Greek musicians touched by children's choir at Beijing 2022 opening ceremony

2022 Beijing Olympic anthem Greek

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games have been held for seven days now and are still ongoing. Musicians here in Greece still cannot forget the Olympic Anthem sung in Greek by a choir of Chinese schoolchildren, enthralled by their clear and heavenly voices.

The image of 44 Chinese children singing the anthem was particularly moving and also a great honour for Greece, said Evangelos Kokkoris, artistic director of the Philippos Nakas Conservatory, one of the best-known conservatories in Greece.

"Undoubtedly the host country had taken care of even the smallest detail. It was expected, after all. However, what surprised me was the performance of the Olympic Anthem. What was impressive was that a choir of young Chinese, with great stability in their voices, sang it in Greek and with clarity of speech," Kokkoris told Xinhua in Athens on Wednesday.

Kokkoris, a fan of winter sports, watched the opening ceremony held at the iconic "Bird's Nest" stadium in Beijing, China on Feb. 4 on TV, which included the singing of the Olympic Anthem by children from Malan Primary School in Fuping County, China's Hebei Province.

"The performance of the Olympic Anthem by the young Chinese was amazing. Many congratulations to China for the achievement of these children to learn this anthem within three months. It was not easy at all," he said.

Based on his experiences with Chinese artists and students at the conservatory in recent years, Kokkoris was not surprised with the result.

He said he admires the determination and persistence of the Chinese people and as a Greek, he feels a special connection with the representatives of another ancient civilization.

Foteini Baxevani studies piano at the Philippos Nakas Conservatory. She watched the choir's performance on the Internet. "It was a very nice gesture and it definitely moves people. They sang it very clearly, so beautifully," she said.

She was particularly touched when hearing that these children live in a mountainous, disadvantaged region and managed to perform so well once given the opportunity to show their capabilities through music.

"It is really very moving, because as we learned these children are not members of a (seasoned) choir, but they were united through their voices and through the Greek language, through these words that hide power, that hide emotion, that actually give this meaning, the meaning and the idea of the team," Aggeliki Toubanaki, a vocalist and vocal educator at the conservatory, told Xinhua.

"They really were like angels. They were like stars. It was as if all these voices were joined together and the heavens opened," she said.

For Toubanaki, the performance of the Chinese children's choir highlighted what she tells parents, that children should be encouraged to embrace music and sports, in order to build a strong axis in their personalities regarding discipline, organization of thought and evolution of their imagination.

The three Greek artists sent their best wishes to Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games.