July 24, 2012
Both female vocal ensemble Latvian Voices and mixed choir Sõla, the only representatives from Latvia, were successful at the 2012 World Choir Games held in July in Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States.
Latvian Voices, led by Laura Jēkabsone, received a gold medal (awarded to all participants who score 80 or more points out of a maximum 100 points), as well as the Championship (highest point score overall) in the female chamber choir category, with a point score of 91.25.
Sõla, the Latvian Academy of Culture choir, led by artistic director Kaspars Ādamsons and conductor Kaspars Vēvers, won gold medals in all three categories they competed in – Mixed Choir, Folklore, as well as Musica Sacra (where the choir scored their personal highest point score – 93.88 out of 100 points).
Organized by the German-based INTERKULTUR, the World Choir Games is a bi-yearly event that, in 2012, featured 23 separate categories for competition, with more than 10,000 participants from more than 60 countries.
The next World Choir Games will take place in 2014 in Rīga, and the event will take place as part of Rīga’s tenure as cultural capital of Europe, which is being organized by Foundation Rīga 2014. As part of the closing ceremonies of the Games in Cincinnati, Rīga received the World Choir Games flag.
For further details go to either the Latvian Voices website – www.latvianvoices.lv, the Sõla website – www.sola.lv,
the World Choir Games website - 2012worldchoirgames.com,
INTERKULTUR or Foundation Rīga 2014.
Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.
Latvian flag-bearer at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati. Photo courtesy of Rīga 2014 Foundation.