Stranded choir finally gets their chance to perform

Choir misses WCG, performs locally anyway

CINCINNATI - The Gema Chandra Cendrawasih University Choir from Papua, Indonesia arrived in Cincinnati Saturday with instruments and costumes in tow.

Unfortunately, the choir did not perform in the 2012 World Choir Games. After being stranded for nearly a week prior to their U.S. arrival, the choir missed their scheduled performances.

The choir was scheduled to compete in Folklore and Popular Choral Music categories July 6 and July 7, but were stuck in Jakarta, Indonesia for seven days, their interpreter said.

Filled with the urge to sing, the choir filled the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport with their voices Saturday as they performed an impromptu concert for travelers.

Sunday morning, the group shared their gift of song once more for church members at Greater Liberty Church in Madisonville.

The Gema Chandra Cendrawasih University Choir performed again at the Duke Energy Convention Center at 2 p.m. and the choir started receiving donations to the tune of $3,000.

"They were in tears when I told them how much we got and how much people give attention to all of them," said Anastasia Ross, a translator.

The generosity also included free tickets to Sunday night's Reds game where the choir watched the Reds sweep the St. Louis Cardinals.

"It's the best experience ever in my life and in my team's life," said Ningrum Sayida of Papua, Indonesia. "It's the best experience."

The choir is scheduled to perform on Fountain Square at 3:15 p.m. on Monday. They were also invited to attend the Franklin County fair in Indiana on Wednesday.

Organizers are also working to help with travel arrangements. The choir has tickets from San Francisco to Indonesia but they are still trying to get tickets to California. Organizers with the World Choir Games are now working up on setting a fund at a bank for people who want to make donations.

"It's been overwhelming," said Ross. "There is nothing more generous than the Cincinnati people."

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