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Minutes of the conference

A team of live reporter took on the difficult taks to take notes during the different sessions of the conference, with the help of participants, using an online collaborative note taking system.

You will find their notes below, as well as links to the presentation files when available.

The are not official minutes of the conference, only notes taken on the spot, but they can provide a good insight on the richness of the sessions.


We will soon provide the presentations used by the speakers and moderators.


The reporting team was:

  • Cathy Al-Ghabra
  • Jesse Boere
  • Flannery Ryan
  • Emanuela Farago
  • Burak Onur Erdem

Big thanks to them!

Get the facts First results of the VOICE project


During this first hour, you will have  an overview of the activities and results of the VOICE project, with a  specific focus on “Singing and Music Education”, a presentation of first  results from Singing Europe and a sneak preview of our next project  “Choral Upgrade in Europe”.
Réka explains her involvement in VOICE from the very beginning. Gave here a lot of opportunities and to learn how to deal with this kind of projects.
Côme on stage - explains that in the VOICE conference there will be live reporting by the Youth Committee of the ECA-EC.
Côme explains briefly what the VOICE project is and what its aims are.
80% of the VOICE budget has gone to activities.
"VOICE helps building choral careers of tomorrows VCPs (Very Choral Persons)"
Côme invites VOICE partners to join him on stage. 
Marko from FENIARCO explains that 42 countries from 4 continents has participated in the EUROPA CANTAT FESTIVAL in Torino. Also mentions commissions for composers, open singing in the main square, beatboxing, and many other innovative tools in the festival.
Jean-Claude talks about the importance of VOICE in involving their event in Europe more intensely, supporting the international communication. VOICE has created a perspective of networking and developing.
Philippe talks about EuroChoir in the framework of VOICE and about EuroChoir in general. It was a little bit of a struggle to select the right singers from the applications (for the first time more applications than places).
Hans Helsen talks about the Singing Sofa in Belgium. The project analyses the development of children while being a member in a choir (????). 
Koenraad de Meulder from Koor&Stem talks about how singing can belong to everyone. "Not everyone has access to singing." Cultural background/no music education (edit this). Every person should have access to singing. 
Organized was the International Symposium on Singing in Music Education & A Voice for vocal training (Budapest, Hungary).
April 2014
150 participants
Another project is one on vocal training. The main question was how can the choral world inspire more schools in Europe to become 'singing schools'. Among the aims there is networking between schools and choirs.
A survey has been started with 2.500 participants on music education.
130 acitivites were recognized
30 best practices have been identified and shared
With the inspiration guide ?
Ready end of february
- Songbook
- Inspiration guide Singing Belongs to Everyone
- Webbsite Singing belongs to Everyone
A look to the future: The workgroup 'music education' has been started last year. Also the Inspiration Guide will aim to give initiatives to singers, choirs, organizations. Cooperation with the Singing Cities is an opportunity. New activities will probably follow in ECA on music education area.
Thank you, Koenraad.
Links and document can be found in the VOICE Project website: http://thevoiceproject.eu
Côme : How many choral singers are there in Europe?
20 million continental europe
now: 34
Roman Bartel on SingingEurope.org
- What data is available? Finding the existing data through statistics.
- Online survey (4000 usable answers)
A public report will be published in mid 2015. There will also be open data sets for everybody.
The existing data was from EUROBAROMETER: 'Have you sung in the last 12 months?' The answer was 11% of the EU population, but there was no questions about collective singing and the data does not seem to be accurate because of the ambiguity of the question.
The estimation about collective singers is now the 4.15% of the population. 21 million people from EU states and 34,5 million from Continental Europe.
Survey was translated into 23 languages and it has been running for 15 months.
Answers from 4152 ensembles representing 150,000 singers. Average size of ensemble is 36 members.
Slovenia wins the award for most answered surveys! Johoo!
What comes next?
- Find national statistics that are missing
- Order national surveys (the cost is 500-1500 Euros depending on the country)
- Use the report and data for advocacy work
(Info about Choral Upgrade in Europe)

Session 02 : Musical session | Open Singing as tool for audience development

Let's make the audience sing along! Techniques and repertoire presented by Michael Gohl

Moderator: Jan Schumacher
Live reporting: Cathy Al-Ghabra plus participants

Welcome to Open Singing as a tool for audience development!

