At the end of September 2016, EVTA's Board and Council met in Celje in beautiful Slovenia, followed by the very first JEVOP (Jewels of European Voice Pedagogy) event and Gala concert of Slovenian Song. President elect Dr. Susan Yarnall-Monks wrote a report.
Friday september 23
We had 15 countries represented and also some observers from Montenegro at our Council meeting where we heard about the possible grant application to Creative Europe Network.
Our 'Meet and Greet' supper was arranged in a beautiful venue in the castle above Celje and after a delicious meal we sang some of our national folk songs with great gusto.
Saturday september 24
On Saturday we had JEVOP in the Music School in Celje beginning with Teja Saksida helping us through the evening programme of Slovenian art songs with some useful information on the composers and poets and translations. It was great to have her PowerPoint at the concert as well, but more of that later.
Then Martina Prevejšek gave us a whistle stop tour of the rules of pronunciation of the Slovene language and we sang through some Slovenian songs.
After a coffee break Naja Zapušek and friends sang us a variety of Slovenian folk songs with very helpful musical analysis and it was lovely to hear the variety of vocal timbres used. We then had an amazing demonstration of contemporary choral song with the local Gymnasium choir of fifty young singers led by Tomaž Marčič. Their programme was uplifting and full of variety and they received a well deserved standing ovation.
We had an interesting demonstration of The Functional Breathing Technique with Snežana Nena Brzakovič and some audience involvement and then a much needed lunch break.
We heard about a new Slovenian Musical based on a local love story called Veronika Deseniška in the Andrew Lloyd Webber style and it was fascinating to hear how the production by Tilen Naraks was staged in the open air at the Celje Castle to huge audiences.
Jazz music styles were very professionally demonstrated by Ivo Špacapan and Marijan Mlaker which was illuminating and we finished the day with a wonderful demonstration with an all girl Polka band who knew how to entertain with energy and musicality of the highest standard.
The Gala concert in the evening began with a speech explaining the history of Slovenian education in the past two hundred years but the evening really began when the music started as the young singers sang with great style the beautiful Slovenian art songs. Such a great testament to the quality of singing teaching in Slovenian and the audience were entranced and very thankful for all the work our Slovenian friends had contributed to make our first JEVOP such a success.
Dr. Susan Yarnall-Monks