The Eurovision Family has once again expanded! We welcome another Eurovision baby into the world, namely the Eurovision Choir of the Year competition. The first contest will be staged in Riga, Latvia tonight!
Nine countries will be taking part tonight. We’ll get to those nine later, but first we need to ask ourselves what the format actually will be like tonight, because that’s something to look out for.
Do whatever you like… in six minutes
Each of the nine participating choirs get six minute to show Europe what they’ve got. Some choirs choose to spend their six minutes on one piece of choral music, others decided to go with two or even three pieces of music.
The rules also state that each piece of music needs to have regional or national influences. That doesn’t necessarily mean they all need to sing in their own language, but there must be influences. How that will work out, we’ll have to see tonight.
Return of the conductor
You know how people long for the conductors to make a return to the Eurovision Song Contest? Well, tonight we’ll get back to seeing conductors in a Eurovision singing competition.
Sadly, there will be no familiar Eurovision names making a return on the conductors’ stand. There will be a familiar Eurovision name when Belgium enters the stage, though…
No douze points or televoting will be taking place tonight. Three people will be deciding tonight’s winner of Eurovision’s first ever Choir of the Year competition. The jury will be made up of three people.
Mezzosoprano Elīna Garanča is from tonight’s host country Latvia. She’s a multi award winning opera singer. Joining her is British composer John Rutter, who specialises in choral music. The final jury member is Swiss conductor Nicolas Fink. Together, they will pick the winner of the 2017 Eurovision Choir of the Year.
The competing countries
Nine countries will compete in tonight’s competition. Familiar faces from the Eurovision Song Contest, but instead of the United Kingdom, it’ll just be Wales competing tonight. We’ll take a short look at all participants below in tonight’s running order.
Estonia: ETV Tütarlastekoor
Estonia’s ETV will be sending their own girls’ choir to Riga tonight. All singers are aged between 15 and 25 years old and there are thirty of them in total. The choir has performed all over Europe. In tonight’s competition, they’ll perform Absolute Tormis. The composition is an original piece of choral music, composed by the recently deceased Estonian composer Veljo Tormis.
Denmark: Academic Choir of Aarhus
Denmark has also chosen a young choir to represent them. The Academic Choir of Aarhus is made up of students of the Aarhus University or the Aarhus Royal Academy of Music. Their music is usually acapella. They’ll perform two songs tonight: Wilhelm Stenhammar’s I Seraillets Have and Per Nørgård’s Wiigen-Lied.
Belgium: Les Pastoureaux
The Belgians have chosen to mix the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and Eurovision Choir of the Year. Their act is Les Pastoureaux, a boys’ choir made up of boys ranging from 7 to 14 years of age. They will be joined on stage by Nicolas Dorian, who represented Belgium in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest with Witloof Bay. Their songs tonight will be Dans La Troupe by Raphaël Passaquet and Ensemble.
Germany: Jazzchor Freiburg
What’s in a name? The Germans have decided to send Jazzchor Freiburg to Riga. They sure have some competition experience, such as the Choir Olympiad in South Korea in 2002. Entertainment is an important part of their mission and it has been in their 27 years of existence. They’ll perform African Call and Pallettes tonight. African Call was released as a single by the group five years ago.
Slovenia: Carmen Manet
Slovenia is going for the ladies. Their act Carmen Manet is an all-female choir. The chamber choir is made up of members of the Gimnazija Kranj Girls Choir, from both present and past generations. The choir will perform three songs in their six minutes: Ta Na Solbici, Adrca and Aj, Zelena Je Vsa Gora.
Hungary: Béla Bartók Male Choir
When Slovenia goes for females only, their Hungarian neighbours take the opposite route. Hungary are sending the Béla Bartók Male Choir to the Eurovision Choir of the Year. The choir has existed for more than seventy years and has won over forty prizes in their existence. They’ll be performing Karádi Nóták by Zoltán Kodály tonight.
Wales: Côr Merched Sir Gâr
Wales are following Slovenia’s example: An all female choir for Riga. But they’re also following Belgium’s example… all children. The Côr Merched Sir Gâr is made up of secondary school girls from Carmarthenshire. It’ll be the first time Wales will be participating individually in a Eurovision competition. The choir has chosen three songs for tonight: O, Mountain, O, Traditional Welsh Lullaby and Wade in the Water.
Austria: Hard-Chor Linz
No, we’re not getting a hardcore effort in a choir competition. The hardcore part of the name is the singers’ desire to adapt to any style or any musical era they could possibly sing. That is why they’ll show a very diverse palet of flavours tonight. They’ll go with the classic Ave Maria, but follow that up with the traditional Austrian folk song I Tua Wos I Wü and Rah.
Host country Latvia will send Spīgo to the competition. Jelgava’s 4th secondary school has made a selection of their finest singers and have been doing so since 1977. The girls will be performing Grezna Saule Debesīs and Es čigāna meita biju tonight.
Watch it live!
The contest can be watched live here on YouTube. Alternatively, you can watch the contest live on various broadcasters in Europe:
- Belgium: La Trois
- Denmark: DR K
- Estonia: ETV 2
- Hungary: M5
- Latvia: LTV 1
- Slovenia: RTV1
- Wales: S4C
The Eurovision Choir of the Year competition will start at 20:00 CET, so make sure to tune in!