New Year's Eve: Dancing in the dark

REYKJAVIK -- For clients looking to spend New Year's Eve getting lost in music and blending with local revelers in a unique destination, Iceland makes for an unusual option.

New Year's in Iceland is generally a time for Icelanders to break the round-the-clock darkness by filling the communities with light. Celebrations revolve around bonfires and fireworks, and this year's activities are expected to be more involved than usual.

A gala event is being planned at Laugardalur Sports Hall and Park. It will last from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will feature a dinner, followed by dancing. Music will be performed by the popular Icelandic group Studmenn as well as other artists.

Reykjavik, Iceland will host many events to greet the new millennium. A more refined event will be featured at Laugardalsholl in Reykjavik. The theme party, Iceland's Thousand Years, will feature international food and drink, and leading Icelandic artists, musicians and entertainers will perform.

A highlight will be a three-piece Millennium Symphony of composers who have based special works on three Icelandic poets. Dancing will commence after the midnight celebration.

Prices and ticketing information for both events are available through the Icelandic Tourist Board.

Icelandic Tourist Board
Phone: (212) 885-9700

Iceland's Thousand Years organizers
Phone: (011) 354 561-3800

Reykjavik also will play host to a millennium concert featuring the 90-member Voices of Europe Choir, a gathering of musicians from each of the nine cities chosen as Europe's cultural capitals for 2000.

Although the event is sold out, there will be an opportunity to see the choir perform live in Iceland in the summer. On Aug. 26 and 27, the choir will hold a concert at Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik as the launch of a tour of the nine European cultural capitals.

Prices and ticketing information will be available by mid-October on the Reykjavik 2000 Internet site, at www.Reykjavik2000.com.

International chorus to sing in new millennium in Reykjavik

REYKJAVIK -- A 90-member international chorus will sing in the millennium here and in the summer will tour the nine European Cultural Capitals of 2000.

The group, called the Voices of Europe Choir, is a gathering of musicians from each of the nine cities chosen as Europe's cultural capitals for 2000.

Iceland's own international star musician, Bjork, will perform and write songs especially for the group.

Another Icelandic contributor will be Thorgerdur Ingolfsdottir, who will conduct the choir through a score of music that will include work specially composed for the event by Estonian composer Arvo Part.

There also will be conductors from each represented city to lead their own musical contributions to the event.

Along with Reykjavik, the other European cultural capitals selected for 2000 by the European Union are Bergen, Norway; Brussels, Belgium; Helsinki, Finland; Krakow, Poland; Avignon, France; Bologna, Italy; Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Prague, Czech Republic.

To form the Voices of Europe, each of the nine cultural capitals was asked to select 10 musicians between the ages of 16 and 23. Representatives of each country convened in June to select the songs for the choir's repertoire, including one song native to each of the nine cities. A major goal of the event was to have the choir sing in each of the cities' native languages.

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