Young singers from around the world descend upon the Bay Area this week for the 20th Golden Gate International Children's and Youth Choral Festival, which kicks off today in Berkeley.
The festival, which takes place every three years, opens with a free concert at 3 p.m. today at the First Presbyterian Church at 2407 Dana St. It wraps up Saturday with a 7 p.m. grand finale at Zellerbach Hall. In between times, the young songbirds will perform free concerts throughout the Bay Area, including at Jack London Square and the Napa Valley Opera House.
The festival has continued to grow through the efforts of festival founder and director Robert Geary, who said the event not only produces spectacular music, but helps participants from divergent cultures "connect as real people to real people." This year, 670 children in 20 choirs, including the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, will participate -- the largest group in the event's history.
"For some of them it's a regular thing, and for others it's a great opportunity," event spokesman Scott Horton said.
Twelve countries will be represented at the event, including the Republic of Georgia, Canada, China, the Philippines, Honduras, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Indonesia, Lithuania, Australia and the U.S.