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Today is a YELLOW Day.

Nothing with lunch please. This afternoon is our ONLY substantive rehearsal for the next two weeks!

I’ve adjusted the schedule today with the intent of accomplishing two specific goals.

Kia ora! Welcome to New Zealand! Hopefully everyone had a lovely first day on the other side of the world- here’s what you need to know for Wednesday!

Today, (Wednesday) everything is casual, non-concert attire. For the opening ceremonies, it would be great to wear our UD attire! Please note that the competition organizers mentioned that photos might be taken, so keep that in mind when getting ready for the opening ceremonies tomorrow evening.

General Info and Reminders: PLEASE READ ALL OF THESE!

  1. You will receive a lanyard that gets you into all of the World Choir Games Events. DO NOT LOSE THIS LANYARD! Replacing the lanyard and ID card costs $100 (this is not a joke). You can write your name on the back of the ID card; it’s a general pass so if you accidentally swap with your roommate, it’s fine, but DO NOT LOSE YOUR LANYARD!!!!
  2. Breakfast is included and will be served every day from 7:45-8:45 am in the lobby/cafe area of our hotel. The manager is very concerned about the kitchen being overwhelmed by the three large choir groups that are staying at the Airedale, so it’s important that we are respectful of this timeframe. If this breakfast hour does not work for your personal schedule, you’re welcome to find one of the lovely coffee shops in the area!
  3. Because we are a group reservation, you cannot charge any incidentals to your room. If you get a drink or meal in the attached restaurant (aside from the included breakfast items) you need to pay for it separately. Please do not use anything from the minibar!!! Sorry!!!
  4. We get a 10-minute sound check for each of our four competition sets, which includes the time to walk on and off stage. Obviously these will need to be EXTREMELY efficient and is not a time to ask questions unless you are literally on fire. Listening ears! Quiet coyote!
  5. In case you missed the link yesterday, you can find the entire festival program here. There are 25 different categories, each of which are a competition unto themselves. You are strongly encouraged to attend other sessions, and once we perform, you’ll be able to cycle back into the hall to hear others in OUR category. We’re the first choir in Category C8: Mixed Choirs – Championship Level, so you’ll get to see most of the other choirs in that session.

Wednesday, July 10 Schedule

7:45-8:45 am Breakfast buffet downstairs in the lobby/cafe area at Airedale Boutique Suites

9:20 am Gather in hotel lobby

9:30 am Warm-up and stage configuration details

10:45 am Break for lunch!

1:30 pm Gather at Airedale lobby to walk to Pitt Street Methodist Church

2:00 pm Rehearsal at Pitt Street Methodist until 4:00 pm. Break for dinner.

6:00 pm Gather at Airedale lobby for a bus transfer to Spark Arena for the Opening Ceremonies (bring your music for the Official World Choir Games song!)

9:10 pm Return bus transfer to Airedale from Spark Arena


We’re here!

This festival is markedly different than any other I’ve ever participated in! Still not sure how I feel about that, but we have a lot of chances to go home feeling like we’ve done something special.

There are really three levels of accomplishment in the way this thing is set up. As follows:

  • GOLD, SILVER, & BRONZE MEDALS: For you school teachers out there, this is frighteningly like the Music in the Parks model in that anyone who scores above a certain point threshold will receive a Gold Medal. I would be surprised if ANY of our sets don’t ring that bell, which means we’ll likely go home and say “We won four GOLD MEDALS!” Not quite the same connotation as the Olympics, but the folks back home don’t know that. 🤪 I’m always happy to play the PR game with administration when it’s handed to me on a platter.
  • RANKINGS: We are in four categories, all at the Championship Level. That meant we had to qualify (Thank you awesome people who won the prize in Wales last year) in a competition within the last five years. For example, there are a LOT of mixed choirs here competing in the Open Category, but they don’t get to go up against the “big dogs” in the Championship category if they didn’t qualify, and thus, we’re not competing with them.
  • We are competing at the Championship level in four categories:
    • C8: Mixed Choirs – 6 choirs competing
    • C15: Musica Sacra – 9 choirs competing
    • C22: Spirituals – 4 choirs competing (but two of the others are VERY fine choirs from the US)
    • C19: Contemporary – 7 choirs competing
  • It would be reasonable to expect that everyone in the Championship categories would score Gold Medals, since they’ve already essentially done that someplace else, but the numbers matter! At the awards ceremony, they’ll announce choirs from the lowest score, and work their way to the top. (Bring ear plugs! Really!) The choir with the highest score wins the category! That’s a nice prize. BUT WAIT… THAT’S NOT ALL…
  • WORLD CHOIR RANKINGS: If you click the link, you can find the World Choir Rankings to find out (who Interkultur says) are the best choirs in the world. (The list is heavily dominated at the moment by Stellenbosch, though if you go back through the list, you’ll find they’ve done a LOT of these projects with Interkultur. As far as I’m concerned, this is sort of a fancy scheme BY Interkultur to get people to come back to their events to work their way up the list, but honestly? I’m OK with that. If we end up getting more publicity in Google rankings out of the deal, I’m all in! Shaun has been working on the math to figure out what it would take for us to get in the top ten of the current list. He seems to think it’s possible. That would be fun.

Personally, I favor the festivals in Europe where the competition is tiered and you end up placing the top choirs from each category on stage one-to-one, as that’s just one more chance to up our game. That said, I think we have our work cut out for us. There are some VERY fine choirs on our sessions. I’d pay particular attention to the ones from Asia and they mean business! Will be an entirely different affect. At the end of the day, I wonder what the judges like? 🤷‍♂️

Today is critical. Please be timely, awake, and prepared. As Rachel mentioned above, we have VERY specific things to accomplish in our “generous” 10 minute time check. We saw the hall yesterday, and it has some very serious challenges. I would simply amend Rachel’s comment from above about when you can ask questions and remind you that someone must have taught you how to “stop, drop, and roll” should you burst into flames. Every second will count while we’re in that space.

Similarly, Arreon and I are crafting a very specific rehearsal plan for our two hour block this afternoon. Remember the “your section leader is my guide to truth and knowledge” and save your questions for after the rehearsal. And no idle banter during rehearsal, please.

I will reiterate once more, especially with these wonky rubrics and the subjectivity of judges, the real prize here is for our collective commitment to musical expression at the highest technical level. That’s the stuff memories are made of. I’m simply looking forward to relishing those moments when we’re on stage and putting it all out there. Those moments in life are rare – for some they never come. But for us, we are living the dream for the next ten days.

You have one job. LOVE. EVERY. MINUTE. OF. IT!


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