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Interreligious choir competition in Graz, Austria

Location: Germany
Idea is a winner

A meeting of the Interreligious Advisory Board in the city of Graz on January 9 went informative and successful. Mayor Nagl personally welcomed all participants, amongst them INTERKULTUR representatives. He presented the ideas and events of INTERKULTUR, initiator of the World Choir Games, and praised the productive and good collaboration of recent years. On the initiative of former mayor Alfred Stingl and after the successful 2011 event (World Choir Championships for Youth and Young Adults) one decided to connect a choir festival to the proposed interreligious conference in Graz.

Participants from INTERKULTUR, amongst others President Günter Titsch, presented the concept for a new competition. “There has never been before a competition connected to an interreligious event. This is going to be something completely new in the city of Graz”, the panel agrees. A date in 2013 is being discussed; an exact date for the interreligious event is expected to be found in this spring. In 2013 it’s also the 20th anniversary of signing the “Global Ethic Declaration” (September 3, 1993 in Chicago USA) that phrases ethic principles drawing on ethic traditions of all great religions and cultures.

“A choir festival is an appropriate form to spread the message of inter-religiousness,” said provost Mag. Leibnitz and mentions a very important approach of INTERKULTUR. The organizer of international choir competitions puts special attention on different peoples’ togetherness beyond all borders of descent or religion. “It would be nice if all world religions can show in Graz that they’re actively working on the elimination of conflicts and that they’re talking to each others”, said Nagl and emphasized Graz as a perfect background for a joint, peacemaking message. In 2008 the city was the place of a “Peace Mass” for peace in the world, composed by the German choral legend Gotthilf Fischer and performed by 1000 voices.

INTERKULTUR looks back on long experiences in both choral musical and interreligious fields. It’s clearly shown by competitions and festivals in Rome and Malta, where an ecumenical celebration is held parallel to the event. INTERKULTUR is able to bring the world closer together. The next World Choir Games in Cincinnati set a good example, for which more than 300 choirs already registered. Many of them are coming from the Asia-Pacific region. It’s an indication that politics and religions are no barriers for music.