ICFW 2018 began with an impromptu performance in a 1,000 year old castle and culminated in a feast of musical treats in and around one of the UK’s top cultural attractions – the Wales Millennium Centre.

Choir of Choirs – Côr Heol y March (Wales)

Adjudicating Panel

Read more about the adjudicating panel

The inaugural ICFW arrived in style, welcoming choirs from South Africa, Ukraine, the host nation, Wales and its neighbouring country, England. Through a clever mix of competitions, concerts and street performances, ICFW 2018 delighted a variety of different audiences and delivered a feast of musical treats at some of the most iconic locations in Cardiff, Europe’s youngest capital.Keen to show off everything our homeland has to offer, an invite was extended to the International Choirs to attend The Big Welsh Welcome. For those brave enough to face the Welsh rain, the event started in historic Cardiff Castle before moving to Tabernacle Chapel – the location of the first broadcast of the BBC’s long-running religious TV programme Songs of Praise – where local choir, Côr y Gleision welcomed everyone with a rousing selection of Welsh songs and hymns.

After a chance to relax and socialize the preparations started for the Opening Concert, which saw choirs from South Africa, Ukraine and England dazzle a packed audience. Our appetites were well and truly whetted for the forthcoming competition!

On Saturday, eight choirs competed across four categories in front of a sell-out crowd at BBC Hoddinott Hall within the Wales Millennium Centre. In the evening, Côr y Cwm, KZN Midlands Youth Choir, Côr Heol y March, Côr Glanaethwy and Chanteuse Chamber Choir – the five highest scoring choirs across the Festival – went head to head for the prestigious Sir Karl Jenkins Trophy in the Choir of Choirs Competition.

The third and final day allowed choirs to benefit from a masterclass with our world class adjudicators – Paul Mealor, Bernie Sherlock and Maria Gamborg Helbekkmo – before performing one last time at our unique Choral Carousel. This event saw the choirs win over a whole new set of fans, as they performed to the hundreds of tourists underneath the striking bilingual sign of the Wales Millennium Centre, the Senedd, Mermaid Quay and Roald Dahl Plass.

ICFW certainly delivered its pledge to promote artistic excellence, global understanding, friendship and goodwill through choral music and gave everyone a musical experience to remember and treasure forever.

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2018 Festival Winners


KZN Midlands Youth Choir
Category 1: Mixed Choirs
South Africa
Category 3: Open Category
Côr Glanaethwy
Category 4: Young Voices
Côr Heol Y March
Sacred Music Award
Pearls of Odessa
for their performance of владычкце пріими моиитвы (The Lady)
Conductors Prize
Elin Llywelyn-Williams
Côr y Cwm
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