Please make sure you can see the following pieces of music:

Introduction by Jan Schumacher from ECAEC board

Welcome to Michael Gohl the 'pope' of open singing. We are talking about open singing as a tool for audience development. those of you who came to Europa Cantat in Torino 2012 saw the impact of open singing, bringing the whole city together to sing, even when they were not all aware that we had a festival in the city.
Michael Gohl
Open Singing is successful due to charisma. 90% sweat and 10% work.
For example everyone tries to play the piano, it is tough but you can become good with practise.
'Reaching out' we want to bring more people in to our family. We want to be like the Messiah and touch them, but now we want to look deeper.
Try these four different introductions as I walk in to the room..... See which is more appealing as an audience:
Starts again: it is a lecture (role play)
1. Lecture like start: welcome to my lecture I am michael gohl
2. Hello and welcome, It is important that you listen now carefully
3. Starts by singing straight away: loo loo loo loo
4. Walks in clicking and sings a 'hello' song with accompaniment and actions
Ask yourself - how was your body reacting? how are your emotions?
1. Was like a script
2.  Was like your personality
3. A tune
4. An involvement
What was the difference?
Who felt good when we started singing? *everyone raises hands*
(Starts the 4. Demonstration again) we are transported thousands of miles in one second, complete cooperation from the beginning
Life / laws
Michael's book: "Sing along! Sing Mit" has an English translated article about the book which you can take home with you at the end of the session (an international version of the book in English is currently being prepared in cooperation with ECA-EC and will be on the market in time for the festival in 2015).
What you experienced before - this is the law, we are creating the law by singing a jaunty song and inviting people to join in without giving spoken instruction.
You need to be intuitive on the mood of your audience before starting the singing dialogue 'the law'
You have to look into the eyes of the people. It is very important to 'measure', to 'sense' what is there. In open singing there is no second chance. You usually only have one chance. How the grab this chance?
The first principle: Our task is to prepare success.
What is success in the open singing?
Answers: To master something. To feel good. People should not give up.
You might be put in a position to just do an open singing without knowing the place or the choir, or the audience. You need to programme success. Not in a way that the notes need to be in tune, what is for you success? Yes, we had fun, yes our rhythm was correct, set your boundaries. It is not always about quality, it is about how you experience it in your body, it always comes back to emotion.
Three categories of happiness:
1. Growth / development
2. Achievement
3. Success
Result in this:
Letting go / release of stress, wellness
Michael asks the audience to take the music and stand up...then to stand on one leg. Keep your arms up and turn your hands, and now your foot. How does that feel? Good? Now swap directions. Asking can you turns your hands in the same direction? Now turn your foot in the same direction, now change the direction of your hands. Be patient with yourself! Being on one leg makes you feel good because you are more concentrated. THEN comes laughter, this is important in the learning process!!! It is up to me to put you in the position where you make little points of success.
Michael says he has colleagues who do not agree with so much bodily movement in his open singing, it is about energising the body and preparing yoursef to sing in a relaxed way.
Putting hands around your mouth to do a singing call, this concentrates the mind. Make sure your physical tasks are so to the point that the singers don't need to think more about the movements than the singing, they should go hand in hand, and when it goes wrong, it should be funny.
Pianist plays the Fruit Canon from the Song Book 2012 EC Torino
UNION is the most important happiness in life. 
We cannot hide behind our voices, we have to SHOW that we are happy and be in a good state visibly, even if you are nervous. You need to apply normal pedagog techniques to your laws.
Really look at your audience, are they happy? There might be 5000 people there. Some of them may not want to join in on the movements, or feel uncomfortable. You might be able to give a task to the others for example, hand out and put the other on top with a thumbs up to ask if they are good? They will respond back. Now try to swap hands, fast! Keep looking around. There are people who will think it is stupid and these people will not master it, or choose not to try. Compliments handed out to one who manages it, is like a compliment to everyone. It tells the audience 'gee he IS looking at us'. It comes back to the basics of choral communication, you wouldn't perform with your head in the book. 
We sight read through El Testament with piano
Conducting: If you conduct, conduct, if you don't, don't. After three times nobody watches. It is a concert and a rehearsal and a concert! When communicating, use one order 'look' and then be clear, do not give a whole instruction.
We sight read El Noi.
Michael didn't say go, people just started and joined in with each other. Michael explains that the intelligence of the mass is important to regard.
He got everyones attention by using his hands and created an atmosphere in the room which everyone started the same thought process and then stopped everyone halfway through the repeat phrase, and then did a dim and rit just with his face and slight hand movements. Make something that people can link to, the piano was faster too. Effective conducting, sight and movement - not words, keep your signs the same, keep that level of communication the same. Be really aware of what you give to the audience, keep it the same. Many times you give a slightly unclear message, and this will have an effect on the audience. People will follow you, create that relationship.
See you this evening for my concert. Thank you for being here!
TRY IT OUT! Think it is like playing the piano, start practising!
Film yourself with a video and watch it back.
Please take the article from Jan on your way out.

