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(Not) Brexit weekend: Three ways to celebrate in Brussels
The United Kingdom’s slated exit from the European Union was originally scheduled for 29 March. No matter your feelings on Brexit, it is a tumultous time for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do this weekend to keep you entertained and your spirits high.
"Brexit: The Day Before" will be a celebration of Brexit in style. Led by Brussels correspondent Tijn Sadée, there will be music from the Breunion Boys and erotic Brexit poetry by Elise Wouters, a Belgian expat living in London.
Flip Feyton, a journalist; Hendrik Vos, a political scientist; and Hylke Vandenbussche, an economist will all be speaking at the event, sharing their own views on Brexit and the future of the European Union without the United Kingdom.
The event begins on 28 March at 19.30 at Beursschouwburg.
"Brexit: Goodbye, Hello" is a lecture and concert being held at the very moment of the original scheduled Brexit. The unique combination of music and speech will explore the complex tapestry of the United Kingdom’s interwoven history with continental Europe.
Jonathon Coe and Ali Smith, both British authors, will be reading from their Brexit novels. Sulaiman Addonia, a British writer with Eritrean roots living in Brussels, will be reading a new short story.
Music will also be incorporated into the readings.The Aurora Orchestra performing Les Illuminations and The Protecting Veil with tenor Ian Bostridge, conducted by Nicolas Altstaedt. The evening will conclude with the Farewell Symphony by Joseph Haydn.
The event begins on 29 March at 20.00 in Henry Le Boeuf Hall. Tickets can be bought on the Bozar website.
On 30 March, the International Chorale of Brussels is holding a concert that celebrates the diversity and culture of Europe amidst the uncertainty and turmoil.
The choir is made up of 70 people of at least 15 nationalities, all coming together for the common purpose of creating music. They will be singing folk songs suggested by their very own members in French, Italian, German, Bulgarian, English, Icelandic, Hebrew and Russian.
“The fact that it’s the choir members themselves who’ve proposed these songs means that there’s a much greater feeling of connection to the music,” John Brown, the director of the choir, said. “People feel more bound to the programme, there’s perhaps even more respect for the music.”
At first, Brown said, the choir was wary of holding the concert on the day after the original scheduled departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Some members, including Brown himself, felt it would be strange to perform a concert when such major changes were taking place.
However, venue availability made the decision for the choir, and they dove in headfirst, making it a celebration of the diversity Europe has to offer.
“I think the choir demonstrates that when we have people from lots of different backgrounds, countries, different cultures, by all working together they can create something much bigger, more powerful, more impactful than anything they could ever do on their own,” Brown said.
He believes that in a way, the choir is a microcosm of Europe. Diversity is strength, not weakness. “By working together, with international partners, we can get to be stronger and get a better outcome.”
Besides music from the International Chorale of Brussels, the concert will also feature music from the Celtic folk group Bothán.
It will be held at GC De Kam, Beekstraat 172 in Wezembeek-Oppem at 20.00 on Saturday.
Photo: Nikolaus van der Pas