Marleen – from Belgium to Lithuania

Finding synergies between EUROPA CANTAT Junior 2022 & 2023 – the EC Junior 2022 team inviting Marleen Annemanns (EC junior 2023)

In preparations for EUROPA CANTAT Junior Vilnius 2022, we have been looking for ways to connect our event with EUROPA CANTAT Junior Ghent 2023 – since the pandemic jumbled up international event calendars, the two EC Juniors ended up right next to each other. Rather than competing which one would be more successful, we, of course, sat down with Ghent representatives to see what kind of links can be made and of what use we can be for each other. Seeing as Lithuanian choral scene knew little to nothing about our colleagues in Belgium (and vice versa), we thought it in order to bring the two choral communities together; and we first started with bringing their leaders, i.e. the conductors, together.

One of the most natural ways to do it, we thought, was having a Belgian Study Tour leader in Vilnius and a Lithuanian one in Ghent. After some consideration, the Belgians offereed Marleen Annemans as their candidate, and the Lithuanians – Linas Balandis. In order to start their preprarations, exchange ideas and work on common goals, it was important for Marleen and Linas to meet. We invited Marleen to the Junior Choir Camp – a Lithuanian children’s choir event in a small resort town, where kids, tired of the long quarantine, gathered from around the country to get familiar with the atelier format and work with international conductors. Linas and Marleen, starting their acquaintance from the musical side, had some joint rehearsals and compared their musical methods, and later went on to have brainstorm sessions about what the main characterstics of a good Study Tour are and what kind of audience is to be expected in both Ghent and Vilnius. Since we are expecting active Study Tour participation from Lithuanian conductors in Vilnius, it was important for Linas to introduce Marleen to the conductors who were present at Junior Choir Camp, as well as explain the general problems, challenges and victories that most Lithuanian conductors face.

We are very happy to say that Marleen left Lithuania with much deeper understanding of local choral community and a long list of contacts wishing to develop their friendship further. We are looking forward to an opportunity to similarly broaden Linas’ comprehension of the Belgian reality and a successful cooperation between EC Junior Vilnius 2022 and EC Junior Ghent 2023!



Ieva Krivickaitė, EC Junior Vilnius team