The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is excited to launch a new TV talent competition format for amateur choirs, Eurovision Choir of The Year, as an addition to the Eurovision Family of Events led by the well-known Eurovision Song Contest.
The first edition of Eurovision Choir of the Year will be produced by host broadcaster Latvian Television (LTV) and Riga Tourism Development Bureau (LIVE RIGA) on 22 July at the Riga Arena in the Latvian capital.
Choirs from 7 EBU Member countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and Slovenia) will compete for the title, with prizes including a recording deal for the winning choir.
Each choir will perform a six minute unaccompanied set in any genre and will be judged by a high-profile jury including British composer John Rutter and Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča.
The show will be hosted by Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre and LTV culture presenter Eva Ikstena and directed by the BBC's Peter Maniura.
“Singing in choirs is a healthy, social and artistic activity that anyone, young or old, musically experienced or not, can take part in - and one which is growing in popularity across the world,” said EBU Head of Live Events Jon Ola Sand.
“Eurovision Choir of the Year will showcase the vast possibilities of the human voice and aims to inspire new singers to get involved.”
“Latvia has an abundant heritage of ancient choir traditions, inspiring our Song and Dance Festivals and bringing our choirs international acclaim, said Ivars Belte, Chairman of the Management Board at LTV.
“With a great sense of honour and responsibility, we are preparing to host singers from all across Europe in Riga, establishing a new tradition – the Eurovision Choir of the Year. It is a great pleasure for us that Latvia will become the first country to participate in this promising event, and an even greater pleasure that the organisers are the Latvian Television in collaboration with Riga municipality.”
Eurovision Choir of The Year will take place within the leading international competition European Choir Games, operated by German promoter Interkultur and organised in collaboration with LIVE RIGA. 150 choirs are expected in Riga to participate in the event.
Günter Titsch. president of Interkultur is excited by the co-operation: “We have seen a huge rise in popularity in choral singing over recent years and we’re delighted to partner with this new TV format which will bring the joy of singing together to a wide audience.
"As Interkultur’s motto goes, ‘Singing together brings nations together’.”
The EBU and Interkultur hope to continue the partnership within a future edition of the European Choir Games and World Choir Games, creating a new annual format.
Riga was also the host city for the World Choir Games in 2014 and LTV made a number of highly successful productions during that competition. Eurovision Choir of the Year is part of the Grand Prix of Nations Riga 2017 event and the 3rd European Choir Games which will be held in Riga from 16-23 July.