Pint-sized choir for the Philharmonie's big day
(CS) At the Philharmonie – where renowned soloists and orchestras usually take to the stage – a choir of 170 primary school children was this week preparing for their big moment at the 10-year anniversary celebration of the concert house at the end of June.
A special feature of the choir? Its singers were all born the same year the Philharmonie opened, and looking at the kids it was hard to believe that so much time has passed already since the white-columned building in Kirchberg welcomed its first visitors.
There was an air of nervous excitement at the first joint rehearsal of all children, who have been practicising in their respective schools for weeks.
For Maéva (9) and Yasmine (10) from a primary school in Sandweiler it was their first trip to the Philharmonie's big auditorium and they were not the only kids who were left wide-eyed by the venue they would be performing in.
On the rehearsal schedule were six songs, commissioned for the anniversary concert and written in Luxembourgish, French and German by local musicians, explained education programme coordinator Pascal Sticklies.
All of the songs deal with themes of friendship. Maéva's favourite is the “Frëndschaftslidd” (friendship song) because “it is really about something,” she explained, saying it was important to learn about friendship, being a good person and respecting others.
Full of enthusiasm
Choir director Martin Folz was very happy with the children, saying it was not easy to bring together kids from different schools into one choir.
The next big challenge? Rehearsing with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, which will accompany the children on their big day, on June 26 and 27.
“I'm a bit nervous,” said Yasmine, worried that maybe the choir will sing too quickly and mess up the tempo.
It's been a learning process, added Jean-Paul Majerus, one of the school workshop leaders. The children have to learn that there is a conductor who is guiding them, he explained, on top of memorising melodies and lyrics.
Once the orchestra comes in, Folz said, both the children and the musicians will have to get used to one another. After all, it is not every day that the OPL plays with 170 children either.
The project has already paid off
But with much enthusiasm on all sides for the initiative, there is hardly anything that can go wrong.
“The project has already paid off,” said Folz, introducing the young singers to a world of music they might not otherwise have discovered.
The Philharmonie's anniversary weekend kicks off on June 26, with an open day for schools, including the first performance by the choir.
Later in the evening, Luxembourg pianist Cathy Krier will take to the stage, followed by 2Minds1Sound – a duo featuring Luxembourg pianist Francesco Tristano and Brazilian percussionist Raimundo Penaforte.
On Saturday, June 27, the open day continues with a number of performances, once again including the children's choir, but also a mix of string quartets, percussionists, the OPL and many more.
The young audience festival is open to children from 3 to 103, according to the programme. The younger guests will have to leave the Philharmonie to the slightly older fans of the venue in the evening, as the annual End of Season Party takes over from 10pm with musicians from around the world and a variety of genres delivering live performances until the early hours of Sunday.
Once the hangover has worn off on Sunday, two further events await in the evening, in the shape of free concert “Sounds of Space and Time” at 7pm and a night of Luxembourg jazz from 8pm.
The anniversary celebrations extend beyond the last weekend of June, with a gala concert scheduled for July 3.
Désirée Nosbusch will lead through the evening, with the OPL playing under the direction of outgoing chief conductor Emmanuel Krivine and together with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
The children's choir will once again take to the stage to sing for guests including Grand Duke Henri and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
For more information on all events visit philharmonie.lu www.philharmonie.lu/en/