We are very grateful to the Serbian Choral Association that hosted the Membership Weekend of 2022 in beautiful Novi Sad, the European Capital of Culture in 2022. This was a unique chance for all 110 registered participants from 26 countries to interact, learn and meet with colleagues, enjoy concerts and performances by choirs from Serbia and sing together in the beautiful hotel lobby in the late evenings after the intense programme of the day. We are especially pleased that many new participants from the region attended the meeting for the first time.
At the Membership Weekend, which was preceded by a meeting of the board of the European Choral Association, members were able to choose between different discussion groups, informally meet their peers, attend the General Assembly of the association, follow a workshop on environmental sustainability, learn about choral music from Serbia and the Balkans, and discover Novi Sad, European Capital of Culture 2022.
Membership Day Discussion Groups
On Friday morning, members of the European Choral Association and others were invited to take part in six parallel discussion groups in two slots to learn about old and new projects, get inspiration, add their opinions and ideas, and develop new models with their peers.
First, participants had the opportunity to evaluate the first edition of Leading Voices – a new event for professionals in the field of collective singing, which was organised in Utrecht in summer 2022. There was a lot of interest in discussing the question “What strategy for the future of the choral music?”. We are grateful for all the ideas and reflections that participants shared with each other on this topic. With representatives of the target countries of the Regional Development Strategy, we reviewed what has been done so far and shaped the next steps in regional development. In the second session, we presented the activities of the network, members of the Youth Committee presented why youth participation is important, and the Fair Remuneration Working Group presented a proposal for a fair remuneration policy for all our events.
Membership Day networking session and conference presenting the results of the project Training Leading Voices
In the afternoon, after coffee and networking, all those interested in the activities and membership of the Friends of the European Choral Association had the opportunity to meet at the Friends’ Hybrid Meeting, where the results of the elections to the Board of the Friends were announced. This was followed by a conference presenting the results of the Training Leading Voices project, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe Programme, which will end in 2023. Partners from France, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Germany shared outcomes and lessons learned.
As usual, we looked back on the last year, including everything we achieved in our new network funding project IGNITE, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme, and other activities during the past 12 months. And we looked also ahead at our plans for the years 2023 and beyond.
Workshop on Environmental Sustainability and Repertoire Discovery
On Saturday afternoon we moved to the impressive new Music School of Novi Sad for an afternoon of learning about environmental sustainability and discovering choral repertoire from Serbia and the Balkan region. It was time to shape our future and learn how we can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development.
Discovering Novi Sad and concerts
On the day of arrival, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet representatives of the local authorities at a reception at the City Hall, on Friday we enjoyed a concert by the Belgrade State Radio Choir at a special location in the synagogue, and on Saturday evening we discovered the fascinating history of the Petrovaradin Fortress, which reigns over the Danube. Then we had an evening full of Serbian folk dances and songs. Serbian folk dances were performed by the Folklore Ensemble “VILA” of the Cultural and Artistic Association “Železničar” from Novi Sad.