Inspirational session | Audience development beyond the choral world


Árpád Tóth

will present his experience  in (literally) going out to grab the attention of new audience by the  use of unusual performances venues and the involvement of listeners in  improvisations.

The Pécs festival team will present  some of the tools and trick they plan to extend the outreach of the  festival to non-choral singers.
  • Moderator: Reijo Kekkonen
  • Live reporting: Jesse Boere
We start with singing - free improvisation on vowels.
Árpad Tóth introduces himself by explaining a story about himself. 7 years old. someone asks me: you sing all the day, everywhere, and often loudly. Aren't you emberrassed if someone passes you? "I never thought about it It was very natural. " Started to think about this. After that I never sang on the street anymore. 
I always wanted to sing - wtih someone else, with different people.
How can we think differently about singing?
- Think differently about sound
            - Sound from humans is most beautiful sound. Sounds can always be different.
- Think differently about listening to eachother
- Exercise - a "dark" city, there are secret "families" of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (snapping on a specific number), you snap behind your back and walk through the room, trying to find others who chose the same number...
You can do this with people that sing a lot, but also with people that haven't been singing.
- Think differently about concert venues
        Use a monument (ie statue)
You only need a choir and an audience
The whole city can be a choral stage.
- Night of the Choirs in Hungary
Singing on the metro and the metro stations (YouTube video)
- Think differently about practicing
    (example) Wade in the water
- Be creative (including improvisation) with the piece from the beginning (while   learning the piece)
"If we think differently, our audience will do too"
(example) Britain's got Talent (2012) - Only Boys Aloud (YouTube)
Performances on 'differen't places: we should just do it. Are we too scared?
In some cities you need permission to do this. - Then you need to get the permission? - No, just do it!  (Depends also on the size of the event - music happening all over the city or just one specific activity? - the length of the performance, the venue, and the country in which you live).
Challenging question from our keynote speaker: Aren't you thinking "too small" if your aim is to reach those 95% out there?
Gabor gives a short summary audience development in Hungary:
We'd like to develop the 'Open Singing' and bring it to a new level. Publish thin songbook for everyone so people that are just passing by can participate too.
Open singing around Cathedral (Night of the Choirs) and then choirs spread around the center of Pécs and then give very short performances in a lot of places.
Couple of new activities in educational program:
- Choir for 'non-singers'
- Discovery Atelier: Conducting for singers
Audio announcements on the bus network
Installations in the city related to music (especially choral) that can remain in the city afterwards as a 'memory' to the festival
Festival song with video in the shuttle buses from Airport to Pécs.
Choir Fun Challenge (inspired on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) - A Choir Challenge Movement: Make a video promoting choral singing (in any way you like) and challenge three other choirs to do the same.
17.52 ending

Project session | A new vision on the the Eurochoir

Project session | A new vision on the the Eurochoir

The Eurochoir project was initiated by AGEC in 1982. How relevant is the project today? What have we learned from the three editions included in the VOICE project? What are the next steps in helping this unique choir become the ambassador of choral music on the continent?



Presentation by Daphne Wassink (DW): The Eurochoir

Eurochoir exists since 1982, invented by AGEC. Bringing people from Europe to sing and exchange.

Musical, social and intercultural project. 32 editions. Duration: 8 to 10 days

2 counductors one local one from another country.

[see theeurochoir.org]

Organised in 13 countries


Size matters

30 to 80 people in the past > very different projects


10 to 22 countries last year thanks to the VOICE project

Create good continuity is a challenge since it is not a fixed choir.

It will never be the best choir in Europe: is not the first aim!

How do you recruit participants?

Level of singers can be very diverse through selection by national organisations > Frustration. We now need to select.


Bring young people together, you can ask them anything! They will sing upside down. Experimentation is possible

Good situation with the growing number of of nationalities.

