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Reaching Out to Youth

Well, be honest, are you not tired of meeting people who sincerely believe that choirs are only gatherings of retired, grumpy old people? How many times have you heard choirs complaining they have trouble finding younger voices? Of course, we all know that the situation is not so desperate, and that singing is indeed a very contagious disease that can affect even the younger ones. Yet, it takes constant effort to make sure we keep on bringing fresh voices to the singing community. And in case the usual channels and means, like music schools, aren’t sufficiently effective to reach out to younger singers, initiatives are being developed to try and find new ways to convince children and teenagers that singing in a choir can not only be fun, but also rewarding and exciting.

Urban Youth Choir Festival


In Örebro (Sweden)

Länsmusiken and Swicco are joining forces to offer a unique Urban Youth Choir Festival. During the event, young singers are invited to take part in a series of ateliers and concerts to work on the music they listen to, to sing the music they like to share with friends (and last time we checked, Justin Bieber was still getting more “likes” on his Facebook page than Bach, Beethoven and Britten together). Offering high quality workshops and concerts around popular music is a way to open new doors, to gain respect and interest from an audience with a short attention span. This edition will offer workshops around pop and gospel, African dance music and beatboxing! And once they have tasted the joy of singing together, there will be no going back (though they may come to Bach).


Youth Choirs in Movement

With the same aim in mind, choirs from all over Europe will meet with local choirs in Bonn during Youth Choirs in Movement.Most of the singers will be hosted by their German counterparts, for a true European experience. These 900 young singers will thus have a unique opportunity to meet and share a singing and living experience with their European counterparts. But the idea behind this programme is also to invite the body on stage. Through different ateliers, the singers will experience how to deal with this strange instrument, how their body can act, how it can help them find the right voice, the right rhythm and overcome stage fright or vocal limitations. Moving on stage can not only make a show more entertaining for the audience, it also helps develop a different sense of living the music. During these sessions, some will learn to sing in sign language, some will have to act or sing pieces from musicals; all will have “to move it, move it”, as the song goes. And, who knows, maybe the young listeners at their free concerts will also want to get on the bandwagon of choral music.


Are these initiatives sufficient to convince more and more young people to take part in singing activities? Certainly not. But they are building blocks in a long term effort to build bridges between the generations, so that today‘s youth can be tomorrow’s choirs of never tired, happy old people.


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