Cantabella Children’s Chorus in the 2012 World Choir Games

By Christine Lee

For more than a decade, the World Choir Games have united people throughout the world through the power of singing and in the spirit of friendly competition. Throughout this event’s history, more than 2,000 choirs have participated in these competitions throughout Europe and Asia. This year, in 2012, the World Choir Games took place in the United States, for the first time ever on July 4-14. Hundreds of thousands of visitors and choirs have come to Cincinnati, Ohio to join their voices and share their cultural heritage, uniting the world with music, a well known and common language of our world. Choirs competed in 23 musical categories, (with 11 in the first week, and 12 in the second) from Barbershop and Scenic Folklore, to Musica Sacra, Chamber Choir, Jazz and Gospel. Aside from competitions, choirs had the opportunity to sing in Friendship Concerts and attend workshops.

This summer, Cantabella Children’s Chorus received an opportunity to compete in the 2012 World Choir Games at Cincinnati, Ohio-“The City That Sings”. We got 2 silvers in Children’s Choir category and the Musica Contemporanea category at the Champions Competition as opposed to the Open competition. To have the opportunity to be able to participate in the World Choir Games is a one-of-a-kind experience. Learning new things in music and in culture let us learn that there is much more to the world than our daily lives. Personally, the best part of Ohio is being able to hear and learn from other choirs. It taught me that there is always room for improvement, and though I may be working hard, someone else in the world may be working harder. Many thanks to our ‘top-notch’ choir director Eileen Chang, and our wonderful Founder/Artistic Director, Bee Chow. Without them, Cantabella would not have received this opportunity to attend the World Choir Games. (:

Besides Cantabella just competing, we attended the Champions Concert and the Closing Ceremony. The choirs singing in the Champions Concert were the ones that placed the ‘Champions rank’ in the category they were competing in. This was where we could really learn from the best of the best. The Closing Ceremony was fabulous. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conducted by John Morris Russel played really well and we enjoyed listening to their music. Idina Menzel (from Wicked) also sang at the Closing Ceremony which was a real treat for us! Ohio was a wonderful place to host the World Choir Games. The locals were friendly and enjoyed a good chat. One of the locals even wanted to take a picture with a few members of Cantabella! Günter Titsch, president, INTERKULTER, and founder of the World Choir Games says, “The most wonderful thing about the World Choir Games is watching people from different countries, different cultures, and different beliefs come together with smiles on their faces and unite through music. This was the dream when INTERKULTER first held the World Choir Games in 2000 and it lives on today…”

Two years from now, the 2014 World Choir Games will be hosting in Riga, Latvia. In 2014, Riga will not only be the European Capital of Culture, but it will also be the World Capital of Choral Music. The 8th World Choir Games will bring the international flair of the Choir Olympic idea to one of the most traditional singing regions in the world in the summer of 2014. After the great success in China 2010, and with beautiful singing in the United States this year, the most impressive and innovative choral event comes to Europe. In Latvia as well as the other Baltic States, it will have a lasting impression in history where passionate singing plays a leading role for the entire state.

So let’s sing together and celebrate in the wonderful city Riga, Latvia – The European Capital of Culture and the World Capital of Choral Music, proudly hosting the 2014 World Choir Games!