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History of events for children's choirs and EC junior festivals

In 1982 Christian Wagner himself offered for the first time an atelier for children's choirs during the festival EUROPA CANTAT VIII in Namur, Belgium. There were, however, only two participating choirs and some individual children, but it was a beginning.

In 1986 a conductor's workshop with 4 invited children's choirs was offered for children's choir conductors in Carprentras, France, and a group of around 30 conductors accepted the offer.

In 1990 the children's choir commission started preparing the first Christmas song collection for equal voice choirs which was finally finished and presented at the World Symposium for Choral Music in Rotterdam in July 1999.

At the festival EUROPA CANTAT X in Vitoria in 1991 "Europa Cantat junior" meeting was organized in another town 40 km away, with concerts integrated into the "big" festival. 9 children's choirs from France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia and Venezuela participated in this atelier.

In 1996 Europa Cantat began to offer activities for children's choirs more regularly. 
EUROPA CANTAT junior 1 in Kaposvár, Hungary was the first festival only offering ateliers specifically for children's choirs. There were around 1.000 participants of which 50% were Hungarians.

After the success of this special children's choir festival, the Board of Europa Cantat decided to organize a "EUROPA CANTAT junior" on a regular basis, always one year before the "big" EUROPA CANTAT festival. In addition there should be at least one or two workshops for children's or girls' choirs at each of the festivals.

In 1998 the first International Singing Week for children's choirs was organized in Sant Cugat, Catalunya, Spain, and attended by around 250 children and girls from different countries.

In 1999 EUROPA CANTAT junior 2 was organized in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, with around 600 children, mostly from Eastern European countries. Although there were very few participants from Western Europe, the festival was a great success.

In the same year Europa Cantat cooperated with the International Federation for Choral Music IFCM and the Bavarian Music Academy in Marktoberdorf, Germany, for an intensive conference on children's choir matters. The participants of this conference were delighted and were hoping that further conferences of the same kind would follow soon.

In 2000 there was a "Songbridge" atelier for children's and girls' choirs in the frame of the festival EUROPA CANTAT XIV in Nevers, France, concluding with one of the most memorable concerts of the festival.

In 2002 EUROPA CANTAT junior 3 was organized in Namur, Belgium - it was planned for around 800 participants, but interest was overwhelming and finally 1.000 were accepted, though another 200 or 300 still had to be refused because there were not enough beds available. The festival was wonderful and a real success - it resulted in the Board of Europa Cantat confirming that more attention must be given in future to activities for children's choirs and to special courses for their conductors.

In 2004 an Icelandic choir which had attended EUROPA CANTAT junior in Namur decided to organise a singing week for children's choirs in Iceland - the first Europa Cantat event in Iceland ever.

In 2005 Europa Cantat junior 4 was organised in Vic, Catalunya, Spain. Vic being a rather small town, the festival was planned for a maximum of 500 participants in 5 workshops and all of the workshops were very successful.

In 2008 Europa Cantat junior 5 was organised in Nevers, France, a city interested since they also hosted the EUROPA CANTAT festival in 2000.

Also in 2008 the European Choral Association - Europa Cantat organised the first "Youth Choirs in Movement" festival in Bonn, which was repeated in 2010 and 2013.

In 2011 Europa Cantat junior 6 was organised in Pärnu, Estonia

In 2014 Europa Cantat junior 7 was organised in Bergen, Norway

In 2017 Europa Cantat junior 8 was organised in Lyon, France

In 2020 Europa Cantat junior 9 will go to Vilnius, Lithuania

Photo: Urmas Luik