WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Rick Pender 07.07.2012
Posted In: World Choir Games at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
world-choir-games

World Choir Games: 'Voices of Gold'

Hot night at the School for Creative and Performing Arts

Despite the 100-plus heat on Friday evening, on my way to a World Choir Games concert at Over-the-Rhine's School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) I took an extra half-hour to wander through the renovated Washington Park, which officially opened earlier in the day. What an incredible scene! Hundreds of operagoers were streaming through the park on their way to see Porgy and Bess at Music Hall, while kids from the neighborhood — young and old, I must add — were playing in the people-friendly fountain. Everyone was strolling around admiring the views and the colorful "OTR Flags," another festive element of the park's opening. On from there to SCPA's Corbett Theater for another sold-out "Celebration Concert." This one used the theme "Voices of Gold," because each of the three choirs have won multiple honors in past World Choir Games and other choral competitions. SCPA seemed like the perfect setting, since each group was made up of youthful performers: Zvonky Praha is a school group from a school in Prague in the Czech Republic and some of its singers were obviously elementary school age kids; SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School were high schoolers; and the Mansfield University Concert Choir was a mixed choir of young adults from the university in Pennsylvania. It's fascinating to observe the differing personalities of the choirs, here a product of age but also of directors with very different styles of leading the singing. Zvonky Praha begain with its 19-member chamber component, separately named "Abbellimento," all high school age girls clad in black pants and shirts, with scarlet sashes, some worn as belts, others as scarves and one as a head band. Their female voices were reedy but strong for their program, virtually all sung in Czech, so I can't tell you much of what the music was about. But I can say it was delivered with passion and clarity, accompanied in most cases by a blonde-haired pianist who played with expressive emotion. Several numbers were enhanced by one of the singers picking up a clarinet and offering soulful punctuation. When the balance of the choir came on to join Abbellimento, the numbers were roughly doubled, but again almost all girls wearing red choir capes. (There were two young boys, but I suspect their voices had not yet changed, and the feminine quality of the singing did not change.) Director Jamila Noveknová kept the ensemble in tight control, but for several final numbers had some soloists step forward, including one of the younger performers with a gorgeous soprano voice. Their final number, a choral replication of bells, was especially memorable. Lam Woo's director, Siu Mei Lee, is a petite, beautiful woman with shining, black hair. She conducted with the expressive grace of a ballerina, using large gestures and physical movement to inspire her very focused choristers. This was a big group, roughly 80 singers, wearing school uniforms: The boys had white shirts with a school emblem and ties while girls wore knee-length pale blue dresses with white "sailor" collars and white knee socks. This group were serious in their demeanor, totally focused on their animated director. Their wide ranging program encompassed works by Mendelssohn as well as Asian composers; their concluding number, "Zum Gali," was a rhythmic traditional number from Israel that swung between soft and loud passages and up and down energy, but with a beautiful fading elevation of tone as its conclusion. The intense singers maintained their demeanor as the audience gave them a standing ovation, but when a little boy entered from the wings to hand a bouquet to Siu Mei Lee, the entire chorus burst into applause. Their affection for her was evident. Peggy Dettwiler is clearly a veteran conductor (she teaches the craft to others at Mansfield University) and her work with her more mature singers was the most satisfying component of the evening. A balanced choir of about 60, the men wore traditional tuxedoes and black ties, while the women were attired in floor-length gowns all cut the same way. (The women also wore identical sparkling necklaces and earrings.) According to the introductions made for this group, their repertoire is generally drawn from religious works, but that did not mean it was a lot of the same thing: They offered a beautiful piece with German lyrics and music by Mendelssohn, followed by a solemn, stately song by Stephen Paulus, "The Old Church." Next was a traditional Gospel number, "Hold On!," delivered with relaxed energy. For a traditional Appalachian hymn, "Every Night When the Sun Goes Down," the group formed an unorthodox circle around Dettwiler, who conducted the entire program without music from a small, square platform about six-inches in height. That meant that some had their backs to the audience, but at one key moment, they turned toward us, which elevated not only their volume but the intensity of their heartfelt performance. Their finale, "Pal-so seong," was a humorous number in which various solo singers burst into giggles, hoots and chortles, culminating in gales of laughter — a truly unusual piece. The group's encore, an infectious "Alleluia," had them file up the aisles at Corbett Theater, surrounding the audience with joyous song. It was a perfect conclusion to the varied program.
 
