Songbird Sara Lahew, the financial administrator at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, experienced the World Choir Games as a competitor … and came away spirits flying high.
How did you get involved with the World Choir Games?
"I am a member of the Norwood Community Chorus, a just-for-fun group of 65 singers, ranging in age from 17 to 75, who love to perform and have ties to the Norwood community (i.e., went to school there, live in or lived in or go to church in Norwood). We usually perform a couple times per year for the community, and last year when we found out the World Choir Games were coming to Cincinnati, we decided as a group that we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of something so fantastic! The best thing about the format of the games is that any choir, from a seven-person church choir to a university chamber choir, can compete. So our choir director, retired music teacher for the Norwood City Schools Judith White, submitted an application and the rest is history!"
In what area did you participate in, meaning what did you sing?
"We competed in the Open Competition, which is the part of the competition for amateur choirs who just want the experience. Our category was the Musica Contemporanea category, a category in which the pieces performed by the choir must all be by a composer born after 1925. Specifically, we performed "Jubilate Deo” by Jay Althouse, "For the Beauty of the Earth” by John Rutter, "I Never Saw a Moor” by Eugene Butler and "Now Welcome Summer” by Robert Washburn. In the Open Competition, groups receive diplomas rather than medals, and we were awarded a silver diploma, which we were absolutely thrilled about."
Do you have formal music training?
"I was involved in the prep department programs at College-Conservatory of Music at UC from the time I was 5 until I was 18. I was a 'Mini Mummer' in the drama department from age 5 to 13 and also took formal voice lessons through CCM prep until I was 18. I took voice lessons privately after I graduated high school."
Do you attend other music competitions, and if so, what awards have you won?
"I haven’t done any other competitions. I was involved in community theater a lot, mainly on the Showboat Majestic, when I was in college, but after I got married and had my son, I haven’t had much time to devote to theater. The Norwood Community Chorus was the perfect way to get back into music and performing; we only rehearse on the first and third Tuesdays of every month and we have a blast. And we always welcome new members! The more the merrier is definitely our mantra."