NEERPELT. - The 66th European Music Festival for Young People (April 27th to May 2nd ) is looking forward to welcoming 88 choirs from 23 countries. Not only European choirs, but also choirs from Israel and Ecuador want to share their vocal talents.
Our country will send 31 choirs. During this 66th Edition of the EMJ, a large group, consisting of nine choirs, lots of loyal EMJ visitors and EMJ-guides will travel to Ypres, on Monday, April 30th, in the context of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. The choirs will provide concerts separately but also participate as one big choir in the 'Last Post'-ceremony.
During the other festival days, there are of course the jury concerts, as well as numerous other concerts and joyful fraternization moments between participants on the one hand and thousands of visitors on the other.
The Festival opens on Friday April 27th, at 19h00 with ' A Taste of Neerpelt ' on the Kerkplein (church square) and later that evening a spectacular fireworks show. At 19h30 in the Sports Hall of the provincial domain Dommelhof there is the ' Kick-off ' with the participation of a choir consisting of 200 students of Neerpelt primary schools and many international participants. At 20h45, at the Town Hall, a work of art of the Neerpelt artist Hilde Keunen, will be revealed on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the EMJ logo.
Highlights of Saturday April 28th, are the jury concerts from 13h10 till 16h00 in different theatres in Neerpelt and Overpelt. Followed by the festive parade of participants at 17h00 and the animated proclamation show at 17h45. In the evening there are various concerts including the happening ' Spring of Voices ' at 20h30 in the Sports Hall of the provincial domain Dommelhof and also at 20h30 there’s the laureates' concert 'Con Brio' in the theatre of the provincial domain Dommelhof.
On Sunday April 29th, the day starts at 10h30 with the aperitif concert 'Salute' in the Hubertus theatre. At 11h00 there’s a festival mass in the St. Nicholas Church. Jury concerts in different venues in Neerpelt, Overpelt and Hamont-Achel take place from 12h50 til 16h00. At 17h00 the festive parade heads for the Sports Hall of the provincial domain Dommelhof, through the streets of Neerpelt, to attend the blistering proclamation show at 17h45. Sunday evening at 20h30, there are two eye-catching musical events with a ‘Boomball’ in the Sports Hall of the provincial domain Dommelhof and the laureates' concert 'Con Bravura’ in the theatre of the provincial domain Dommelhof.
On Monday April 30th, the EMJ, together with a group of 560 enthusiasts (choir members, loyal festival visitors and an accompanying EMJ-delegation) will travel from Neerpelt to Ypres by special train. A choir, specially assembled for the occasion, consisting of 350 singers of nine European choirs participating in the EMJ, will help give shape to the Last Post ceremony under the ‘Menenpoort’, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the great war. The choirs will also perform separately at the Ypres cloth Hall (lakenhallen) that day.
Tuesday May 1st starts at 13h15 with jury concerts in venues in Neerpelt and Overpelt. At 17h00 the parade heads for the Sports Hall of the provincial domain Dommelhof, where to 17h45 the last proclamation of this 66th EMJ will take place. Tuesday evening at 20h30 there’s the laureates' concert 'Brillante’ in the theatre of the provincial domain Dommelhof.
With this program, the EMJ wishes to encourage young people, once again, to singing together, to support them and make them experience the joy this brings. Another goal is to stimulate the feeling of international togetherness and thus spreading a positive message of joy, friendship and peace towards Europe and the world. And don’t forget the recommendations of the international jury, always appreciated by the participants. For more information, please visit the EMJ website www.emj.be and look at program booklet, for sale during the festival days at various concert halls