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The leading choral network for Europe, the European Choral Association (ECA), has expressed solidarity with all victims of the current conflict in Ukraine, citing singing initiatives which were launched in the shadow of the second world war.
The ECA is calling on choirs to organise concerts, fundraise, contact friends in Ukraine and welcome refugees into their homes. The organisation also expresses solidarity with those protesting against the war who ‘in so doing are risking imprisonment or worse’.
At this moment, the European Choral Association remembers its origins in unity and peace. Singing is a great unifier; it brings people together and demonstrates our shared humanity. More than 60 years ago conductors who had been soldiers on opposing sides [in the second World War] created the Europa Cantat festival and the European Federation of Young Choirs. These two organisations were based on the belief that bringing young people, from countries previously involved in a war, together would have a positive effect. They would gather to sing together, share accommodation and meals and spend free time together. The hope and the result was that they would make friends, appreciate each other’s cultures and not wish to go to war against one another in the future.
The ECA’s membership has included members from central and Eastern European countries, including Russia and recently Ukraine, since the 1990s, and the organisation has received EuroChoir applications from both young Ukrainians, some of them refugees, and young Russians, after the start of the war. The ECA said, ‘Amongst the other applications from singers many expressed their hope that singing in such a European choir would contribute to greater understanding, peace, love and hope’.
Read the full statement on the ECA’s website here.