International Sacred Music Festival “Silver Bells”

International Sacred Music Festival “Silver Bells”
Photo: silverbells.narod.ru
The International Sacred Music Festival “Silver Bells” is held every winter in the city of Daugavpils, Latvia. The festival focuses on religious music from different countries and is designed for both believers and people who are simply interested in spiritual growth and the beauty of music. The festival takes place at the beginning of the year, symbolizing new hopes.

The first Silver Bells festival was held in 2000 to celebrate the 725th anniversary of Daugavpils. It featured about 20 spiritual choirs from Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The choir competition that took place during the festival was won by a local choir.

The inaugural edition of the International Sacred Music Festival was a success, so the city authorities decided to make it an annual event. Although the festival was originally held every year, it switched to the biennial format in 2011. Luckily, the new format hasn’t made it any less popular.

The International Sacred Music Festival “Silver Bells” attracts dozens of choirs, vocal ensembles and soloists from different countries including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Denmark, and Germany.

The Silver Bells festival is more than just a showcase of spiritual music. Since its inception, it has been hosting an international choir competition open to all participants. The festival has an impressive prize fund most of which is given to the Grand Prix winner. The rest of the money is divided between the first, second and third place winners.

One of the festival’s highlights is the choir procession. The city of Daugavpils is known for its unique Church Hill neighborhood (Baznīckalns) which is home to several houses of worship belonging to different confessions: the Saint Boris and Gleb Cathedral, the Martin Luther Lutheran Cathedral, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, and the House of Prayer of Daugavpils First Old Believers’ Community. Choirs participating in the festival go from one church to another, singing in each of them.

Silver Bells

Photo: silverbells.narod.ru



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