Text: Magdalena Gigova
For the first time on an open-air stage, the ‘Hosanna in the Highest!’ International Children’s Choral Festival took place, organised by the Darbi Foundation, the Parish Council of the Church of St Martyr Paraskeva and the Holy Metropolitanate of Sofia, with the blessing of His Holiness Neophyte, Patriarch of Bulgaria and Metropolitan of Sofia.
The event was made possible through the partnership and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, Sofia Municipality, the National Palace of Children, the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund, Zorov 91–Dairy Products Parshevitsa, Bachkovo Spring Water, and Si Commercial-7 Ltd.
The new NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ donative website, https://causabg.com, which allows socially significant causes to receive publicity and support through transparent and fair funding, also promotes the festival. The event is already over, but in the name of its sustainable development, anyone who is willing can support the next edition.
The Twelfth International Children’s Choral Festival brought young musical talents together on the Summer Stage in Boris Garden on the day when our Holy Church celebrated one of the greatest Christian holidays, Pentecost—Trinity Sunday, a key event in human history, crowning the salvific work of God’s creation.
This year, too, participants and public alike enjoyed the magnificence and power of sacred music. The programme involved the Bulgarian National Radio Children’s Choir; the Stefka Blagoeva Youth Choir of Plovdiv; the ‘Voices of Orpheus’ Youth Chamber Formation at the ‘Rayko Aleksiev–1947’ National Community Centre; the Choir of the Prof. Konstantin Galabov 91st German Language Secondary School in Sofia; the Vocal Group of the St Ivan Rilski 54th Secondary School in Sofia; St Seraphim of Sofia Choir, Sofia; the ‘Hristianche’ [Christian Child] Choir from the Zachariy Krusha 139th Secondary School in Sofia; and the Choir of the ‘Zvezditsa’ [Little Star] Kindergarten, Kremikovtsi Qtr., Sofia.
The tradition of young choristers of a wide age range and from different towns in Bulgaria intoning Orthodox Church chants and hymns, was observed. This year, for the first time, wonderful performances of beautiful Bulgarian songs outside the canonical genre were also presented.
Emil Dimitrov’s emblematic song, ‘My Country, My Bulgaria’ provoked an unforgettable thrill; along with soloist Emilian Bardarski, it was sung simultaneously by all participants.
After the traditional finale with ‘Many Years’ [Polychronion], performed on the stage in the park by scores of young voices, the event continued: the participants, in procession and chanting, headed towards St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, where they again sang together.
The twelfth edition of the Festival symbolises tradition, sustainability and a love of church music, put on by children and young people who again this year glorified God with their talent.
The event has become a real feast for children, conductors, leaders and the public, while for NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ and its donative website, https://causabg.com, it continues to be a socially significant cause.