  • Over three years of VOICE we worked on:

  • Recruitement

  • Communication (website and domain name)

  • promotion

  • a third of singers are doing consecutive sessions (how to involve the singers more in the project > ambassadors of the Eurochoir

The Ambassadors

Former singers, asked to contribute to the developpement and promotion of the eurochoir.

  • prepare games

  • promote the Eurochoir

Want to continue the work from voice with three sessions working together in Helsinki, Italy, Netherlands ??

There a more possibilities to develop the project.

The Choral Upgrade Project

Includes three sessions organised in common, we have time to decide on a common programme and concept.

About past editions:

IFAC: Philippe Le Fevre (PLF) prepared the last session in France. question, what is your main message to next organiser?

PLF: my advice is not about organisation, if I compare to 2013. You have 2 conductors to work together. In was the case in France, it was perfect. I was the third person, here to discuss about their problems, and help them decide and compromise. When you choose the 2 conductors, make sure they can work together. They have to know each other's work.

Question: of how to organize how the conductors work both at the same time or not

Two conductors work if you have a good team behind them

Ex-singer 1: I liked 2 conductors, you get many influence but, I had the feeling that It felt that the external was musically interesting but the local was about knowing the culture, but not artistically interesting enough.

EX-singer 2: in Pecs, we had a vocal coach but not in France, and that was useful.

DW: we are thinking about this issue. In former model, the federations were helping financially the singers.

PLF: it was a question of money! The warm up should be a responsibility of the conductors

Ex-singer 1: I had 3 sessions with a vocal coach, it should be someone who is working on the group sound,more than on individual voices (can't do much in 8 days)

DW: what does the EUrochoir mean for an audience in the different countries? We should always ask what can we bring to a community, what are we missing at this very moment?

Zdenek Kadlas (Eurochoir 2012): it was in a small city, there was a local support from politicians, it was a challenge for us to organise, and Torino was right after the eurochoir We almost cancelled the event due to lack of applications, we had 43 in the end.

PLF: in Saintes, there is a big festival, 180 events, we told them about EC; they thought it was too elitist, but the concert was a tremendous success. It is hard to describe what Eurochoir is in advance

DW: How would you convince a young singer to apply?

Ex-singer 1: EC could improve the communication towards singers, it is still in a closed network.

Ex-singer 2: If you advertise, you may not get a spot for yourself.

DW: criteria are:

  • under 30

  • 3 particpations max (like in WYC)

Martine Spanjers (Zimihc): Why not a discount system and incentive system to bring new singers?

Ex-Singer 1: It is a experience that show that singing is a language that everybody can share. I think that everyone that attend the concert should feel that atmosphere, everybody can feel the group.

Côme Ferrand Cooper: Eurochoir is rehearsals, music, concerts but it is also group building and more. Hard to find the right balance.

PLF: it was sometimes a problem, but it was good to have the ambassadors. Games help get to know each other, from the first day, they shared real things. former participants can take an active role in policing the group.

ex-singer 2: I was not aware of the role of he ambassadors!

DW: we should make sure to recruit new ambassadors

FR: we thought we should bring people to help them build the group. The ambassadors sometimes did not feel their role, but it was good to have them in the assessment, but their role should be better defined

PLF: we must help singers come better prepared

DW: a conclusion: what do you see as a challenge for the next editions?

Marco Fornasier (Feniarco): we are trying to involve people from other fields, we have opportunities in big cities to cooperate with venues, institutions, other artists. It would be nice to contact schools, like circus school, to have a concert part of a larger performance, for example, to reach out to other audiences. Or with sports?

MS: the concept is great, and we like to idea of cross discipline, working with other venues, and we want to reach out to other choral singers as guide to the city, to network with the city.

Open working Group: National and Regional Youth Choirs

National and Regional Youth Choirs  share one thing: they are all unique! How can they network more  efficiently, work together, share their experience and promote choral  music across Europe?
  • Moderators: Jean Claude Wilkens and Victoria Liedbergius

