The Flemish Government and INTERKULTUR, organisers of the 2021 event, have now rescheduled to between 30 October and 7 November in the hope of clearing of any further lockdowns and international travel issues.
It is the second time the date has moved but as Minister-President and Minister of Culture Jan Jambon explained, ‘Many people have sacrificed a lot and made efforts to get through pandemic last year. Also our thousands of choir singers in Flanders and all their enthusiastic fellow singers from all over the world.
‘We have already had to postpone a fantastic event – the World Choir Games – once. Now, however, the summer period is also coming too soon. Choirs want to be able to rehearse, practise and work together towards the event for a few months, but that is not yet possible. Also, the numbers are still uncertain, even for many foreign choirs.’
Not to put all their eggs in one basket, the games will also have a new online element. Flemish choral platform, Koor&Stem has developed a ‘Virtual Village’, enabling all choirs that are unable to participate in person to engage through online workshops, concerts, international networking and competitions. Meanwhile, the Flemish Government, INTERKULTUR and Koor&Stem have been working with the cities of Antwerp and Ghent to make the World Choir Games both successful and safe.
As such, the games will be scaled down and some elements are being restructured for safety reasons, but the organising partners regard the revival of live choral concerts as very emotional.
Games Director Koenraad De Meulder explained, ‘Postponing the World Choir Games is a challenge. The Flemish Choir World committed massively to this competition and preparations were in full swing. The participation of international choirs also exceeded our wildest expectations. It is up to us to make the 11th edition an unforgettable celebration and a supreme meeting moment. That is exactly what we need, now that we have not been able to sing together for so long.’
INTERKULTUR President Günter Titsch said, ‘After months of restrictions, overcoming the crisis now seems within reach. I am very pleased that together with our partners in Flanders and especially through the personal support of Minister-President Jambon, we have found a good way to let the 11th World Choir Games 2021 take place with the greatest possible security for all participants. This autumn we will show to everyone: The international choral world is back and will finally sing on a world stage again!’
Participants and ticketholders who have already registered will be informed about the changes in the near future. Further information can be found at wcg2021.be.