Written by Jinyoung Ha (Essayist)
Photos provided by the Organizing Committee of the 2023 Gangneung World Choir Games

Period: July 3, 2023 – July 13, 2023 (11 days)
Venue: Locations of Gangneung-si, Outdoor Stage of DMZ Museum in Goseong-gun 
Content: Opening and closing ceremonies, competition, concerts, celebratory parades, International conferences, music fairs, workshops, seminars, and so forth. 

The World Choir Games, which began in 2000 in Linz, Austria, is the largest choir event in the world and is presented by the German Interkultur Foundation. It is conducted every two years and 20,000 individuals from 60 to 90 nations participate every time. In April 2020, the 12th World Choir Games was confirmed to take place in Gangneung City. Due to the coronavirus, the event was initially slated to take place this year, but was postponed by one year. Consequently, it will take place in Gangneung City and in the DMZ Museum in Gangneung-do from July 3 to July 13 of the following year.

A lovely harmony to pray for world peace and prosperity will echo in Gangneung for 11 days next year, from July 3 to 13. It will be the  2023 World Choir Games in Gangneung.  Although it may be less familiar, it is a well-known international choral competition in the global culture community. When only choir members and officials are counted, excluding regular visitors, an average of around 20,000 persons from 70 different nations have attended. It is comparable to any other Olympics.

Next year’s competition holds the significance to dispel the coronavirus-induced shadows that have fallen over the global village. Therefore, the event’s theme is healing and harmony, as well as peace and prosperity for everyone. Beyond Gangneung, a city of culture and art, we intend to launch a new brand named “Gangneung, the hub of world peace” with this initiative. Moreover, if this Choir Games is successfully performed using the legacy of the Winter Olympics, it is anticipated that the MICE sector, one of Gangneung City’s future industries, will be activated as well, and a high-performance engine for regional growth will be developed.

Selected as the final host city in April 2020

Gangwon-do has proposed hosting the World Choir Games in October 2019. Gangneung was selected as the ultimate host city on April 16, 2020, after a tough competition from 36 cities, including Dubai and the European Union. In April of last year, Yong-soo Heo, CEO of GS Energy, was selected as the director of organizing committee and the secretariat was established.

Harmony that resolves national, racial, and socioeconomic conflicts

The next year’s competition will take place at the Gangneung Arena and other Winter Olympic venues, the Gangneung Stadium, and the Gangneung Art Center. On the outdoor stage of the Goseong DMZ Museum, a performance to pray for peace will take place. The Haeram Cultural Center of Gangneung-Wonju University, the Gangneung Danoje Training Center, the Gangneung Central Methodist Church, and the Gangneung Presbyterian Church will also host activities to establish the contest among local residents.

The competition is divided into two sections: competitive and non-competitive. Only choirs having a history of competing in international competitions are eligible to compete in the competitive division, whereas any chorus, regardless of their experience in international contests, is eligible to compete in the non-competitive division.

The economic repercussions are significant as well. According to a professional service agency analysis, the production enticement impact is anticipated to be over 130 billion won, the value-added effect to be around 60 billion won, and the employment inducement effect to be around 4,500 persons.

What is more crucial than the economic impact is that the harmony of global unity which crosses national, ethnic, and class boundaries will unfold in Gangneung. Let us wait for the heavenly melodies that dissolve disputes and clashes intensifying throughout the world in the twenty-first century.

What are the main events?

From the gala concert of celebration, friendship, and champion to city parades, workshops, and music fairs

DivisionEvent Details
Official EventsOpening Ceremony (Based on the basic motif of the Olympics) , Closing Ceremony , Award Ceremony
Celebratory Events Celebratory Concert, Friendship Concert, Champion Concert, Gala Concert , World Choir Games Parade
Additional Events Various Workshops, Seminars , Music Fairs