  • Live reporting: Burak Onur Erdem  

Victoria Liedbergius welcomes everybody in the session. Asks for everybody to introduce themselves.
Participants from Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Catalunya, Spain, France and Turkey.
Jean-Claude introduces the sheet which summarizes what has been done in the last two years. How is the choir, how does it work, what is the budget, etc. These questions have been asked and put in a dropbox folder by ECA-EC management open for everybody. There is a folder for each national/regional youth choir existing, you can also create your own folder.
Jean-Claude continues to explain about the national youth choirs and the network:
In the last years many new choirs showed up. This informal network grew and new ideas emerged.
The festival Choralies existing for a long time now, has great opportunities for choirs. With the CUE, many representatives of national youth choirs had a certain idea for an exchange between these choirs. The ideas have been designed more or less together for CUE. (In France, the national youth choir is not only one choir, but a program with three choirs.) 
The French, Catalan, Norwegian and Italian national youth choirs programmed their near future together. This does not mean that other national youth choirs are excluded, but the communication is actively existing and always possible.
The idea in the festival 2016 is to try to find members of creative groups, put them together and see what they would create together. It is not academic commissioning, but it directly comes from experience.
Exchanging singers, conductors is also a possibility.
It is also encouraged to mix different disciplines, show other possibilities to present choral music to youth and share this with different audiences. That resembles greatly with the general topic 'reaching out'. The percentage that we can reach right now could be much bigger.
The choirs will meet 4 times: First time in the French festival, second time in the World Symposium in Barcelona, third will be in Italy and finish alltogether in Talinn Europa Cantat Festival.
On the list there are 12 national youth choirs and probably if the other contribute this can become more than 25. We really would like to extend this possibility to others. We plan to invite choirs, managers, conductors to experience and get the material back. We could merge other sub-partners in the program and we'd like to do it.
Hopefully in 2018 the network for national youth choirs will have a solid base.
Platform for questions & discussion:
It is asked if one of the two national youth choirs in Sweden that  is not a member of ECA-EC can participate in this program? The answer is yes.
The national youth choir in Sweden is successful, but there is difficulties with budget in these years.
The network can help all the choirs in the hard times. An example is choirs, that hold their sessions abroad, because it is cheaper.
Advantage in this situation is that there is already a structure and staff.
Turkey is becoming more active and there are project initiated for national youth choirs. It should be carefully designed, because it should not turn into 'conductors' own choirs, but structured projects. The association in Turkey plans for organizing the first session of the NYC at the end of 2015.
In Austria, there are 9 provinces and in every choir there are very good choirs. It has been decided to build a national youth choir. But it is considered: Where are those people singing after the national youth choir? You take out the best singers out of their own choirs, definitely they won't go back to their local choir.
For Catalunya, it was one of the dangers they have detected. That's why they only organize the session during the summer and no activity during the year, so that the project is not questioned. The choristers also bring back a very positive effect to their own choirs.
Victoria mentions the following: If you see in the bigger perspective, this may be a very positive effect for the choral scene of the world. Maybe when they come back to the village, they come as a conductor or a professional singer. The more we share, the more we get back.
Jean-Claude adds: There was a line 18 years ago in the French National Youth Choir hoping for 'the singers of today will be the conductors of tomorrow'. It may not be right to judge for young people's lives, so I don't agree with this. But if we look now after 18 years, many of them have come to professional level. It is network of people in the same y-generation. They are ready to help when we need them. We hear a problem of one of them (by chance) and the others in the network immediately help them.
This network is not as direct as going back to the village but through the network, many problems are solved. Through NYCs we built networks of young people and enabled them not to be 'alone'.
For Belgium, it has been some tries to build the national youth choir. There is no chance to get public money, you have to rely on your own energy. But it is very exciting to see that two parts are trying to bring together projects, including the Europa Cantat Junior now.
Also there is the phenomenon of 'alumni'. When they get too old, they don't want to seperate. There are a lot of alumni projects, completely out of control.
A choir in the mountains were so isolated in France that they wanted to leave the association. Jean-Claude went there with the president and asked them to host something: It's a nice place. They hosted an activity for children. 300 children came for the whole weekend. The choir was only doing the logistics. They got the contact to all the conductors, they managed the mayor to come. We helped them through our network for the politicians to come and realize this place. Now the choir is very active. Seems like easy things, but very important. Being isolated is something you can get out by some other activity than you have been doing.
The participants will be invited to the dropbox folder.

