Hello again, to all of our friends, family, and supporters back home in Fort Wayne!
Today was a fairly relaxed day for Voices of Unity. Our schedule is usually pretty hectic; most of the time, we are not aware of where we are supposed to be until moments before. A day of rest was definitely needed! We were given strict instructions to rest, and we were placed on vocal restriction. We barely talked to each other for most of the day. We were able to sleep in, and had a continental breakfast available for us in the “The Atrium” to grab as needed during the morning hours.
In the early afternoon, we had a spur of the moment rehearsal to prepare for our performance at the Parade of Nations. Youth captains took the initiative to divide us into small groups and help choir members tighten up dance moves and notes. Throughout the rehearsal, our official trip nurse, Mrs. Angie Yoder (mother of VOU member, Alivia Croxton, 13) was checking throats and giving instructions to individual choir members on how to protect their voices.
After the rehearsal, we had 15 minutes to head to our rooms to change into our white “One in Song” t-shirts, khaki shorts and white tennis shoes. Once we made it back to the hotel lobby, we lined up by vocal section and filed out of the hotel, across the street to Fountain Square. We took our places and did a quick sound check. After sound check, we went backstage to wait until it was time to perform; but as fate would have it, we ended up doing an impromptu performance for the crowd that was able to see us from across the street.
Soon after, the parade began! It was led by the World Choir Games' official mascots, Whirl and Twirl, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Rock of Roll Hall of Famer and Cincinnati native Bootsy Collins! They were followed by all the choirs from around the world who had come to compete in the second week of the games. Choirs from Brazil, the Bahamas, Nigeria, Germany, China, Venezuela and many other countries brightened the streets of downtown Cincinnati with the colors of their native flags. Music was blaring and everyone was dancing as they filed into Fountain Square. Once all of the choirs were in place, VOU spontaneously started our “VOU Step” and the world, literally, joined in on the fun! We definitely started the party off right! Many American favorites played, and it was amazing to see how many of the international choirs were singing along. It was live proof that "singing together brings nations together!"
After the dancing, all of the choirs were greeted and welcomed by city officials. The One in Song Choir, consisting of Voices of Unity and New York's Peace and Serenity Choir taught everyone the official World Choir Games 2012 song, “I Can!” The energy was electric! One could not help but to sing and dance along with us. Just when we thought the energy could not get any more intense after our performance, we spent nearly another hour dancing! We were led by one of the Peace and Serenity Choir members. He had all of us moving as if we were in one huge hip hop aerobics class! It was so much fun!
The dancing came to an end, and it was time for us to head back to the hotel for dinner and rehearsal for tomorrow’s Gospel Music competition. We joined the VOU band in one of the conference halls in the hotel, which we use as our own rehearsal space. We were instructed to sing softly, but effectively, in order to save our voices. We went through each of the four songs we will be singing in competition. By the last “Amen” in our final song, a great feeling came over many of us in the room. Tears of joy filled our eyes as we reflected and gave thanks for all that had taken place so far, and all that is to come. It was truly a divine moment. Something similar to what we had experienced before leaving Fort Wayne to go to China in 2010. It seemed to confirm that all of our hard work was not in vain. It was beautiful.
After we dried our eyes and hugged each other, Mr. White instructed us to go back to our rooms to rest. Mrs. Yoder passed out Throat Coat Herbal Tea and Ricola lozenges to help take care of our voices. We left the rehearsal room and packed the elevators to go to our rooms.
Tomorrow, we take the stage for the very competition category for which we won Grand Champion status in China. We want to do it again! Tomorrow is the day for which all of our hard work will be paid off. We will get another chance to show the world what we are made of! Stay tuned!