To the organizers of the European Music Festival for Young people the last days of April and the first days of May were quite unforgettable. They were not only awarded the Prize of the Flemish Community for Amateur Arts (2011-2012) but they also managed to set up an impeccable 61st edition of EMY. No fewer than 3.400 young musicians from 20 European and Asian countries have participated this year. For the very first time 10 groups from the Far East have come to Neerpelt. And an odd 25.000 spectators have visited the 61st Festival.
Despite the basic idea of "stimulating youngsters from all over Europe to sing and to make music" which is and has always been the leading thread running through each festival, new ideas are regularly taken into account. Thus not only the number of concert halls has been increased to nine halls, so has the opening-event of the festival been realized according to a new concept: the "Kick-off" welcomed spectators and participating orchestras and bands from 20 countries to a bubbling show at the Dommelhof Sportshall. In the market-square of the town centre there was "A taste of Neerpelt", which was a crowded event with lots of music by international orchestras and ensembles, refined food by local restaurants and catering services plus an open air show with dancing angels and musicians high up in the sky.
Also new was the increased number of fraternization and guest concerts (28 altogether) in Neerpelt and in the surrounding towns.
But most important are of course the performances before an international jury and an audience of connoisseurs. Practically every group had prepared themselves to the utmost, which was reflected in the excellent results. Here is a list of outstanding results for Belgian participants: a first prize summa cum laude (the highest prize) went to the Percussion Ensemble of the Tessenderlo Academy. First prizes cum laude went to Euphonia from Izegem, the Youth Fanfare Kempenbloei from Hamont-Achel, Chambermusic Ensemble La Duetta from Hasselt, the Academy Orchestra from Deurne, the Youth Orchestra of the Royal Harmony Orchestra from Peer, and the Niko Harmony Orchestra NIKO_HO! From Neerpelt.
The jury also awarded a first prize summa cum laude to foreign ensembles such as Outojoki quintet from Joensuu (Finland), the Symphonic Band of Georg Ots music school from Tallinn (Estonia), the St.-Jozef Drumband from Someren (the Netherlands),Batucada Percussion from Salerno (Italy), the ODEON Jugendsinfonieorchester from Munich (Germany), the Youth Chamber Orchestra DIVERTIMENTO from Warsaw (Poland) and Domra-Fest from Moscow (Russia).
The upcoming edition of EMY from May 1 to May 5, 2014 will be a vocal one. Some 26 board-members and 600 volunteers will be ready to welcome you to another Feast of music, friendship and fraternization for the 62nd time.