By Sharon Gordon
Andrew Clarke and the New York based Braata Folks Singers secured two silver and one bronze medal in the recently concluded 2012 World Choir Games held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The 11 member ensemble was the only Jamaican representation at the games which is inspired by the Olympic ideal. The World Choir Games is one of the largest choral music competitions in the world and is held every two years.
Choral groups from around the world participate in the Champions Competition, the Open Competition or as a festival participant in an event which seeks to unite people from all nations through singing in peaceful competition.
“This is a small contingent when compared to some choirs here with 60 members,” remarks founder and musical director, Andrew Clarke.
More than 70 countries are represented at the games and amateur choirs of all levels are encouraged to participate. The Jamaica Youth Chorale and Nexus Performing Arts Company were both slated to attend but word has it that due to “funding challenges” neither one made it.
Leaving Braata Folks Singers, “who barely made it themselves,” to represent the island nation and represent they did in the Music of the Religions category where they performed Jamaican revival songs.
They also competed in two other categories, Scenic Folklore where they performed Jamaican folk songs and in the Mixed Chamber category, they performed, Bob Marley’s Jammin’ as well as Noel Dexter’s Our Freedom Song and two others selections.
Braata Folks Singers also performed a friendship concert in Erlanger, Kentucky just across state lines. At the champion closing ceremonies on Saturday, July 14th, the group walked away with Silver in Scenic Folklore and Music of the Religions and Bronze in Mixed Chamber Choirs.
The World Choir Games is produced by INTERKULTUR an international non profit organisation located in Pohlheim, Germany. The company is dedicated to bringing together people of all nations, cultures and world views through musical competitions.