World Choir Games has a Choral Flame, which was re-lit on 15 September before starting a five-week relay trip to numerous Flemish cities.
According to INTERKULTUR, ‘The Choral Flame (Koorvlam) is a symbol of the warmth that singing together spreads in society.
‘The effect of the flame reaches further. Special efforts were made to involve disadvantaged groups in the Studio Koorvlam event. For example, a caravan travels through Flanders stopping at people with dementia, with physical disabilities, people in poverty and at an interfaith singing group.’
Flanders has more than 1,000 choirs and 35,000 singers with 1 in 3 Flemings directly or indirectly involved in an amateur arts organization such as a choir.
Flemish Minister-President and Minister of Culture, Jan Jambon, said, ‘Flanders has a rich tradition in the field of vocal culture. We are therefore very proud to be able to organize the World Choir Games this year. The Games allow the many participating Flemish choirs to meet their international colleagues in a creative and inspiring way.’
Tickets for the competitions, workshops, ceremonies and Celebration Concerts are available through the World Choir Games website.
The Virtual Village is accessible free of charge at www.virtualvillage.be.