Czech Republic hosts World Festival of Singing for Boys and Men

World Festival of Singing for Boys and Men, photo: CTK

The most famous Czech boys' choir Boni Pueri is at the moment rehearsing with no less than seventeen other boys' choirs in the Czech town of Hradec Kralove. The final performance is going to take place in Prague's famous Dvorak Hall this Thursday, the climax of the week-long World Festival of Singing for Boys and Men.

Carol Stewart is the festival's artistic director.

"This is the world´s largest men and boys' choir festival and this is the first time that we have moved it out of the United States. We came to the Czech Republic because of our good friends here the Czech boys' choir - BONI PUERI. I believe that BONI PUERI from the Czech Republic is one of the finest boys' choirs in the world today."

The fifth international choir festival, is building on the festival's traditional aim of inspiring and encouraging boys and men to sing.

"Only seven percent of the children in choirs worldwide are boys. The music needs the boys and the boys need music. So this is primarily to encourage boys to sing and keep singing. Everybody gets on buses. 500 almost 600 people will be coming by bus from Hradec Kralove to Prague's Dvorak Hall tomorrow. We are singing the complete Chichester Psalms of Leonard Bernstein with orchestra, we have world premiere commission that was written especially for the festival by Bob Chilcott, we are singing three of the 'Moravian duets' of Dvorak, in Czech, we are singing Dvorak's 'Going home', then we are singing a folk song which talks about the brotherhood of the singers. The repertoire is chosen to inspire the boys and our purpose is to encourage the boys to sing and be life long singers."

Andre Hewitt has been singing for 14 years and is a member of a Canadian choir:

"The other choirs are wonderful. My choir from Canada has been very interactive with the Czech choir we have established really good relationships there and we have began to do that with other choirs from other countries as well."

What are Andre´s impressions of his first visit in the Czech Republic particularly of Hradec Kralove?

World Festival of Singing for Boys and Men,  photo: CTK
"I love it so much. I love the architecture, I love the culture and I love the music that we have experienced. There is nothing like it in the North America. It is beautiful."

Are the organizers thinking of bringing the festival to the Czech Republic again next year?

"Well, it remains to be seen, once you do it and it is successful you might want to do it again."

Thursday's concert in Dvorak Hall in Prague is titled "For Peace and a Better World" and starts at 8 o'clock. Literally hundreds of singers from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, the USA, the Czech Republic, Australia, Latvia and Canada are going to sing with a full orchestra and some world's top conductors.