We are entering the last phase of the project VOICE - Vision on Innovation for Choral Music in Europe", The conference "Reaching Out" in Barcelona, 21 - 23 November 2014 is the last concrete activity and at the same time the starting point of the evaluation and reporting period. It is time to look back at this first major European cooperation project in the field of choral music, supported by the EU Culture Programme. Looking back at the first two and a half years of the project, the partners are proud of what has been achieved, but they also saw new needs and new ideas emerging.
As you will discover during this conference, the VOICE project has helped bring to light a lot of new questions, along its festivals, masterclasses, workshops, scientific studies and conferences, and provided a few precious answers; hence at least partly fulfilling its ambitious subtitle.
These new “visions on innovation” already contributed to reshaping the global strategy of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat, under the title “Benefit from the singing community”. The strategy develops along five main strategic aims:
Strengthen the Network
Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Approach
Invest in Capacity-Building and Training
Each of these aims was already at least partly addressed in the VOICE project, and provided us with a precious toolbox to set up the programme of this conference and look further into the future.
Furthermore, the VOICE project helped us to find out more about who we are ("The Singing Europe"), and which is the potential to which we can reach out. Thanks to Singing Europe, the first ever research programme on the situation of collective singing in Europe (developed in the frame of VOICE), we can now estimate that 4,15% of the European population sings in collective settings (choirs, vocal ensembles, etc.). It's a lot, and actually a lot more than what we presumed.
But it also means that more than 95% of the population are not singing together. Reaching out to these 95% is a wonderful challenge for us all to address, a challenge that we cannot refuse to take.
This challenge was one of the reasons a new project idea evolved during the VOICE project. Realizing that despite the huge variety and diversity of collective singing in Europe there is still room for improvement, the European Choral Association - Europa Cantat and partners decided to plan and develop the project "Choral Upgrade in Europe - Taking Collective Singing to a new level". An application for funding under the EU Creative Europe programme was submitted in October 2014, and the answer can be expected for March 2015. The project aims at "upgrading" different aspects of choral music, reaching out to new audiences, suggesting new training models and sharing the benefits of singing based on an inclusion strategy and the collection of research.
Through the conference “reaching out”, and through the articles you will read on the following pages, we wish to share a few methods, experiences and tools to make the choral world go out of its usual boundaries to get in touch with its future. To do so, we have to embrace change as a positive factor, and thus welcome innovation. But of course, innovation is not a value in itself, it is worth promoting when it helps reaching a higher goal. And we truly believe spreading collective singing is a goal worth fighting for.
Click HERE to download the brochure of the conference in pdf version (7Mo)
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