Dainų diena 2018
Apie Šiaurės ir Baltijos šalių chorų šventę 2002 (anglų kalba)

NORDIC - BALTIC CHOIR FESTIVALS

ARE A JOYFUL HURDLE - MARATHONOn IV Nordic - Baltic Choir Festival to be held in Klaipeda, on June 27 - July 2, 2002Introduction: That Already Belongs to History
The idea of the international project “Nordic - Baltic Choir Festivals” was born to and put into practice by Imants Kokars (Latvia) and Olav Storgard (Sweden).

I Nordic -  Baltic Choir Festival took place in Riga on July 12 - 16, 1995. 7 000 mixed choir singers from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Estonia took part in it. Latvian and Lithuanian representation was the most numerous (2 000 and 1 000 singers respectively).

II Festival took place in Visby, Gotland Island (Sweden), on June 25 - 29, 1997, with the participation of 2 500 choir singers.

III Festival took place in Skien, Norway, on June 27 - July 2, 2000, with the participation of over

3 000 choir singers.
IV Festival will be held in Lithuania: on June 27 - July 2, 2002,  it will take place in Klaipeda, and on July 4 - 7, the participants of the Festival will take part in the World Lithuanian Song festival in Vilnius.

Part I - why in Klaipeda?

The preparation for the IV Nordic - Baltic festival started even before the Norwegian Festival came to an end. In 2002, the city of Klaipeda will celebrate its 750th anniversary. But that is only one of many reasons why the international project should be implemented in Klaipeda. Eugenijus Gentvilas, Mayor of the City and Chair of the Organising Committee of the Festival supported the idea. Other reasons are presented by Nijole Laužikiene,  Head of the Culture Department of the Klaipeda Municipality:

We are happy to be able to organise the Festival just because, to start with, the traditions of choral movement have always been very strong in the region of Klaipeda. In 1926, over 20 choirs were functioning in the region of Klaipeda, and in 1927, the first Klaipeda Song Festival, with over 600 singers and over 100 orchestra players, was held. After it, a powerful movement of choirs started that embraced all the towns and settlements of the region, all the strata of the society … and which survived till the present day.

Klaipeda is the only port in Lithuania. It is nice to visit and to stay in, that’s why it is frequented by people from all over the world - and we are known as a hospitable, free and democratic city which gladly hosts festivals and other events. There’s also another reason why we are willing to host the Festival. For 40 years now, we’ve been celebrating the Sea Festival that completely changes the daily routine of the city: for three days and nights various merry events take place, and the Castle Jazz Festival  is getting more and more support and audience… In my opinion, such events form an attractive image of our city and present a good chance to introduce our visitors to our city, our culture and traditions.

And finally, the festival is an excellent possibility for people of different nations and with different cultural traditions to meet and mix. In my opinion, human contacts even at present, in the world of fast developing technology, stay as one of the most precious values. I am convinced Klaipeda is the most suitable place for the purpose, and the organisers of the Festival will do all they can so that its participants would leave the city with the best impressions.

Of course, lots of effort and enthusiasm, as well as the support from the Municipality of Klaipeda, the Ministry of Culture and other institutions will be required , so that after the last chords of the last Festival concert a promise to continue the tradition would sound from the podium, and there would be even more of those willing to take part in V Choir Festival in Finland.

