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The Aarhus Vocal Festival (AAVF) hosts two vocal competitions: one for choral groups and one for vocal groups. What makes AAVF different from other competitions is that there is no limit on group size or instrumentation. Yes, instruments are allowed!
This year's choral competition, which runs from June 2-5 in Aarhus, Denmark, is incredibly eclectic and diverse, ensuring it'll be one of AAVF's best yet. It's honestly way too difficult to choose a front-runner.
At AAVF, vocal groups and choirs will again have the opportunity to participate in front of an international jury, who will decide which choir will get the cash prizes as well as the opportunity to perform for the whole festival audience on the last night of the festival.
First Prize: DKK 20,000 (~ $3,000 US)
Second Prize: DKK 10,000 (~ $1,500 US)
Third Prize: DKK 5,000 (~ $750 US)
Groups will also be given the task of arranging a chosen song decided by the festival. The specific song needs to be arranged and performed as part of each group's 15-minute set.
The 2017 Choral Competitors are:
The Dutch Organic Choir
The Dutch Organic Choir (DOC) is a group of 12 singers who make "style-free a cappella music," blending original compositions and improvisation. They work with rotating leadership, original repertoire, and improvisation. The concepts of the Organic Choir were originally developed by Peder Karlsson, who also founded DOC in 2014 together with Merel Martens. In 2016, DOC notably featured on the TIN Festival for improvised vocal music in Düsseldorf and the Dutch A Cappella Festival DBGA, where they won the Audience Prize.
Some of our songs are original compositions with set arrangements, though always with a link to improvisation. Other pieces are completely improvised in the moment, based on more theatrical forms like those of Rhiannon. And between these two extremes, there is a wealth of music that we've only just began to explore.
When Syng Selected takes the stage, you'll hear 30 of the best young choir singers from all over Denmark. Since thisnational elite choir was founded in 2014, it has already been recognised as one of the most talented youth choirs in the country.
Dekoor Close Harmony
Dekoor Close Harmony consists of 30 students from Utrecht. Led by director Christoph Mac-Carty, Dekoor sings either a cappella or accompanied by a jazz combo. In addition to the music, Dekoor pays a lot of attention to its stage performance: Every year a thematic theatrical setting is created by stage director Roeland Müller. Dekoor was named the Triple World champion for jazz and pop (2010, 2012, 2014) at the World Choir Games. Furthermore, the group has repeatedly defended the title of "Best Dutch Vocal Group" and it still well known for winning the TV show "Clash of the Choirs" in 2007 (NL).
Dekoor will forever be known as the choir that performed with the Rolling Stones at Pinkpop festival (NL) and Werchter Classic (BE) in 2014. Furthermore, the choir performed with Damien Rice in the Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam. Last year, Dekoor made its entrance into the professional theatre scene, as the group presented its own production in 15 different theaters throughout the Netherlands.
Musta Lammas, which is Finnish for "black sheep" is a 23-person choir from Helsinki, Finland. Only together since early spring of 2016, all of the group's material is its own. Musta lammas was founded and is led byIda Olsonen, who is currently finishing her master's degree at Sibelius Academy at the University of Arts, Helsinki. She's also a founding member of the vocal quintet Ensemble Norma, who won second prize in the 2013 AAVF Vocal Group Competition.
Fontys Jazz Choir
The Fontys Jazz Choir (FJC) consists of 11 vocalists who are students and alumni from Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts and can be members for a maximum of five years. In January 2010, FJC won the national TV competition "Battle of the Choirs" and proudly carried the title "Best Dutch Choir" for two years. They were also invited as the booth choir in the live TV Musical Awards Gala broadcast. In July 2013, the choir was selected to perform in the Champion's Competition Pop and Jazz during the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia. Fontys won two Golden Medals and a top three classification in both categories. In 2013, FJC reached a top three classification in the top category of theNational Top Festival in De Doelen Rotterdam. They were the winner of the National BALK Top Festival and gold medal winner of the World Choir Games Jazz Competition in Sochi. They have been runner up at AAVF twice.
The Copenhagen-based choir Vokalkompagniet consists of 22 experienced professional singers. The choir has been performing for 20 years in and outside of Denmark. Their repertoire consists of Nordic songs, country and bluegrass, modern pop classics, and swing jazz as well as other genres. They often seek inspiration in new music styles. Vokalkompagniet recently started hiring a new conductor every year. Simone Maja Pedersen has been the conductor of the choir since August 2016. Pedersen has a bachelor's degree in musicology from Copenhagen University and a master's degree in rhythmic singing and choir conducting from the Royal Academy of Music and has a lot of experience within both fields. She is currently conducting both Vokalkompagniet and the Copenhagen-based choir NoteAble.
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