Statement issued Thursday:
For a brief time today, Statehouse gavels gave way to golden voices as legislators paid tribute to a Fort Wayne choir recently cited as the number one soulful choral group in the world.
President Pro Tem David Long and Sen. Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne) co-authored a Senate Concurrent resolution congratulating the Voices of Unity Youth Choir on winning two gold medals at the World Choir Games, hosted in China in July of 2010. Thursday’s Senate proceedings began with a performance of the national anthem by the choir.
“This talented group made Indiana and the entire nation proud by winning the grand champion award in a competition that featured more than 480 choirs from over 80 nations,” Long said. “Their dedication is not only a tribute to the educators and students, but an inspiration to us all.”
Today’s resolution paid particular tribute to Marshall White, the choir’s founder and director, who has molded 80 youth choir members and 23 musicians, mentors and support staff into world champions.
“This group came very close to winning a second world championship in the popular music category,” Wyss said. “Voices of Unity was judged above all but one other competitor. We are indeed blessed to have this group in our community and our state.”
Senators learned there were powerful lessons behind each soulful note. Under the guidance of the Unity Performing Arts Foundation, a community-based, multi-faceted arts organization based in Fort Wayne, the choir curriculum fosters discipline, teamwork and professionalism.
“Even above and beyond the world champion status, what this choir does for the youth of Fort Wayne is amazing,” Long said. “It is designed to bring even the most shy or uncertain children out of their shells and instill confidence in them.”
Wyss said the choir was a virtual melting pot of diversity, made up of approximately 2 percent African students, 47 percent African-Americans; 22 percent bi-racial, 20 percent Caucasian and 9 percent Latino.
“This group has become great ambassadors for the city of Fort Wayne and the state of Indiana,” Wyss said. “Some may remember the group performing at the opening ceremonies for Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008. They deserve our admiration and thanks.”