Thursday, July 17, 2014

Riga - Day 3. TCC Competes & Friendship Concert

After another glorious breakfast for TCC's big day, we walked to our shuttle in Riga to head to our sound check for the Children's Choir Competition at the Culture Palace (Ziemelblazma). Appropriately named, the Culture Palace is a 100 year old renovated palace on the outskirts of Riga. The grounds were  beautiful and had lots of space for impormptu rehearsals, fun and games AND beautiful greenery.

While TCC got down to business across town, YC women gathered for another very important rehearsal before thier competition the following day.

After sound check and a few more run-thrus, they collected our belongings and headed back to the building for our big performance! It was so great to have the Youth Chorale cheering us on in the performance. The level of professionalism and focus between your TCC Singers is truly amazing.  AYS performed some of the most complicated repertoire of all of the Children's and Youth Choirs AND executed these pieces with refinement and finesse. While the repertoire only consisted of four pieces, it took the Singers and audience to a world beyond.

After the performance, we headed to WCG Lunch facility and grabbed some Latvian grub. We have had a different soup almost every meal along with another favorable Baltic dish. We meet up with Youth Chorale at the end of our meal and collectively headed back to the center of town via the festival shuttle for our Friendship concert.

The first choir in our Friendship concert was from the Czech Republic, followed by a traditional Latvian Choir consisting of college aged singers in traditional Latvian outfits! A senior choir from Latvia went third, and were decked out in Latvian Amber and sang some native and "foreign" pieces in English :).

While these choirs were performing, the YC and TCC gathered for a quick run through of the program, featuring all 4 ensembles. Even during our run through, we attracted MANY visitors, followed with inquiries about where we were from, etc. After a quick video stop for local media, we then headed to the stage.

The crowd was GINORMOUS! What a great welcome from a beautiful and musical city!

 TCC kicked off the music with Stephen Paulus's "Daybreak". Then, the Young Men's Choir led the crowd to another rousing rendition of "Viva L'Amour". The YC women then sang a beautiful performance of "No Time" (as heard by our TCC Families at Explore Four). YC Folk Ensemble then clogged their way through "Shady Grove", as the entire audience clapped along! Finally, we all joined together for a fun, fast round of "Juba".

After leaving the stage, TCC and YC were greeted by countless strangers, thanking us in Latvian, Russian, Chinese and more. What a wonderful moment, quickly followed by celebratory singing and dancing.

With a small break before dinner, we shopped at the special Latvian Arts and Crafts market in the Vermanes Park, where we were performing. Yes, if you are reading this, you may be getting an authentic Latvian souvenir :) There were so many great vendors and quality goods, from local, handcrafting artisans. The market is only gracing Riga for these long hours during the World Choir Games. This country really wants us to have a great time during our stay!

We then headed to the Meal Facility by way of WCG shuttle. After a hearty dinner, we had some time to exchange songs and goodies with other visiting choirs. We especially had fun with the Russian Choir as TCC taught "Juba" and the hand percussion to our new singing chums. It was so nice to sing, dance and play with one of the many other children's choirs before returning to the hotel to turn in for the night.

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