Open Working Group: Brainstorm to the future

Do people call you crazy when you talk  about new projects? Maybe we should meet... Let's discuss innovative  activities and formats, and how to implement them!
  • Moderator: Kjetil Aamann and Carlo Pavese
  • Live reporting: Jesse Boere          
This is a brainstorm and discussion panel for all the participants.
Kjetil: Wrote a piece (Requiem) for female choir black metal band wanted to perform it in a church but haven't dared yet
Q: Are we talking about 'good' crazy or 'bad' crazy?
A: Crazy in a positive way
Réka: Concerts in swimming pools (with swimming suits), in caves and in zoos
In previous session people talked about the fact if it is allowed to have public performances without permission. You just have to ask, ask, ask. - Singing in airports.
Pianos on airports and train stations - you create a stage where people also sing a lot.
If you start something on the streets, sometimes even without the intention, people join in.
Give the audience little acoustic instruments and let them all participate. Also include lightening, video graphics and other things (with software you can do this). The audience can feel how it is to be part of a musical entity without having had the education.
Teach businessmen/office workers a business song - team building with choral music.
Eric Ericsson INternational Choral Center -  Train conductors to be leaders in their communities. 
- Go to prisons, center for elderly, drug treatment center.  Creative Scotland does this too 
El Systema has a 'singing sister' in Brasilia.
Audience Involvement can go really far - use an app to ask your audience what to play, to play slower, faster, different style etc. etc.
We have not talked yet about 'classic' concert situation where something else is 'crazy'.
Very temporary choir (one hour). Bring random group together for one hour. First 45 minutes rehearsal, then right after a concert.
Dark concert (completely in the dark).
Shorter concerts. Our concerts are still like the concerts of centuries okay.

Open Working Group: Launching an Inclusion strategy

We claim that “everybody can sing”, but are we always taking the necessary steps to make sure that it happens? Inclusion is a transversal issue, that concerns all activities and necessitates a proper strategy.

  • Moderator: Koenraad De Meulder

  • Live reporting: Emanuela Farago



An inclusion project of Koor&Stem: La Noche Sin Estrallas


  • Antwerp Cathedral Choir (people without any disabilities), Al-arm (choir of poor people) singing together Gelijkgesternd (singers with dementia) performed, sang together.

  • Professional conductor  he was very good with disabled people, knew how to deal with them, was the first time for him to be involved in a project like this.

  • The composer and the conductor were really humanitarian, could build the link between the music and these different people

  • Music is very accessible, easy, was written for inclusion choir, but can be combined with normal people and disabled people also, not only written for this kind of people. The score can be downloaded from the website of Koor&Stem.

  • It takes a lot of time to convince people to make such a thing – takes a year to learn the score for the disabled choir; but only few rehearsals for a normal choir

  • they enjoyed singing very much, they were very enthusiastic and proud

  • People who heard about this project and it’s success, started to work with inclusion in their own area.

    • Eg. in a carehouse for disabled people every two weeks there’s singing with their family – mentally desiesed people

  • It’s a very difficult task to rework this, to have a new conductor– he/she has to have social qualities, patience, competences, ect.


  • Hears in harmony was initiated in 2006 in France from the belief that singing can help the social inclusion of disabled people.
    Other countries took over this project and developed,

  • Norway (with hearing-impaired and other children)

  • Hungary (together with the school for visually impaired children),

  • Catalonia (inclusion of disabled singers in general)

  • Serbia (inclusion of disabled singers in general) in Novi Sad there’s a yearly festival – big institution for disabled people

  • Sweden (children with hearing difficulties)

  • Belgium (inclusion of hearing-impaired singers and people with dementia)

  • Revolution in vision: first only about disabled people in focus; but later it was broaden to cultural background, prisoners, emigrants, everybody who can be out casted

  • the organization is very open



Hearts in Harmony is the European network for the social inclusion by means of singing of individuals and groups at risk of exclusion.

  • European network

  • social inclusion

  • by means of singing

  • of individuals

  • of groups

  • at risk of exclusion,

Strategic objectives

The HIH Network

  • creates awareness in the choral world and the social services for inclusion by means of singing of individuals and groups at risk of exclusion.

  • gathers knowledge and experience on singing with individuals and groups at risk for exclusion and shares these with the choral world in Europe.

  • creates a learning network on singing with individuals and groups at risk of exclusion. It’s useful tool to give information for conductors and singers how to manage inclusion in a choir

European Music Festival for young people - Liverpool Signing Choir


  • 4000 children

  • 62nd edition

  • deaf and hearing people performing together in a concert

  • singing and signing (making music with their hands not their voices)

  • weekly half an hour rehearsal

  • Paralympics opening ceremony

  • Create awareness

Create awareness
The HiH Network implements a HiH-component in several programs
of the existing ECA-EC events or in events organized as a part of the social work.

  • Implementation of a HiH-component in the Europa Cantat Festival

  • Implementation of a HiH-component in the Europa Cantat Junior festival.