 
by Rick Pender 07.06.2012
Posted In: World Choir Games at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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World Choir Games: 'Global Harmony'

Masonic Center performances high quality and appreciated

On Thursday evening I slogged through the humid, 100 degree soup of downtown Cincinnati to hear a World Choir Games concert at the Masonic Center on Fourth Street (next door to the Taft Theatre). I've lived in Cincinnati for 32 years and covered lots of arts events, but I've never set foot inside this honeycomb of stages, halls and meeting rooms. The sold-out event I attended, "Global Harmony," was in a steeply sloped, floridly decorated auditorium that seats approximately 1,000 people. A four-step set of risers was set up in front of a proscenium with a curtain; the scenery was provided by three choirs, two international groups — the Diocesan Schools Choral Society from Hong Kong and the Stellenbosch University Choir from South Africa — both highly recognized ensembles at the 2010 World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China. The third choir had a shorter trek to Cincinnati; the Capital University Chapel Choir, about 80 singers strong, came from Columbus and held its own with the two groups from other continents. The Hong Kong group, roughly 120 high school boys and girls, offered a beautiful, restrained program of earnestly conceived works performed with polish, some religious and some literary (the latter included a piece based on Robert Burns' poem, "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose"). The singers from Capital University had the men attired in black suits, shirts and ties, the women in long dresses with identical bias-cut necklines but in varying colors, bright blue, maroon and navy. Their program was an interesting mixture of pieces, with several uptempo numbers — a lovely song by Dolly Parton, "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," that featured a crystalline solo by Annie Huckaba, and several rhythmic works, "Hehehlooyuh" and "Tshotsholoza," both of which evoked strong responses from the audience. The latter, a South African number, featured two forceful soloists, Chris Bozeka and Nicholas Klein, as well as percussive accompaniment on African drums by Emily Riggin and another chorus member (not named in the program). The Stellenbosch choir, constituted of approximately 120 white and black college students and which earned three gold medals in the 2010 World Choir Games in China, presented a half-dozen songs plus an encore. "Kiasa-isa Niyan," described by conductor André van der Merwe as a counting song from the Philippines, used catchy choreography and motion, including chest thumping, vocal clicking, head snapping and a sharply executed bow at the end. The most moving number of the program, a traditional Zulu song, "African Prayer." It pulled six strong-voiced soloists (again, not named in the program) to the front of the stage and placed two more among the audience for an emotional call-and-response counterpoint that evoked a standing ovation. In fact, each group was greeted with sustained applause as its singers filed on stage and cheered with a standing ovation after their performance. The audience was appreciative and wildly enthusiastic; some were parents of the Capital University performers, but many others were clearly people who simply love choral performances that are delivered with finesse, creativity and enthusiasm. Fifth Street was choked with buses bringing people from various hotels beyond downtown, here as tourists to listen to these performances. Oh, yes: The auditorium was comfortably air-conditioned, a fact appreciated by those in attendance as well as the singers. It was a fine way to be introduced to the possibilities of the World Choir Games, here in the United States — not to mention in Cincinnati — for the first time ever. I was proud to be in attendance.
 
 
by Anne Mitchell 07.05.2012
Posted In: News, Events at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
entry

Market Garden in Place for World Choir Games

There are plenty of restaurants downtown, but for the World Choir Games, the city has set up a Market Garden at the corner of Fifth and Race streets to provide additional options that are fast and affordable. It’s a great “Taste of Cincinnati” opportunity — without the crowds and long lines.Eats include local food trucks and Cincinnati’s own Mecklenburg Gardens, A Taste of Julia, sweets from Graeter's and Queen City Cookies (yay!) and more. There are also local gift and souvenir stands. They did a great job selecting vendors for this, so be sure to enjoy it during the Choir Games.
 
