Ki Adams, IFCM Vice-President
For the second time, The Singing Network is partnering with IFCM to present EXchange! as part of the World Choral EXPO (WCE) in Lisbon, Portugal, 3-7 September 2022. Building on the success of this collaboration at the 2019 WCE, the EXchange! program has been expanded to three days with 50+ presentation sessions. All WCE participants are invited to join this intimate gathering of international scholars, performers, conductors, pedagogues, and composers to exchange, connect, create, share and explore.
The main venue for the 2022 WCE will be Centro Cultural Belém, Lisbon’s core facility for cultural and leisure activities located in the western parish of Belém. Participants will be able to move easily between EXchange! sessions and WCE workshops, conducting masterciasses, and choral performances. See the WCE website for more information on the ten invited choirs and vocal ensembles: Aarhus Girls’ Choir, conductor Birgitte Næslund Madsen (Denmark); Cantemus Youth Choir, conductor Denis Ceausov (Moldova); Collective Singers, conductor Ponti Dikuua (Namibia); Incantare Coro Femenino, conductor Natalia Vadillo (Argentina); Kammerchor Stuttgart, conductor Frieder Bernius (Germany); Maze, conductor Merel Martens (Netherlands); Mosaica Singers, conductor Nedy Muna (Jordan); Ordinarius Vocal Group (Brazil); Portland State Chamber Choir, conductor Ethan Sperry (USA); Shallaway Youth Choir, conductor Kellie Walsh (Canada).
Proposals were invited for presentations which focus on foundations of choral music and diverse aspects of collective singing. Suggested focus areas included singing and song, moving, storytelling, conducting, dramatizing, mediating, teaching and learning, composing, socializing, imagining, communicating, expressing… and beyond! Over 70 proposals were submitted and evaluated by an international selection committee. The EXchange! program committee has accepted 55 presentations, including seven presentations by doctoral students. Ten countries are represented: Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA.
The 2022 EXchange! program includes presentations exploring a wide range of topics ranging from group singing with diverse communities, benefits of singing, ageing voice challenges and potentials, vocal/choral techniques and technologies, new repertoire and inventive programming, community building through singing together, composing and improvising strategies, and more. Here is a sampling of presentation titles to pique your interest and whet your appetite for attending the 2022 WCE.
- Changing our tune: Exploring collaborative songwriting with choirs to support participant wellbeing
- Radical creativity: Improvisation for choirs
- Jewels of microtonal singing (Turkish choral traditions)
- The use of trauma-informed community music practice in enabling narrative through songwriting
- Singing our stories: Building community and developing self-empowerment through group singing
- Circles: Exploring the feeling of togetherness through voice, movement, and collective intelligence
- Sing Me In: Using collective singing as a tool for the inclusion of (young) migrants
- ‘I am because you are’: A critical reflection on composing choral music to promote social inclusion for asylum seekers in Ireland
- Developing deeper understandings about reciprocal collaboration amongst Indigenous communities, their music, and settlers
- “About Gong, Ai, Na”: Influences of gamelan and kulintang in Southeast Asian choral works
- Keep your voice young through singing
- Fascia is the future: The implications of fascia science on breathing and movement for singers and conductors
- Introducing American jazz to your choral ensembles
- Promoting a perfect partnership: Choral directors and voice teachers
- The write stuff: Incorporating composition and improvisation into the choral rehearsal
The conditions of participation in the WCE (including the EXchange!) are very attractive. The participation fee for individuals of 150 euros provides full access to the entire WCE 2022 program. All travel, accommodation, and meal expenses during the WCE are the responsibility of the individual participant. Additionally, there is a special offer for students (100 euros per person) and a 50% discount for individuals and students from Portugal. For more information regarding the conditions of participation and the registration forms for individual participants, as well as choirs and vocal ensembles, visit www.worldchoralexpo.org/.
To coincide with IFCM’s 40th anniversary, the 2022 WCE will include a special exhibition dedicated to IFCM’s 40-year history in the Palacete of dos Condes de Monte Real. Choirs, vocal ensembles, and individuals are invited to join the international choral community in this extraordinary palace to celebrate the joy, and privilege, of singing together again!
Shout-outs about EXchange!
If you are still looking for reasons to attend the 2022 WCE, listen to some of the voices of participants at the 2019 WCE.
The most valuable thing I took from the EXchange! was:
- the wide range of presentations.
- the strength of the presenters and the chance for meaningful discussions with the presenters.
- a more global perspective on singing practices.
The aspect(s) I liked best about the EXchange! was/were:
- unique combination of research and practice-based sessions within a performance-based event.
- the sense of being connected to a global community of scholars/performers who are utterly committed to their craft.
- the intimacy of the gathering as it was easy to talk with presenters/colleagues and have meaningful conversations.
The strength of the EXchange! was:
- the diversity of the sessions presented, the high level of the presentations themselves, and the willingness of everyone present to share so generously.
- the intimacy and collegiality.
- the networking opportunity with world class conductors and key figures in the choral world.
I was attracted to the EXchange! because:
- of the very simple concept of exchange. It is through this kind of honest forum that we gather more understanding.
- while there are lots of big conferences, there isn’t always the opportunity to really share ideas and connect with others as there was at the EXchange!
- I have a sustainable message to share and IFCM is the organization I want to collaborate with.
The value of the EXchange! partnership within the World Choral EXPO was that:
- it brought new participants (researchers, educators, graduate students) to a performance-based event.
- the global choral community is enhanced by the sharing of ideas between different choral cultures.
- a planned opportunity for exchanging is incredible and the WCE is an appropriate event for such an exchange.
The value of the WCE-EXchange! partnership to me individually was:
- the exposure to creative and innovative research, ideas, and practices related to singing and song.
- the opportunity to build our music interconnectedness as choral directors and teachers.
- a great opportunity to meet and network with colleagues in the choral world
Finally, as the WCE venue, Centro Cultural Belém, is situated near the waterfront within steps from Jerónimos Monastery, Tower of Belém, and the Monument to the Discoveries, participants will have easy access to some of Lisbon’s iconic sights, vistas, and even culinary specialities (just across the street). You can enjoy Belém pastries at Pastéis de Belém every single day!
Don’t miss this extraordinary possibility to interact with like-minded choral musicians, scholars, and educators from around the world and to experience some of the finest choral singing on the planet. Vemo-nos em Lisboa!
Edited by Katie Maxfield, Canada