  • Implementation of a HiH-component in Singing Weeks.

  • Implementation of HiH-components in events organized as a part of the social work.

  • Other ideas concerning the implementation of HiH-components (tbd)

The HiH Network develops a HiH Inclusion Label for choirs who develop concrete actions for the inclusion of individuals and

  • groups at risk of exclusion.

  • Write out the guidelines for the HiH Inclusion Label.

  • Development of a campaign to promote the HiH Inclusion Label.

  • Presentation of the results of the label campaign.



Center of dementia in Flanders – publication

  • People keep their vocal memories – they remember all the song they knew before, Developing method for carehouses in flanders

  • guideline for people who work there People need lot’s of advices, open care houses for local social services. It’s not so easy task for people without singing competences

  • They started to look for volunteers who are willing to participate in these kind of things

  • 30 choirs in Belgium singing with people suffering from dementia

  • Patients cannot talk with their beloved, the relatives can maybe feed them, but there’s no interaction, but if you manage them to sing, there is contact and interaction between them.

  • The Voice of our Memory (in Dutch)




  • CUE project

  • Neurological project

  • Dutch and english verion of the book

  • Songs and CDs, piano acconp on the website





Open working group: Children’s and Youth Choir Associations

A meeting point for all choral associations dedicated to young singers
  • Moderator: Kaie Tanner
  • Live reporting: Flannery Ryan
Introduction from Kaie:
Working with youth and children is a little different than working with adults. You have to be a fan for doing it. 
Questions to the group:
What are your main activities in working with youth? Whom are you working with?
Women1: I conduct children from 5 to 16
Jean Smeets: Organization of children choirs in Flanders (Vlaamse Federatie van Jonge Koren - VFJK, part of Koor&Stem). Many activities but main activity is an international  choral week for children. 5 days singing camp full board, usually during easter holidays. 8 – 13 years , 8 ateliers. 3 atelierleaders guiding the children. Provide instruments also. Free time: sport events etc. In the end a concert with all parents of the children present.  
Marleen (next to him) organizes observation stage
Marleen: Aim in beginning: Introduce songs to the kids in beginning with mini study tours for the conductors. In the end there is a result with the songs.  
Jean Smeets: In the end of October there is also a singing weekend for children with an international conductor (Carlo Pavese last year) two ateliers with switching conductors. Result: Extremely high quality in two days.
Additionally: school singing days: School responsible for logistics, all kids sing without selection. Repertoire comes from the atelier leaders in specially composed songbook.
Another project is for children choirs with extra songs from flanders
Everyone is quite impressed of this system
José (Portugal?): Arrange meetings with choirs from other countries to exchange different ways of working. 5 years ago there were 150 singers, now only 90, which is difficult
Projects where young choirs sing with old choirs. This connection is important.
Result of choir week between different countries: concert
Marco from Italy (Feniarco): approx. 400 children and youth choirs. A few years ago mission to increase number of those choirs. Publishing collection of youth choirs on CD. They are starting to get better and better. Festival with 1300 participants with international conductors; collaboration with ministry to expand number of music activities in school. Now working on a workshop with ministry for choral conductors in schools to work on  how to improve those conductors
We dedicated a lot of time to youth and children choirs, both classical and pop choirs. Youth are until 19 in school, in association youth goes until 26.
Kaie: Is classical or pop choir more popular?
Marco: Classical was there first, normal popularity, pop choir started later for a special occasion and then went on. Both are important since there are different needs. There is no competition. 
We also have seminars for composers that are dedicated especially to children every two years
Catalan children choir confederation SCIC: A children federation for children until 16. 
3 main aims: 
- Introdude new repertoire with a new publication with different topics (this year ex. Musical theatre): arrange traditional songs in that style
- Training with conductors. Not many school choirs but this formation is open for all school conductors for training
- Exchanges and ateliers with choirs, conductors can switch and choose where they want to learn.
Every year big concerts. Every 5 years big singing together up to 2000 kids. Ask for new compositions for these events. Do this in big sport stadiums, accompanied by orchestras. Don’t like stadiums but it’s hard to find something else.
Kaie: Estonian situation a bit different. Most choirs in schools, most of them mixed choirs. 10000 young children until 8,  8000 children from 8 – 16. You have to wonder where all these singers disappear to when they grow older.
Main event is song celebration. All children sing all together. Every 5 year max. 600-700 singers, which is a problem, because more kids would like to go. 
Finding money for all these choirs in our association is hard (not just choirs but also brass ensembles) 
Try to educate composers to write good music for children. Most of them dont understand what children need. Can’t be too complicated. Composers don’t always do what they are asked. Think music can be more experimental than is actually possible for kids. 
Raoul (Estonia): It’s difficult for adults to join choirs if they didn’t learn good singing in school. Working on making conductors better to motivate children.
Raoul praises that ministry (not minister) in Italy supports music education
Marco: Schools in some regions of Italy have extra projects outside of schools that are well supported. 
Jean Smeets: School projects in flanders aren’t well defined and teachers aren’t qualified, so school invites organization for projects so there is certified singing. Very little amount of hours are spent for singing in school, even less without these courses. So projects of organization are support, but schools need to invite organizations. 
Kaie: All schools have sport days, why not singing days?
So, none of you have problems in motivating children? More lack of time and money?
Jean Smeets: With kids you don’t know you won’t know how they will react, but after a little bit of singing, they will all join in with joy.
Unfortunately at this point the time was up but the discussion could have gone on for ever as far as the participants were concerned


