A music project of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius presented world’s choral stars and reached hundreds of thousands in Lithuania

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Lithuania’s best independent choir, reached a record audience with its last year’s Open to the World project. The seven-concert series, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, attracted more than 3,500 concertgoers, while information about the project reached hundreds of thousands in Lithuania and abroad.

During the Open to the World concerts, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius appeared onstage with two of the world’s most popular contemporary composers – Eric Whitacre (US) and Ola Gjeilo (US / Norway); two of Sweden’s best choirs – Svanholm Singers and Sofia Vokalensemble; world-renowned vocal ensemble VOCES8 (UK) and Swiss choir Männerstimmen Basel.

Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas, the artistic director of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, says this was the biggest and most ambitious project in the choir’s history.

“We are proud Lithuanians and big fans of choral music, so we wanted to present the Lithuanian audience with the world’s best, to celebrate our country’s anniversary with them, to perform, learn and improve together. The Lithuanian choral scene is still quite archaic, conservative, and insular. The world’s best choral names rarely appear here. Through this modest contribution, we tried to change this by showing how varied, interesting, and powerful choral music can be – how it’s changing and evolving. Our experiences with our guests have undoubtedly inspired us and given us new ideas for how we could improve and change. I believe that our country’s audiences and representatives of the choral music scene also experienced something new,” said Dr. Kaveckas.

Audrius Valatkevičius, the choir’s producer, says that the project was not only the biggest, but also the most expensive in the choir’s history.

“Our Open to the World project budget totalled almost EUR 132,000. More than half of this we raised from our biggest sponsors: the international real estate consultancy Newsec, the construction company Mitnija, the insurance company Seesam, the Lithuanian Council for Culture, and Vilnius City Municipality. We also received some invaluable help from our friends: the advertising agency Ogilvy, the news website Delfi, and Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT). Their help in advertising and publicizing our project was of the greatest importance. Without our sponsors, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. We’re very happy that we’ve been able to create value for our sponsors and meet their expectations,” said Audrius Valatkevičius.

Open to the World: major expenses

Performance fees: Lithuanian and international artists: 61,200Eur
Organizational costs: Guest accommodation, food, and transportation: 28,100Eur
Video, audio, lights, technical staff: 20,900Eur
Organizational costs: venues, royalties, LATGA copyrights, ticket distribution: 14,350Eur
Advertising costs, sheet music, smaller organizational expenses: 7,200Eur
TOTAL: 131,750Eur

Open to the World: marketing and communications results

Audience (7 concerts at Philharmonic and St. Catherine Church): 3,516 individuals.
Facebook posts (01/03/2018 – 22/12/2018): ~ 989 000 reach ( ~ 12% engagement).
Facebook videos (01/03/2018 – 22/12/2018): ~ 185,000 views.
Media articles, interviews: ~ 27 articles.
Video advertisements on LRT TV: 150 ads.
Banners on DELFI’s website: 9,000,000 impressions.
Posts on guests’ social media: ~ 160 posts.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius will ensure continuation and further advancement of the project. During 2018, nine audio and video recordings from the concerts were published on the choir’s official YouTube channel, as well as Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, and other channels. At least 7 more will be published this year. The choir’s YouTube channel receives an average of 50,000 monthly views, mostly from the US, Germany, France, and other Western countries. The choir’s music at streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music, attracts an average of 1,400 listeners per month.

The choir’s producer jokes that the choir’s activities also promote tourism to Lithuania. The choir’s Open to the World concerts attracted 32 concertgoers from other countries, including Latvia, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the US.

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