Backstage butterflies as ChoirFest Middle East prepares to launch in UAE
22 Nov 2022
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Backstage butterflies, side stage excitement, and unforgettable memories are only a few of the emotions for those lucky singers taking part in ChoirFest Middle East 2023 (ChoirFestME). This year the region’s premier choral festival has joined forces with the UAE Ministry of Education to extend its youth competition across all seven emirates, bringing the joy of singing to thousands of students across the country.
Seasoned attendees and participants of ChoirFestME can expect some thrilling changes this year. The UAE-based festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary by welcoming public schools from across the host nation for the first time. Not only that, but the winners of the UAE Youth Choir of the Year will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Gangneung, South Korea sponsored by the Ministry of Education, to compete in the World Choir Games 2023.
Founded in 2013 by The Fridge Founder and Director Shelley Frost, and renowned composer, Joanna Marsh, ChoirFestME is an oasis for choir communities in the Middle East and beyond, giving adult and youth choirs the platform to showcase their talents.Building on this tradition, the 10th anniversary edition will introduce the participation of international adult choirs for the first time, positioning the event and the wider UAE as a hub for the global choral community.
Shelley Frost, Founder and Director of The Fridge, commented: “ChoirFestME reflects the warmth, generosity and values of tolerance that define the UAE. This is more than a choral festival; it is a unique event that uses the power of music to celebrate the cultural diversity of its host nation and the wider Middle East.
Our mission is to provide passionate musicians and aspiring vocalists of all ages with a platform to showcase their talents, promoting positive cultural exchange between all sectors of society. We are immensely grateful to our partners at the UAE Ministry of Education and the cultural local authorities for facilitating the country-wide expansion of our youth competition, allowing us to reach a larger and more diverse audience than ever before.”
As part of ChoirFest’s aim to promote unity and tolerance, each year ChoirFestME sponsors choirs from war torn or disadvantaged nations, bringing them to the UAE and helping them realise their dreams of having their voices heard by their peers and industry experts. Previous years have seen choirs from Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan join the line-up, thanks to the support of our generous sponsors.
ChoirFestME 2023 will welcome its thousands of participants in February, with a broad range of activities including workshops led by experienced vocal trainers, regional concerts, inter-emirate competitions and memorable performances by visiting choral groups. Participants of all ages will have countless opportunities to explore different choral repertoires, sharpen their ensemble singing and, above all, have fun!
Thanks to ChoirFestME 2023’s expanded scope, the upcoming Emirate Youth Choir of the Year competition will see junior, middle, and senior choirs compete in heats across all seven emirates. The winners of each competition will represent their emirate at the National UAE Choir of the Year finals, which will be held in Sharjah in May. For the adult choirs, their competition will centre around a Gala Concert for Choir of the Year in the spectacular Dubai Opera.
As the largest choral festival in the Middle East, ChoirFestME has provided a platform to share the jitters and joys of performing for more than 20,000 choral singers from 500 school choirs, over 90 adult ensembles, and 45 visiting choirs over the past decade.
All choirs interested in participating at ChoirFestME 2023 are invited to register their application online now at