Thursday, August 21, 2014

Flashback: The 2012 World Choir Games Brings the World to Cincinnati

The 2012 World Choir Games Brings the World to Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio July 4, 2012:
Cincinnatians welcomed the Fourth of July with fireworks, near 100 degree heat and an international party. After years of preparation, the 2012 World Choir Games made it's Cincinnati debut with a procession of choirs in colorful costumes. The Opening Ceremony was a grand musical celebration featuring a welcome letter from President Barack Obama, music by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and May Festival Chorus and a song by Grammy Award winning gospel singer, Kirk Franklin.
The 2012 World Choir Games Brought
International Excitement to Cincinnati
This is the seventh biennial event for the World Choir Games and its non profit producer, INTERKULTUR, but it's the first time the choral competition has been held in the United States. The Games are a coup for the city. It's no wonder Jerry Springer, Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Grammy Award Winner/Music Hall of Famer Bootsy Collins, the Naked Cowboy and other local celebrities created the cheesy promo, "Cincinnati Singing.
Choirs from Australia to Zimbabwe began arriving in the city earlier this week. On July 4th, they assembled as a group for the first time at Great American Ball Park. Each choir wore costumes and carried signs and flags showing their country of origin.
A procession with an international flair
At 5:00 the choirs gathered inside the ball park's main entrance to begin a brief procession to the U.S. Bank Arena next door. They endured the heat without complaint. Some sang as they walked. Some marched silently, carrying large and small flags from their countries of origin, and some smiled and waved for the cameras. 
Other choirs, like the singers from Puerto Rico, offered a more entertaining display. Their walk was more of a dance with rhythmic drumming, laughter and a lively song about "Puerto Rico." Russian choirs sang out "Rus-si'-a, Rus-si'-a" and a choir from Iowa chanted, "I-o-wa, I-o-wa." Another American group called out "U-S-A, U-S-A..." Outside the stadium a crowd snapped pictures, waved flags and cheered as the procession passed. 
The Opening Ceremonies
Local news anchors Clyde Gray and Carol Williams hosted the opening ceremony. Choirs, visitors and dignitaries filled the arena with joyful noise, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra provided background music for a processional of international flags. Young color bearers lined the stage carrying flags representative of the choirs' countries of origin. The Cincinnati Police Color Guard presented the American Flag as the audience sang the National Anthem.
Cincinnati Mayor, Mark Mallory; Ohio U. S. Senator Rob Portman; Gunter Titsch, INTERKULTUR president and Werner Geissler, Vice Chairman of Procter & Gamble Global Operations, gathered on a spotlighted platform to offer greetings to the crowd. Together they rang the 2012 World Choir Games Peace Bell, signaling the official opening of the event. The bell was cast especially for the event by the historic local Verdin Bell Company.
Kirk Franklin sang "I Can"
While dignitaries offered official greetings, the large One In Song choir entered the arena and stood quietly on stage. The group was Kirk Franklin's local, multi-choir back up for his performance of "I Can," the theme song he composed for the 2012 World Choir Games. The event continued into the evening with White Oak Singers' Native American Drumming, a tribute to the late Pops director, Erich Kunzel, music and song and a pyrotechnic display.
The Russian choir took a moment for a photo op
 in Washington Park
The Opening Ceremony was only the beginning. The Choirs will be in Cincinnati until July 14. They will sing in competitions in Downtown area venues and perform a selection of free Friendship Concerts in locations throughout the city. See for a complete schedule of events

Originally published on Yahoo Voices

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