 

Like We Were Made for it

How Cincinnati came to acquire the 2012 World Choir Games

1 Comment · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Sometimes the greatest discoveries in life arise from a Google search.That’s exactly what led Todd Duesing to stumble upon the 2012 World Choir Games — a fortuitous click of his mouse that, unbeknownst to him, would help pave the way for an unparalleled boost in morale in the Cincinnati urban riverfront.  

Found in Translation

Preparing to host international visitors has been a labor of love

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
More than 4,000 volunteers have stepped up to take on a job no one asked them to do: welcome the expected 90,000 national and international choirs, families and visitors to Cincinnati for the World Choir Games.   
by Jac Kern 07.05.2012
at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to do_newport bike rally_photo provided

Your Thursday To Do List

Have you ever watched Sons of Anarchy and thought you’d make a mean addition to an MC or a badass old lady? Well, stop because you’re crazy and that’s dangerous. But you can hang out with some real, law-abiding bikers tonight at the Levee. Head out to the Newport Motorcycle Rally from 5-11 p.m. The festival runs through Sunday and features live music, games and food each day. Cincinnati native Geoff Tate and In Living Color alum Tommy Davidson both perform in town this week. Tate made his national television debut this year on Craig Ferguson and recorded a CD/DVD at MOTR in April. His show at Go Bananas begins at 8 p.m. Davidson performs at Funny Bone on the Levee through Sunday; his show tonight also starts at 8. With the World Choir Games in full swing, there are lots of performances around the city today: Free Friendship Concerts (5 p.m., Bellarmine Chapel; 7 p.m., Schmidlapp Event Lawn at The Banks; 7 p.m., Village Green Park; 7:30 p.m. Newport on the Levee; 8 p.m., Blue Wisp)Folklore Open Competition ($15-$40, 4 p.m. Aronoff Center)Musica Sacra Celebration Concert ($28-$42, 7:30 p.m., Fountain Square)Youth Choirs of Equal Voices Open Competition ($15-$40, 7:30 p.m., School for Creative and Performing Arts - SCPA)Global Harmony Celebration Concert ($28-$42, 7:30 p.m., Cincinnati Masonic Center)Folklore Champions Competition ($15-$40, 8 p.m. SCPA).Go here for a full schedule of WCG concerts, competitions and events.
 
 
by Anne Arenstein 07.05.2012
Posted In: World Choir Games at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
world-choir-games

