Just prior to their performance at a Friendship Concert on July 7 during the 2012 World Choir Games, students making up the Lakota West Chamber Choir found out that the audience was over capacity and that they wouldn’t have a seat to watch the other choirs perform.
Instead of sulking, the choir from Lakota West, two others from Cincinnati, two more from Canada and another from the Czech Republic performed for each other while backstage in the gymnasium of St. Anthony Church.
“It was probably the highlight of the Games for me because we were purely singing for fun,” said Daniel Townsley, who graduated from Lakota West earlier this year. “The directors really had nothing to do with it and we were just singing for each other. It was just different.”
The performance in front of the audience that night also proved to be different.
“It was like we were being received as the away team at the Super Bowl,” Lakota West choir director Anthony Nims said. “When we walked down the aisle of that church, they were screaming, hollering and cheering.
“To get that type of reaction I think may even be life changing to some of them … It was just a great thing, like an entire city sort of woke up and saw how awesome – what they do is.”
The audience that night was not the only group of people who enjoyed the local choir’s performance.
Earlier that day, the Lakota West choir performed in front of international judges and were awarded a Gold Diploma, which was given to choirs who finished with some the highest overall scores during the Games. The honor also gives the program the right to perform in the next two World Choir Games.
That being said, it could be difficult for the local choir to get to the next World Choir Games, which will take place in Riga, Latvia in 2014.
However, the Lakota West students were able to learn about many different cultures at this year’s Games.
For example, some West choir members were able to do the electric slide with Puerto Rico choir members, who do it differently than the traditional way in the United States.
In addition, other West students formed friendships with students from Austria, Australia, England, Indonesia and Nigeria to name a few.
“From day one, it was just spectacular. I was so pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had and how thrilling it was just to be in the same atmosphere of so many people who all spoke so many different languages,” Townsley said. “It was just so fabulously chaotic.”
Making up the group that excelled at the Games included Ethan Bennet, Alexis Blevins, Addie Bryant, Kayla Burley, Katie Davis, Ben Dunlea, John Harper, Mandee Jordan, Elizabeth Landis, Nick McGill, Chrissy McKinney, Giovanii Moreno, Ryan Sandy, Greg Schuster, Julie Street, Jennifer Swadner, Alex Thesken, Jason Threm, Daniel Townsley, Ariel Winston and Tommy Wessendarp.