Salisbury, MD—Salisbury University voice professor John Wesley Wright is in China this week to compete in the World Choir Games, the largest international choir festival of its kind.
Wright is part of the 27-member SingCinnati choir from Cincinnati, OH, where he lived for several years and attended the conservatory. The ensemble will be in the spotlight because, in 2012, the biennial festival moves to the United States for the first time and Cincinnati is the host city.
“The roots of who I am as a musician are because of Cincinnati and several key people there, including the director of SingCinnati, Dr. Catherine Roma,” said Wright. “She gave me so many opportunities to perform as a young musician. I am happy to give back and be a part of this auspicious event."
Like the Olympics held in China in 2008, there will be a closing ceremony in which the Cincinnati delegation will play a prominent role representing the next host city, he added.
Applying the Olympic ideal to the arts, the World Choir Games peacefully brings people and nations together through song in fair competition. Over the course of eleven days, more than 20,000 singers in 450 choirs from over 80 nations compete. The first International Choir Competition was in 1988 in Budapest.
Wright noted the diversity in SingCinnati which includes men and women, high school and college students, retirees, African-, Asian- and European-Americans, teachers, businesspeople, rven a firefighter—a crosssection of America.
SingCinnati will participate in the selective Champions Competition in the Gospel/Spiritual and Popular Music categories.
The Games are being held in Shaoxing, a city of some 4.3 million people 144 miles southwest of Shanghai. Founded 2,500 years ago, its 10,000 bridges and rivers have earned it the title “The Venice of the East.”
The total singing time of all choirs in all categories at the Games is 8,170 minutes, or 5 days 16 hours 10 minutes of uninterrupted choral competition singing.
Wright, who joined the SU music faculty in 2006, teaches voice and directs the Opera Workshop. Known for his artistic and soulful interpretations of music from Baroque to Broadway, he is a member of the internationally acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble which he has helped bring to Salisbury.
Wright has been successful in competition. He is a gold medalist of the Savannah Music Festival’s American Traditions Vocal Competition and has claimed top prizes from the National Federation of Music Clubs, Metropolitan Opera National Council, Bel Canto Regional Artists, Ohio’s Vocal Resource Network Art Song Competition, and the International Schubert Competition in Vienna, Austria.