The organization of the Tolosa International Choral Contest has been forced to suspend its edition for this year 2020 and, instead, to continue maintaining the choral spirit in Tolosa, will organize a small choir festival with choirs form the Basque Country ans Spain to be held on October 25 to November 1. As a consequence, they are also forced to suspend the usual concert circuit, hoping that in 2021 the Contest can be resumed as we know it.
Curiously this year the Contest had the participation of the choirs fully advanced, much earlier than in other editions “by the end of February we had closed the category of Chamber Choirs and 5 of the 6 choirs that we planned for the category of Children’s Choirs had already been agreed. In fact, we kept our usual registration schedule until the deadline, which was May 15. We were confirmed by the 5 children’s choirs and 8 chamber choirs, but we have finally decided to suspend it because we could not guarantee the minimum security conditions”says the Director of the contest, Luismi Espinosa.
“Any regrowth would mean closing borders or quarantine, the latter in many cases would be upon arrival, but also upon return. If you add to this that they should already be acquiring flight tickets, without having any guarantee of being able to travel or that the airline will return their money … In addition, there are also organizational reasons, for example, we do not know the accommodation protocols that will be in October, but since the choirs are made up of non-cohabiting people, we could not assume a budget that will force us to accommodate all the choralists in double rooms, and less individual ones. Accommodation costs would turn triple or quadruple” continues Espinosa.
A varied repertoire
After all this, what the organization has made clear, after being aware of the necessary cancellation of the Contest, is that something had to be done to keep Tolosa’s choral spirit alive and from there, the idea of organizing a Festival arised. “We knew that we could not count on more than state choirs because any moderately significant outbreak would be followed by the closing of borders. We were even aware of the possible closure between regions. This has caused us to focus on choirs from the Basque region, except for a small exception, “adds the Deputy Director of the Competition, Xabier Ormazabal.
The idea of the organizing team for this Festival is to design different repertoires from those that are habitual in the Choral Competition. Even presenting reference choirs that have never participated before, either because of their characteristics, or because they are newly created. In short, exhibiting a range of the most representative of Basque vocal music and its enormous quality.
As for the format, the performances will be very varied, with some concerts “a cappella”, others with instrumentation. Small vocal groups, chamber choirs, mixed voices, equal voices, etc …
“Finally, we will have to see what the health and safety conditions will be in October. We, as it can not be otherwise, will abide by the protocols that are set. In our favor is the fact that by then theaters, public and performers, will be used to these protocols. The Theatre Leidor, we assume, will have been open since September and will have established its own disinfection systems. As for the distances, we are working on the basis of what we currently know ”