Ageless music performed by talented youth at Evergreen Fest – 2019

A few days ago in Sofia the first edition of Evergreen Fest was held. The idea of ​​organizing this festival of "evergreen" pop and jazz music belongs to Rumyana Kotseva – a pop singer and vocal pedagogue. Her followers and partners in the organization are the Music Viva Foundation and the team of the "Dr. Petar Beron" community center – co-organizer of the event that also provided the main part of the budget. The Evergreen Fest has also received moral and financial support from Yuji Miyata and his Peace Week Organization. The famous Japanese, who has dedicated his life to noble causes, has visited Bulgaria many times. “He is a friend of mine and also an old friend of my class in pop and jazz singing," Rumyana Kotzeva says. “We have organized concerts for several years on September 21 – World Peace Day. He gladly supported my idea for concerts with Bulgarian evergreens from the recent past. That is why he has helped us for this festival.”

“The Evergreen Fest is a continuation of a series of concerts that I organized in the period 2012 - 2016,”  Ms. Kotseva says.“ At these concerts my students presented Bulgarian songs, created in the period starting from the 1960sto the beginning of the new century. At the festival that has just ended jazz standards and evergreens in English were performed. The participants arrived from all over Bulgaria. All these songs have beautiful melodies and lyrics, sending real messages and depicting wonderful stories and experiences. I know that in the working process, children will come across some hidden obstacles and will understand that they are not as easy to perform as they might seem. By the way, the same thing happened with the Bulgarian songs. This music requires skills and finesse and was created by great masters and performed by great masters. It is good for everyone to learn from the best. Then children could return to ‘modern’ music and apply what they learned as both performers and authors of new songs.

In the first edition of the festival the participants (aged 7 to 35) were divided into six groups - five age groups and one group for duets, trios, etc. The jury consisted of prominent professionals – jazz singers Kamelia Todorova, Vasil Petrov and journalist Svetoslav Nikolov. They had to choose the best from each group but we also had some special awards – the Music Viva Prize, the "Petar Beron" National Cultural Center and others. Everyone was amazed by the big number of talented young singers at this festival. Let me point out that it was not conceived as a contest. We were surprised that many children already have such songs in their repertoire. We had representatives from vocal schools, as well as from English language schools. The children from the school in Sevlievo with vocal pedagogue Tsenka Goralova, those from the Art Voice Center in Plovdiv with vocal pedagogue Rumiana Ivanova, those from the vocal school of Rositsa Yordanova in Sofia, as well as the children from Blagoevgrad and others made lasting impression.”

After the final concert participants and audience were unanimous – the wonderful idea had received its proper realization. We really attended a wonderful holiday with evergreen music performed by talented Bulgarian children and young people.

“I guess next year interest will be even bigger," Rumyana Kotzeva said. “I think I will change some things in the regulation to separate the competition and the festival program. Many of the children have a strong competitive spirit and they certainly want to receive a reward. I  would also like to include a category for Bulgarian evergreens. What we did with my pupils was valuable and I think it would be valuable to all the singing children in this country."

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: courtesy of Evergreen Fest