Open working group: The economy of choral organisations


Do we need new business models for the Choral world? Is earning money much more difficult than fighting  for subsidies? Public support is thinning away: let's share positive  and innovative experiences or ideas to financially support choral  organisations.

  • Moderator: Daphne Wassink

  • Live reporting: Cathy Al-Ghabra


Hi everyonewelcome to the economy of choral organisations 

Daphne welcomes everyone

money that disappears and comes back.this is a sharing working group, so please contribute to the discussion.

Daphne: are we in e situation where we need to talk about the economy of our choral organisations?question: who has recently had problems because public funding was cut? 6who did not? 8who had an increase of private funding? 5who can give examples of successful private funding they managed?andreas' choir raises 15000 euros through crowd funding for a tourthe key to the success was that the whole group stood behind it and supported it

20% supported with action the others more in thinking

Crowd funding What did you offer people? Big concerts, small concerts from a quartet to the whole choir, postcards, inside information from our trip. Spend €5 -1000 for the concert. Partnerships were not accessible due to it being a university. Businesses - firms that are interested in culture access. It is about network. You must reach a lot of people to gain success. About 400 donors contributed. There was a minimum that you have to spend before you do the crowd funding. Crowd funding is good if you have a specific and defined project, but does not work when it is too generalised, it is a closed way of funding. It works for localised events, as the companies can gain something, but for funding abroad trips it is almost impossible. Tour - even though tourist companies are a partner for the tour abroad, they will often deny contribution. Long term partnerships - e.g. Audi youth choir academy. Lebanon - there are no choral singing traditions. People shared money with their choirs just small donations, then they put on free concerts. Do not depend on one person, they might cut the money. Politicians gave. Lotteries - with goldsmiths... Competition - winning stimulates people to give. 1990s Estonian student choir - planning a trip to USA and had a lack of money. Upper most hotel rooms always reserved for maffia. They rang the maffia and they sponsored them and came with. Two maffia pretended to be choral members. Creative book keeping. Diversification of income is important, Sonja gives example of ECAEC losing network funding but this is only 30% of their funding. Other companies were not so careful. In Europe there are lots of very different cases: two kinds of culture...UK culture where public funding is almost nothing and lots of private sponsors, and the rest of Europe where most funding comes from public money. E.g. Polyfollia one of their major public sponsors are failing, so they have to shut the organisation. When one pulls out, all the others do too, it's like a domino effect. Even if you have multiple sources of public funding you cannot be dependent. It is long term work to develop private funding partnerships. The most important question to discuss: how can we give permanent life to ECAEC? This is the main important point. When you see the figures even in the good case, we are still just working with less than €300,000. It is amazing that this association is living on only this. It is very dangerous living. How can we find a little bit more than nothing? So what other positive examples do we have in the room? Collective spirit of collaboration from members, like in local festivals. Use your partner relationships and put on workshops for free, and charge participants. Who are the organisations and how far are they ready to go? How can we build this community collectively? Dating? Private funders, how did you manage this in your organisation? Contact the person who makes the decisions, send the right person to convince them. Focusing on specific target areas can create good partnerships. The word 'youth' helps to get funding. Show companies what you can provide for them, what will benefit their work. E.g. World Choir Games are very efficient. We can use our ECAEC network to advertise that we are knowledgable - sell our skills.


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