The cavalcade of singing groups, altogether around 8,000 participants from 73 countries taking part in the 8th World Choir Games began Tuesday at 17:00 hours in Old Town’s Dom Square and continued through Riga's cobblestone streets to the Freedom Monument, where conductors, organizers and guests of honor greeted the participants from a ceremonial tribune built for the occasion.
The parade is a showpiece event of the Games, with visiting choirs from five continents, many dressed in their national costumes, streaming past the locally gathered spectators, all smiles beaming, flags waving. Given the diversity of multi-national choirs here this year, Riga 2014 foundation director Diana Civle urged everyone to watch the parade, which promises to be one of the biennial event's most tuneful and colorful culminations.
Tuesday's World Choir Games parade of choirs was also simulcast by LSM and LTV.
A mixed choir from Nigeria told LTV it was a cool day for them in Riga, as they're used to the +34⁰ Celsius temperatures they have at home right now.
One choir from Germany was especially cheerful. Both from their country having won the World Cup in football as well as having just taken part in the 'Choir Olympics'.
"We'll make do with our World Cup championship. We'll let somebody else get the gold medals here," laughed one choir singer from Germany.
The Gay and Lesbian Choir of Sydney were near the head of the parade as the choir that had traveled the farthest to the Games, all the way from Australia.
"We sing songs of marriage, love, gay and lesbian equality, as well as songs by gay composers," choir members told LTV's crew.
Almost 2,000 participants to the World Choir Games came from China, by far the largest number from any country. But choirs from America, Russia and Indonesia were also broadly in force. Many of the choirs perform in their national costumes with traditional instruments, which they happily demonstrated in the parade Tuesday.
Choir competitions and concerts continue at venues throughout Riga until Saturday.