Official press conference for Eurovision Choir takes place in Riga

Rehearsals for Eurovision Choir of the Year are underway in Riga and today saw the official press conference take place. Eva Johansone, who will co-host the show on Saturday was the moderator and introduced the panel:

  • Eric Whitacre – Co-host of Eurovision Choir of the Year
  • Elīna Garanča – Jury member of Eurovision Choir of the Year
  • Jon Ola Sand – EBU Head of Live Events
  • Günter Titsch – President of Interkultur
  • Ieva Rozentāle – Executive Producer of Eurovision Choir of the Year
  • Diāna Čivle – Project Manager Riga City Council

The jigsaw comes together

Eva Johansone opened the press conference by explaining the significance of choral singing for Latvia and the importance of hosting the very first Eurovision Choir of the Year competition in the country. The show was inspired by both the Eurovision Song Contest and the World Choir Games and brings together the most popular song contest in Europe with the largest international choir competition in the world.

Latvia: The mythical land of song

Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre will co-host Eurovision Choir of the Year alongside Eva. “It is my first time in Latvia and it is one of the reasons I agreed to host the show. To me, Latvia is a mythical land of song. I couldn’t wait to get here,” he said.

Jon Ola Sand, the EBU’s Head of Live Events explained that the format of Eurovision Choir of the Year is a new addition to the Eurovision Family of Events. “It is great to be here in Riga, there is a great atmosphere in this city. Riga is the world capital of choirs.”

Feeling the message

Elīna Garanča, an award-winning Latvian mezzo-soprano, will be one of three members of the professional jury on Saturday night. “I will have an analytical approach when it comes to judging, I will not only be looking at the technical performances but also how the choirs convey the message of their songs,” she said.

Elīna explained the importance of both singing and music in bringing people together. “In these troubled times people are longing for emotional communication,” she added.

Riga is ready

Günter Titsch, President of Interkultur, explained how the idea for the show came about. When asked why Riga was chosen he said that it was the logical choice after the city successfully hosted the World Choir Games in 2014. Günter highlighted the importance of Eurovision Choir of the Year in bringing people together. “What we see with events like this is that countries come together, sometimes they are even enemies, but they join together through music,” he said.

Both Ieva Rozentāle and Diāna Čivle explained that it was an honour to host the very first Eurovision Choir of the Year competition in Riga. Ieva explained that the international co-production will enrich the expertise at Latvian Television but also other public broadcasters. Ieva also added that Serbia and Albania have also joined the list of broadcasters meaning the Eurovision Choir of the Year will be watched by an even larger audience.

Diāna Čivle explained the history of Latvian choral singing and the importance of the tradition when Latvia regained independence in 1991. “We are a country that sings. We are proud and happy that this event was born right here in Riga,” she added.


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