»There was no time for crying, for thinking. We need to react, it is the time for action.« –Vitali Alekseenok
Vitali Alekseenok, conductor from Belarus, does not view music as apolitical entertainment. Since the suppression of the civil protest movement in Belarus in 2020, he and his musician colleagues fight tirelessly for democratic liberty in the country. They speak up against the suppression of the freedom of opinion and the arts. Many of the musicians moved abroad. Those who stay in Belarus are subject to incessant prosecution. This applies to the members of the Belarussian Volny Choir. The choir performs at demonstrations and in spontaneous flash mobs on the streets of Minsk. Their striking masks in red and white, colours of the protest movement, made them a symbol of the revolution. They don't remove their masks even when performing abroad to preserve their anonymity.
2022, the brutal invasion of Ukraine followed. Many musicians from both countries maintain contacts and collaborate regularly. At the Campus project at Beethovenfest 2022, several choirs from Ukraine, Belarus and Germany came together in Bonn for a joint concert to demonstrate solidarity across borders. In the plenary hall Bonn they took a stand and raised their voices for peace and justice.
»In this room many decisions were made. The politicians decided with language. We will not decide so much here, but we will assert a lot in the language of music.« –Vitali Alekseenok
Deutsche Welle has supported the Campus projects at Beethovenfest for many years. This year they accompanied the rehearsals of the singers and instrumentalists under the direction of Alekseenok in their preparations for the concert. The documentary highlights the political situation of the musicians, their seeking strength in their native cultural heritage and music practice and their quest to raise awareness internationally for their concerns.