World Choir Games Underway

Opening Ceremony involves welcoming by U.S. officials and lots of singing

It was quite the spectacle and in a good way. As I, along with other members of MUSE, approached Great American Ballpark around 4 p.m., there were already hundreds of World Choir Games participants thronging the entrance, and despite the stifling temperature, the excitement was palpable. All the hype about this being an international event was no hype at all. For the first time I can remember, Cincinnati looked like an international city.  Choirs from West Chester, Loveland and Pleasant Ridge chatted with groups from Japan, Colombia, Canada and Australia. Cheers erupted from all parts of the plaza, spontaneous singing and dancing were everywhere. The plaza was a riot of color: the Colombians in vivid red, orange, and yellow; Japanese women in blue and pink kimonos; the Nigerian choir in bright green dashikis and caps; and the Costa Rican women's choir in flowing white dresses embroidered in bright red. With no signage but a multitude of helpful volunteers, 5,000 of us were mustered into holding areas before marching over to U.S. Bank Arena. Bottled water and mist sprayers relieved the heat, and when the water ran out, there plenty of ice cubes — putting them down my back never felt better. We found ourselves in a shaded area along with a youth choir from Erie, Pa. Suddenly they started chanting, "Sing! Sing! Sing!"  As we launched in the South African Xhosa song "Bambelela," their eyes lit up in recognition and suddenly we were one big chorus. They answered us with "The Storm is Passing Over," and this time, our eyes lit up. Same arrangement we do. They sang a beautiful arrangement of "As I Went Down to the River to Pray." When we sang Bernice Johnson Reagon's "I'm Gon' Stand," with Lois Shegog belting out the solo, they were riveted.  Once inside the arena, more cheering as groups saw themselves on the JumboTrons. The soundtrack took in The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Gloria Estafan, The Monkees, and I think Neil Diamond was in there somewhere. The Aussies sitting below us started a beach ball toss that would have gone on longer if an arena-wide wave hadn't taken over. I didn't see many empty seats. WCPO's Clyde Gray and Carol Williams were affable emcees and the opening remarks by Mayor Mallory and Interkultur head Gunther Titsch were mercifully brief (Titsch spoke in heavily accented English and then reverted to his native German. That was fine — I'd rather look at his translator any day. Williams read greetings from President Obama — the letter was projected on the video screens to the accompaniment of hundreds of camera flashes. Rob Portman didn't applaud. But he recovered to declare the games open. Cincinnati Pops conductor John Morris Russell paid tribute to the late Erich Kunzel, who was the driving force behind bringing the WCG to Cincinnati. And it was his vision to include the traditional July 4th concert as part of the opening ceremony. I think he would have been delighted and not at all surprised at the power of singing to bring people together. Choruses rose with pride as their nation's flag was announced, but they also cheered on their peers. I'll never forget the group from Namibia turning to cheer South Africa. As we left, I couldn't help singing India Arie's "There's Hope." MUSE sang that, too.
 
 

World Choir Games Dinner Deals

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The hills — around here, anyway — are alive with the sound of music! Everyone is singing this week in honor of the World Choir Games, which, you’ve got to admit, have actually become the Very Cool Thing that our civic leaders were predicting. It’s nice to see the city filled with people, arriving from all over the globe, enjoying Cincinnati and all it has to offer. I suspect that a choir, like an army, travels on its stomach. These singers are going to need sustenance! Snacks! Skyline!   

Legacy Building

Art on the Streets wants World Choir Games visitors to remember Cincinnati’s arts scene

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
During a time when the many cultures of the world are bombarding Cincinnati all at once, it’s important to keep in mind locality. The World Choir Games is undoubtedly a sensational movement in the artistic realm across the globe, but Cincinnati will attempt to make an impact on the games equal to its impact on the city. Cincinnati and world, meet Art on the Streets. It’s the best thing that’ll ever happen to you.   
by Danny Cross 07.03.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Someone really smart in Todd Portune’s office warned his or her superiors that the monthly first-Wednesday siren test might scare the living hell out of tens of thousands of foreign people visiting Cincinnati for the World Choir Games, so there will be no siren test this month.  River Downs applied for some slot machines, the second racetrack in the state to do so. Here’s the latest person to write about how screwed Mitt Romney is due to the constitutional health care mandate or, more importantly, the similar one he passed in Massachusetts. MSNBC says the Bain attacks are hurting Romney. And Mother Jones says this: “Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses, Government Documents Show.” And Obama is “feeling the pain” of campaign fundraising. Whatever that means.  Here’s all you need to know about torture in Syria. Thanks, Human Rights Watch.  Anderson Cooper publicly announced that he’s gay after a discussion with friend and journalist Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast regarding celebrities coming out. Cooper emailed Sullivan about the matter and gave him permission to print it. “I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand. “The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” Chrysler’s sales are up 20 percent, but the company hasn’t specifically thanked JLo for boosting the Fiat marketshare. Scientists are saying that recent heat waves, wild fires and other seemingly random natural disasters are due to global warming. And we thought it was only going to be our kids’ problem. :( Meanwhile, European physicists hope to find the God particle by the end of the year, explaining the creation of the world. Here’s video of a British guy trying to explain what the particle is using a plastic tray and ping pong balls. The NFL is going to back off some of its local blackout rules. Teams now must only hit 85 percent of their ticket sales goal rather than 100 percent to avoid making local markets watch crappy regional games instead of their favorite teams.  That means more Bengals games, less crappy Browns broadcasts.
 
 

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