Part II - new colours of the festival

In the autumn of 2000, a conference of the co-ordinating group of the Nordic - Baltic festival took place. Kare Hanken (Norway), Lars Nilsson and Olav Storgard (Sweden), Ulrik Hedegaard (Denmark), Reijo Kekkonen (Finland), Kaie Taner (Estonia), Imants Kokars and Aira Berzinia (Latvia), Aurelija Andrejauskaite (Lithuania) together with the future hosts of the Festival in Klaipeda discussed the issues of the preparation for the Festival in 2002 and analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the previous festivals. The group worked in a constructive and intensive way, therefore the landmarks of the IV Nordic - Baltic Choir Festival are already easy to see. Alfonsas Vildžiūnas, Artistic Director of the Festival, offers his comments on them: 
A nice tradition of collaboration of the choirs from the Nordic and Baltic countries continues in Klaipeda. Each of the previous festivals brought in their specific colours; in the same way, Klaipeda will preserve the established elements of the Festival and will also introduce some novelties.
Our main purpose is close co-operation of the choirs of our countries. In our programme, much attention will be given to joint concerts in the halls and squares of Klaipeda. Free programmes of each choir, jointly performed compositions, participation of the audience, beer prizes, etc., will create the possibility for informal mixing of choir singers. We shall also encourage the choirs of Klaipeda to establish direct contacts with guest choirs. Evening concerts in Theatre Square, with the participation of invited vocal jazz groups from all the countries, will undoubtedly contribute to the association of the choirs.
Next to traditional seminars, we shall also hold workshops in which the participants of the Festival will be able to get directly acquainted with the choral culture of other countries. Leaders of representative choirs and jazz groups will be invited to lead the workshops.
To make our final concert cheerful and in high spirits, we advise each country to include into the repertoire one lively song with accompaniment.
Competitions of choirs and compositions will be held. The winning work of the composition competition will be performed in the final concert.
And the most important guarantee of the coming Festival will be you and your songs.
We are looking forward to seeing you in Klaipeda.

Part III: Festival days like a joyful marathon

The greatest desire of the organisers of the festivals is to meet the needs and expectations of all the participants: of leaders - professional musicians, of amateur singers, of the motley audience. The range of expectations is so wide, and the days are few. Tradition is work. That’s why it is worthwhile to try and to pick our brains, to solve never ending problems and get over all hindrances.
We are happy to present you the calendar of the IV Nordic - Baltic Choir Festival: 
June 27 Opening of the Festival, Choir Competition
For the opening ceremony, the musicians, dancers and singers of Klaipeda will present a concert - surprise. In the evening, the countries will introduce themselves in the choir competition - marathon. The first event of this type that took place in Norway was not very attractive. After having decided to hold the competition once again, we’d like to invite at least two choirs from each country to participate in the competition. The rules are simple - a 15-minute- programme with one compulsory composition, and there will be enough prizes for all.

June 28 - 29
Concerts, seminars, workshops

The languages of the Festival will be English and music. The participants of the festival will be expected to deal with one another with the help of songs, without the hindrance of the language barrier. We plan to hold choir concerts where everybody could join in. In the evening, we’ll listen to jazz in Theatre Square (vocal jazz groups are expected from all countries), sing, dance and drink beer of the Klaipeda Švyturys brewery.
We think the participants of the Festival will be interested in workshops led by the leaders of the representative choirs and jazz groups. This will be an excellent possibility to get acquainted with the choral culture of other countries.
June 30
Choir Competition , Final concert

The countries will introduce themselves in the choir competition - marathon. The first event of this type that took place in Norway was not very attractive. After having decided to hold the competition once again, we’d like to invite at least two choirs from each country to participate in the competition. The rules are simple - a 15-minute- programme with one compulsory composition, and there will be enough prizes for all.
We shall preserve the established tradition: the programme of the final concert will include two songs of each country. One of them will be a traditional song, and another will be of a lively character and performed with accompaniment. During the final concert, the winner of the composition competition will be performed. It will be selected in the 2nd round of the competition. Only one composition from each country will participate in the 2nd round, as the 1st round will be organized in each participant country of the Festival.

July 1
Regional Day
The Lithuanian choirs - participants of the previous Nordic - Baltic Festivals in Riga (1995), Visby (1997) and Skien (2000) will be actual hosts of the Regional Day. Many other Lithuanian choirs wish to make friends with guest choirs: they are looking forward to meeting you and planning joint concerts, excursions and suppers.

July 2
Departure day for the choirs that will have decided to have just a short visit in Lithuania.  
Come and join us: let’s sing together, enjoy Lithuanian songs and believe that in 2024 we’ll be celebrating a really special jubilee - the 100th anniversary of Song Festivals.
In 2002, everybody is welcome to Klaipeda to the IV Nordic - Baltic Choir Festival!

Aurelija ANDREJAUSKAITE
Head of the Music Sector of the Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre Member of the co-ordinating group of Nordic and Baltic untries