When the Chattanooga Girls Choir traveled to Cincinnati earlier this month, they experienced more than just the city's sights and sounds.
As participants in the World Choir Games, 37 girls got the opportunity to interact with hundreds of singers from 64 countries during the conference.
"I've been on two international tours with the Chattanooga Girls Choir. While this tour was in the United States, it felt like an international tour," said choir member Allyson Cole. "We had different cultures, personalities, dress and customs right at our fingertips. It was an awesome experience to meet people and share music in a new and exciting way."
Although this was the choir's first World Choir Games, the group received a silver medal certification and Girls Choir artistic director Lu Ann Holden said she thought the games were a great way to celebrate the choir's 25th anniversary this year. While at the games, the choir performed for an international panel of judges, attended a workshop where they were conducted by the composer of one of their pieces, received choir coaching, performed in a friendship concert and got the opportunity to interact with different types of choirs from across the world.
"Honestly, being in the World Choir Games was really breathtaking," said Annslea Jolley. "I realize now that it was more than just a competition, it was a learning experience for all different countries around the world."
Holden said she thinks participating in the games helped the girls realize the choir's mission on a personal level and encouraged them to become even better performers.
"Our mission is to provide valuable musical education and cultural experiences to our participants," she said. "We strive for the highest level of performance that will represent this community in the highest standard possible. I think choosing to do a competition before a panel of international judges in an environment of that caliber really set the tone for the level of music and performance we want to achieve."
In an effort to continue that legacy of excellent performance and bring more girls to the choir, Holden said the organization is starting two new programs for younger girls. A full school term non-auditioned third-grade choir and a first- and second-grade musicianship class are being implemented. The musicianship class will be a non-performance class focused on development through singing, playing instruments and movement.
"We decided to start the program because we've had several inquiries and we were also looking at educational opportunities other choirs across the country have implemented," said Holden.
For more information about the Chattanooga Girls Choir contact the choir office at 296-1006 or office@Chattanoogagirlschoir.com.