The European Music Festival for Young People currently has 17 festival-ambassadors. They are members of the jury, conductors, choirs or instrumental groups that promote EMJ in their home-country or during their concert-tours abroad. One of them is "Lirica" from Genk,Belgium.
"In the children's choir boys and girls aged 8 to 15 are taught to discover the beauty of music in their own adapted way," says Christiane Janssens of Lirica. "Special attention is drawn to the education of the voices which has led to a series of first prizes at EMJ. The children's choir has already performed in Czechia and Germany."
"The youth-choir consists of youngsters aged 15 to 25," Christiane Janssens adds. "Meanwhile Lirica has grown into one of the better Flemish choirs. We participated in international contests in among others Austria, Wales, Italy, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Turkey. In 2013 we successfully took part in festivals in Verona and Firenze. Moreover Lirica was invited to perform at the Royal Palace and to share the stage with jazz virtuosos such as Toots Tielemans, The Groove Thing and Jef Neve."
As Lirica has uninterruptedly participated in EMJ since 1984 and as it successfully undertakes concert-tours abroad, it was selected to be an "Ambassador of EMJ" in 2012.
Christiane Janssens:" We have not been an ambassador of EMJ for very long yet, but still we have managed to show foreign choirs the way to EMJ; during our travels abroad we make contact with many children's and youth-choirs and we use the opportunity to tell them about EMJ. The conductor and the choir-members of the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir are very interested in EMJ. They might well plan participation in 2014. In Firenze for example we invited every single choir to go and participate in EMJ and we handed them the necessary informative folders and flyers. Invitations to take part in EMJ were also handed to conductors and presidents of choirs from Greece, Puerto Rico, Russia, Bellarus, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Italy, Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Estonia, Latvia and Taiwan.
Moreover we give choirs - wherever we are – lots of music, including the EMJ compulsory songs of our Flemish composers. Meanwhile these songs have spread worldwide. In Firenze we also talked to conductors of adults' choirs for often, in their own country, they work with children's and youth choirs. We feel we simply must tell everyone who is interested about EMJ being one of the better festivals in Europe, musically, vocally and organization-wise. We take our "Ambassador of EMJ"-task to heart with pleasure and dedication."
Photo: Lirica, moments before their contest-performance in the San Stefano Church in Firenze.