Traditionally, like previous festivals, the 67th EMJ (3 – 6 may 2019) also starts with a ' Kick-Off ' in the Dommelhof Sports Hall and the show ' A Taste of Neerpelt ' (ATON) on the ‘Kerkplein’ (church square). These two opening festivities take place on the evening of Friday May 3rd.
Needless to say that this evening is spiced up with lots of atmosphere and fun. The audience can, once again, enjoy the many musical, vocal and culinary highlights and, of course, a spectacular fireworks show. Still, this year, the ATON will know an innovative aspect. So far, the musical content was brought to you by various bands and/or participating groups. This year however, the EMJ, for the first time in ATONs history, works with the Hasselt ‘Musart’ music school.
Werner Geboers from Bocholt is the project coordinator at ' Musart '. He already has high expectations of the musical performance of over 50 young ' Musart ' musicians during ' A Taste of Neerpelt '.
For many years now the EMJ tries to closely involve domestic and foreign music schools and academies. So far, that went pretty nice and often resulted in their participation in jury concerts, gala nights and guest appearances. This year, a major role is put aside for the Hasselt music school "Musart".
Werner Geboers: The music school "Musart” exists since 35 years. Five years ago we introduced a major innovation. What it is, we want to show in a performance at the 67th EMJ. Our music was always related to ' classic '. In the last five years, we have changed this to three pillars : now being ' pop ', ' jazz ' and ' classic '.
To show this, we worked out a whole new project, called ‘ Musart on Tour '. The project was first presented on January 26th, in the rock temple ‘ Muziekodroom ' in Hasselt, a show with which we will also go on tour. This tour will bring us to Prague and Vienna in April to end in Neerpelt as apotheosis at the EMJ. "
“As far as our participation in the EMJ is concerned, we feared to encounter some problems " Werner Geboers continues. "Our ensembles ' classic ' and ' Jazz ' can easily perform in all EMJ-concerts. I feared that our youngsters of the ‘ pophumaniora ‘ would not be able to play, for today still, there is no series ' pop music '.
Nevertheless, I thought that our upcoming pop artists deserve a podium during the EMJ. These kids already have quite a lot of experience, performing before a large audience and are eager to show their skills during the EMJ, one of the biggest music festivals for young people in Europe. This is why I worked on an interesting solution for our enthusiastic pop artists, along with the EMJ responsables."
Werner Geboers: "We will come to the EMJ with our entire group of students. Some of our ensembles will participate in the jury concerts. For those jury concerts we enlisted a saxophone ensemble, flute ensemble, a flute and guitar duo and a specially for EMJ created Orchestra. This way, all the young musicians of our ' Classic ' and ' Jazz ' stream get a chance to participate in the EMJ. The jury concerts will serve as secondary school exams to our students.
On Friday evening, May 3rd, we will bring a significant part of the musical content of ' A Taste of Neerpelt '. Some Musart-ensembles and -Orchestra, including the students of the ' pop ' stream, will provide musical entertainment that evening, bringing a harmonious encounter between ' classical ', ' jazz ' and ' pop '.
Next to the students, their teachers also will be playing that night. Choreographer Luc Morren worked out an impressive , modern show to amplify it all visually. " Some other artists will also be performing on stage during ATON.
' A Taste of Neerpelt ' as always, also remains very alluring on the culinary level. ATON 2019 will be, once again, a spectacle with music, choreography, good food and of course spectacular fireworks.