A word about the greatest feast of the nation
Very few Lithuanian people of the midle of the XIX century knew that the incredible new mass singing movement has been burgeoned in Europe.We do not know who was that far-sighted man who made a suggestion to invite choir singers and conductors all together.. It happened on 5 of June, 1843 in Zurich, Switzerland. It was the very first Song Festival in Europe that initiated the biginning the manifestation of mass amateur choir and musical groups. This remarkable tradition was existing all 92 years long up to 1935. Even 166 choir, 12000 singers participated at the last 25thj Song Festival.
The history of German Song Festivals begun in 1845 in Wurzburg and ended when Hitlers fascism came to power. German song Festivals distinguished by monumentality and popularization of ary values. One of the biggest and prolonged Song festivals was in Vienna, 1928. There were approximately 200 000 German singers from different countries of the word.
The first Estonian Song festival was held in 1869 and the first Latvian Song festival in 1873. Thanks to the efforts of the then enlightened people of Lithuanian culture the very first Lithuanian Song Festival was held on 23-25 of August, 1924 in Kaunas, i.e. 55 years later than Estonian Song festival and 81 year later than the first Europe Song festival.
Nation is alive by its traditions. Traditions consist historical memory and national self- awareness. Lithuanian Song festivals became incontrovertible tradition. It exalts mans creative self-expression, vitality of national culture, love to the native land and solidarity. It rallies different generations, prolongs always renewing cultural process and helps to form moral gualities. Song festivals formed the most valuable features during many years such as peculiarity of genre expression, esthetical criterion of artistic programs, the regulation of the whole cultural process and the emotional affinity of participants and spectators. Lithuanian Song festival is national overall nature phenomenon spiritually equal to the ancient Greek Olympic games.
Since 30th of October. 2000 the resolution of Lithuanian Republic government watches the succession of Lithuanian Song festivals traditions. It points how important is to keep this unique phenomenon which makes huge influence to the vitality of our culture and consolidation of entire nation.
The World Lithuanians Song festival 2003 is the first Song festival in XXI century. It is the very first Song festival of Lithuanian festivals history that links mutual theme. This theme outline one word-WE, it came from a verse written by Justinas Marcinkevičius.
WE means all of us who live on this little land patch by Baltic sea with our state history, culture, traditions, customs and self-awareness. We people or our native land seek to reveal Lithuanian culture cherished for hundreds years by means of expressions, original traditions. We present it to local people and foreign guests as a polished jewel of traditional culture, folk art, layers of professional culture, talented artists and creators. Here we are founded, here we live, work and create. We are as we are and we want to introduce ourselves to the world.
The 16th Lithuanian Song festival creators strive to interest by the artistic program people af all age and social groups. They want to show that our culture speech, customs, national songs and people are unique in the context of the world. The greatest striving of the festival creators is that this colourful cultural phenomenon would burgeon from the people creation, enthusiasm and understanding. So we testify ourselves as educated and intelligent nation by the means of dancing, singing, playing showing our creation and life. The Swiss who discovered the Song festival as an occurrence as a form for mass singing and playing music were acting the same way and they were interested other European countries. Lithuania gave a sense to this unique cultural phenomena in 1924 and with a great love and responsibility continues cultural traditions, which were born in Europe more than 150 years ago.
At the Song festival programs participate 28 000 dancers, singers, musicians, folk artists and performers of other genres. Approximately 1000 participants who cherish national art are coming from other countries of the world.
World Lithuanians Song festival 2003 is going to join seven mans artistic programs. Three of them are absolutely new by its ideas and genres. Exactly the main and some smaller programs make the whole artistic complex of the Song festival.