- Title: SERBIA: Kosovars put final touches to independence day preparations
- Date: 6th February 2008
- Summary: (BN17) PRISTINA, KOSOVO, SERBIA (FEBRUARY 5, 2008) (REUTERS) WIDE OF ORCHESTRA CLOSE UP OF CONDUCTOR CLOSE UP OF WOMAN PLAYING FLUTE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PLAYING VIOLINS VARIOUS OF ORCHESTRA
- Embargoed: 21st February 2008 12:00
- Location: Serbia
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADECKGBRVQ9D1ZQN788QCR3NN5
- Story Text: Practise makes perfect, as Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra rehearses for independence.
With Kosovo on the brink of independence from Serbia, Kosovo's Philharmonic Orchestra is stepping up rehearsals for the big day.
The head of the orchestra, Baki Jashari led his musicians in recitals of Beethoven's Ode to Joy and the Albanian national anthem on Tuesday (February 5), perfecting the final touches to the music they will play as part of the official celebrations, after nearly three months practising.
The orchestra has been given the go ahead to play Ode to Joy, but are waiting to hear from the government if they will also play Albania's national anthem.
"Kosovo Philharmonics are preparing a concert programme which will be presented on the day of declaration of independence of Kosovo, which is anxiously awaited in the coming days," Baki Jashari, Conductor of the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra said.
The orchestra's excitement is growing by the day, as rehearsals intensify. For the last ten days the orchestra has increased the number and intensity of rehearsals, following a government order to prepare for the event. Breaking away from their normal repertoire, the group is now solely concentrating on the music for independence day.
"Of course, the same as all other Albanians, we are looking forward to this day especially because we as musicians will be directly involved in marking this day," Jashari added.
With the musical preparations in hand, the government of Kosovo is close to choosing a new national flag for the fledgling state.
On June 12, 2007, the government held a ten-day competition for citizens to submit designs for the new flag. Over a thousand proposals were submitted.
"More than one thousand people who had ideas for the flag and symbol applied," Fadil Hysa, Head of Commission for the new Kosovo flag, told Reuters.
The commission has narrowed the competition down to five possible winners, who will be narrowed down to three by the time the drafts are presented to parliament for the final decision.
Many of the designs entered into the competition resembled flags from existing European countries,
"Three to four themes have dominated, the majority are based on three colours and resemble many European flags and other countries. There were not many complicated flags, mainly they are very simple," Hysa said.
The unique competition has increased the excitement over the impending breakaway from Serbia. People from all walks of life entered the competition, hoping to see their design flying over the government building.
"I think it is a very good proposal, and I think it can represent Kosovo well," said Blsnik Nuli, an artist who entered the competition with his friend, Mentor Shala.
"The reason why this flag should be selected is because it represents the reality in Kosovo and we think it will represent all the people who live in Kosovo," Mentor Shala added.
When the new flag is chosen, Kosovo will give up the black-on-red, double-headed eagle of the Albanian national flag.
The province, most of whose population is ethnic Albanian, has used the flag of neighbouring Albania since NATO drove out Serb forces in 1999 and the United Nations took control.
It was carried into battle by guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and now flies from state buildings and homes across the territory.
Late Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova, who led the Kosovo drive for independence before the KLA uprising, had proposed his own party flag to replace the Albanian national flag. But the idea was rejected by many people.
Some 10,000 Albanians were killed and almost one million expelled in Serbia's 1998-99 war against the ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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