On Musical Treats with a Story

Yesterday I shared a few videos of choirs associated with the World Choir Games 2012, recently hosted my city (Cincinnati, OH). Many interesting stories accompanied the games, so I would like to share two of them.

This one is about the first choir to compete this year. The UMOJA Men’s Chorus is a local choir, based about 30 miles from the downtown venues. Because the choir couldn’t attend the games, the competition judges went to them so they could compete. On a side note, in budget balancing moves, Ohio Governor Jon Kasich has cut this program’s funding. The state now has a budget surplus, but (as of this time) the state has not reauthorized the funding.

For more about UMOJA, see this and/or that.

This is a great story that other news outlets have picked up. The 49-member Gema Chandra Cenderawasih University Choir is from Indonesia. For various travel issues, they arrived in Cincinnati in time for the closing ceremony – which means no competition, no performances, and minimal fellowship … but, Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau stepped up, and then the people of the city joined the support!

The bureau arranged several concerts for them over a few days (including these in the convention center’s lobby). World Choir Games organization provided hotel rooms for several days. A restaurant provided meals. The Cincinnati Reds gave them game tickets and souvenirs – and yes, monetary donations are coming in. Volunteers offered to help.

Keep in mind that arriving late also means they missed their return flights. They arrived here without a complete return flight home – that is they have flights very early Friday morning from San Francisco to Jakarta – but no way to San Francisco.

Unable to secure a flight to SF, Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau got them on their way with a charter bus. That’s a long trip, but they will see much of the country. Hopefully they will see the Rockies during the day … and as of the time of this post, I believe they are still on the road.


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26 thoughts on “On Musical Treats with a Story

  1. That’s so lovely that so many from your city did so much for these Indonesians. I’m sure they will all go back to their country thinking America is the best place on earth. xx

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    • Spiced,
      All indications are that the Indonesians were very appreciative. Interestingly, they also have gotten to see much of the country they didn’t plan on seeing. Hopefully the bus ride was rewarding. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. World Choir Games? I never knew there was such a thing as competitive choir-ing. From the clips you’ve shared it’s far more entertaining than curling. I’d give this Indonesian group a medal just for tenacity.

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    • Lame,
      The event is ever 2 years … and this was the 7th and the first time in the US … so most Americans don’t know of it … and most Cincinnatians didn’t either … but now we know … and what a wonderful event. I’ll post something about the event next week, but for now, these stories were just too good to pass. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Finally I managed to get here. 😉 I think this whole exercise is wonderful. The voices of that IMOJA men’s choir are thrilling to listen to. I’m so glad the indonesians were treated so well. They’ll go back home with great tales to tell. 😉

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  4. What a story! It must have been overwhelming to these dear folk to have worked out the detail for an entire choir to make such a big trip and then have so many disappointments. How wonderful that the community stepped up in such a loving and supportive way. Sometimes we actually get to see compassion in action! It’s very hard to hear that critical arts funding may be cut and further challenge the ability of choirs to come together. This sounds like a really wonderful event! With global stress so high, I do believe we’d benefit for more music opportunities! D

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    • Debra,
      Sure this choir worked very hard to prepare and get here, plus I’m sure they were disappointed, but they will carry the positive side of the experience for a lifetime. Good news – they safely made it to SF. As far as the prison choir goes, I can’t imagine their budgetary requirements are all that high – thus I shake my head at that decision. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Beautiful voices I bet it’s great seeing this event Live! I enjoyed the stories as well. That’s a good way to see a lot of the country on a bus. I agree I hope they get to see the rocky mountains in day light. Happy Trails for the weekend. :+)

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  6. Outstanding, Frank! Especially the prison choir–it gave me chills. I’ve done prison ministry through music and it is really rewarding. As an ex-choir director, I must say these fellows were really excellent. It was like seeing a rose in the middle of a desert. Thank you so much. ET

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  7. HOLY MOSES! AMAZING VOICES! I love choirs, used to sing soprano and these beautiful youths have given me a shot of hope and, goosebumps! You’re a wonderful friend Frank! Wow!

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    • Guapo,
      I’m confident that people anywhere would have stepped up for this choir. Nonetheless, Cincinnatians got the chance and did! And if the their flight is on schedule, they are in the air at this time. Thanks for commenting.

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  8. UMOJA Men’s Chorus was so inspiring, Frank. Did you ever see the documentary movie Young@Heart? This video reminded of a scene from that movie – if you haven’t seen it, I think you would enjoy the movie – very unique. Never underestimate the power of making music 🙂 Cutting the funding – inexcusable.

    Thanks for sharing these videos – what a fantastic event to have in your hometown!

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    • Lynn.
      I haven’t seen Young at Heart, be have made a note. Meanwhile, glad you enjoyed UMOJA. Both of these stories were special – and yes – the entire event was a thrill for the area. Thanks for commenting.

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  9. The singing was so sublime it alleviated some of the distress I feel about the governor cutting the funding that helps these men find solace and meaning and a different way to be. To my mind, ensuring that the arts, including singing, are well-funded in schools and across communities helps people at risk of offending (as well as other problematic behaviours) see alternatives.

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