A great distinction, for the first time for Greece, was given to the European Choir of the Athens School of Music at the Choir Olympiad in Flanders, Belgium, which took place from October 30 to November 2, 2021.
The Choir competed in the “Children’s Choirs” category of the “11th World Choir Games 2021” Choir Olympiad, where it won the Gold Medal, performing Dimitris Minakakis, Michael Mc Glynn, Ola Gjeilo and Bardos Lajos. In the Olympics, in a total of 14 categories of the competition, about 400 choirs from all over the world participated.
The impressive thing is that this is not a school competition. Professional choirs participate there and the Music School of Athens is the first school selected internationally to participate.
Apart from the significant distinction of the students, it is noteworthy that the success came under very difficult conditions due to the pandemic and while the children did most of their problems online one by one due to the restrictive measures. The “golden” choir is attended by 34 children aged 15 to 17 years.
In fact, as the professor and the conductor of the choir, Nikolaos Prigas, explains to APE-MPE, the competition due to the pandemic was postponed twice, creating frustration and upset among the members of the choir. During the approximately two years between qualifying and the competition, there were children who could not withstand the pressure, so the choir did not have to be rebuilt from scratch, as many children left.
“All the preparation took place in eight months and during the pandemic. At first it was done online but there was also a pivotal point when we managed to get permission from the Civil Protection, a special permit for the preparation of the Olympic Games that was given to the athletes for the Tokyo Olympics and we took advantage of that, as well as the fact that we have a amphitheater of 350 square meters and taking all the measures and dividing the choir in two we did our rehearsals. “But the children with very bad psychology, frustration, confinement, all this had brought the children to their knees,” says Mr. Prigas.
The conquest of the Gold Medal reflects the course of the Choir of the Music School since its founding in 2016, the year of operation of the School. In 2019 the Choir participated in the 3rd International Interkultur Choir Competition of Kalamata, where it won the 1st place, a ranking that secured the qualification to the international choir competition – Choir Olympiad. This was the first time that a school choir of our country qualified for the final of the Choir Olympiad.
It is worth noting that there was a second Greek participation, of eight graduates from the Music School of Kalamata, named Vocal Ensemble Maria Kalas, who under the guidance of Mr. Pringas, managed to win a significant distinction by winning the silver medal in their category .
“It is very important that two choirs in different categories, one in the category of children’s choirs and another category of the Vocal Ensemble, ie in a small vocal ensemble that is the most difficult of the competition, and coming from two different music schools in Greece. the competition “, Mr. Prigas emphasizes and notes that after this great success all schools must raise the bar.
“After that we have to raise both our aspirations and our encounters with children and children with music, all of which have to go up many levels of that. It creates new responsibilities for all of us and for the children and for the teachers. It is an example for all colleagues in all music schools to unite and in fact at a very fast pace. That is, now that it is a recent success and has upset the student community of music schools “, concludes the conductor of the choir.